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Margaret Bradley’s world is shattered when her son Andrew, a pilot, dies while flying a Canadian peacekeeping mission. In her thoughts, Margaret wanders “a dark maze with no way out.” Even as her marriage to her loving husband, Jack, begins to falter, Margaret finds a sense of strength and control “in the lifeboat of her profession”—she’s a lawyer in a prestigious Toronto law firm.

At work, Margaret maintains a modicum of normalcy, but in private she is gripped by paralyzing anxiety. Memories of her youthful mistakes and later failures as a parent haunt her. Grieving and wracked with guilt, she sees no way forward.

When her best friend, Aileen, contacts her because Aileen’s son Danny is being questioned by police about a horrific crime, Margaret flies to the North Atlantic coast town where the two women had shared many happy memories. Margaret does what she can as a lawyer and friend to help Aileen and Danny. She eventually experiences a subtle, almost imperceptible inner transformation, a change “like a door opening. A way forward.”

In this novel for adults, author Kurt Palka delicately traces Margaret’s journey from debilitating sorrow to fragile healing as she encounters other scenarios of death and mourning, trials and losses. With wisdom about human nature and a keen eye for the physical world, Palka adeptly weaves nature metaphors—weather, trees, flowers, animals—into his plot, reflecting both inner chaos and renewal. (McClelland & Stewart)

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