This book is a work of fiction set in the small, rural town of Waroona in the 1970’s. The story follows the experiences of the main character, Emilia (Milly) Garcia, and her best friend, Patricia (Patty) Brennan. Milly is trying to come to terms with her Italian heritage, the unfamiliar emotions of adolescence, and her attraction to Patty’s brother, Flynn. Should she let her feelings for Flynn be known and risk rejection? Or should she keep the attraction a secret and suffer in silence?
Meanwhile, Milly discovers some of the secrets hidden behind closed doors, and realises that not all families are happy ones.
With a succession of worrying events, she struggles to find answers. It doesn’t help when she receives messages from the ‘other-side’ but can’t stop the bad things happening.
Whilst coming to terms with loss and attempting to release the past, Milly finds she is bound by promises of the heart.
Milly chewed her nails as she looked over the Brennan’s large mish-mash of a house on the corner of McLarty Street. There were bits added on here and there from asbestos cut-outs to accommodate the ever-growing family. She had heard it said that the Brennans were a true, Irish-Catholic family, whatever that meant.
His hair was blonde, strawberry blonde, she had heard it called, and it was thick and wavy like his mother’s had been. There was a spattering of freckles across his nose and a show of fine hair on his upper lip, and Milly felt a strange sensation in her chest because she had never really looked at him before.
The children pushed themselves up from the floor and Flynn held his hand out to her. Milly could not even think of a word to describe the feeling in her chest. Slowly, she put out her hand and he pulled her to her feet. His smile dazzled its way to her soul. “I better go,” she said quietly.
Frowning, Flynn turned back. “Sorry,” he said, remorsefully. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. Let me see.” With her heart thumping against her chest, Milly tried to straighten her fingers as she moved her hand closer to Flynn’s. Gently, he took her hand in his, and stroked her little finger which was red and sore. “I don’t think it’s broken,” he said as he moved it slowly. “Does it hurt?”
Flynn walked across to the other side of the verandah. Milly reluctantly followed him, the chilly wind encircling her as she noticed how Flynn’s dark jumper emphasised his wide shoulders. Turning, Flynn looked at her intently. “Milly, can you come over? Patty’s acting crazy and she’s locked herself in her room and throwing everything around. I don’t know what’s wrong with her,” he blurted, the raw emotion making his voice shake.