The Two Houses sit grey and brooding beneath a pale sky.
They cling to the hillside, cowering from the wind, because always, before everything up here, there is the wind. In the not-quite-light of a November afternoon, this whole strange world is beaten by it; the spindly trees, the long sedge grasses, even the houses themselves seem to bend under its assault.
The Two Houses were not always two. But if it is human to build - even up here, in this blasted northern hinterland - it is human to break, too.
After an acclaimed career in ceramics making things and breaking things, it is now Jay herself who has cracked. Recovering from a breakdown, she and her husband Simon move to the desolate edges of the north of England, where they find and fall in love with the Two Houses: a crumbling property whose central rooms were supposedly so haunted that a previous owner had them cut out from the building entirely.
But on uprooting their city life and moving to the sheltered grey village of Hestle, Jay and Simon discover it's not only the Two Houses that seems to be haunted by an obscure past. It becomes increasingly clear that the villagers don't want them there at all - and when building work to make the two houses whole again starts, a discovery is made that will unearth decades-old secrets . . .
'Fine writing . . . Cooper's expertly realised characters, both sympathetic and not, have stories interwoven with aplomb' Daily Mail
'Confident and brilliant' Lisa O'Donnell