In the little Irish town of Shancarrig, the young people carve their initials—and those of their loves—into the copper beech tree in front of the schoolhouse. But not even Father Gunn, the parish priest, who knows most of what goes on behind Shancarrig’s closed doors, or Dr. Jims, the village doctor, who knows all the rest, realize that not everything in the placid village is what it seems.
Unexpected passions and fears are bringing together many lives, such as the sensitive new priest and Miss Ross, the slight, beautiful schoolteacher . . . Leonora, the privileged daughter of the town’s richest family, and Foxy Dunne, whose father did time in jail . . . and Nessa Ryan, whose parents run Ryan’s Hotel, and two very different young men. For now the secrets in Shancarrig’s shadows are starting to be revealed, from innocent vanities and hidden loves to crimes of the heart . . . and even to murder.