Eva McEwen is born in Scotland in 1920. Her mother dies shortly after giving birth to her. At the age of six, Eva is "visited" by two strangers (an older woman and a teenage girl) that only she can see and hear. These mysterious companions steer the course of her life. During World War II, Eva serves as a nurse in a burn unit.

She falls in love with a plastic surgeon but her supernatural attendants have other plans for Eva. She secures a job as a school nurse, marries a teacher, and has a daughter. Sadly, Eva dies at a young age from cancer of the liver and pancreas. Thus the novel ends much like it began, with the tragic death of a young mother who leaves behind a devoted husband and daughter while ghostly visitors are poised to both share and meddle in the youngster's life.


The author of this novel suggests that despite the random occurrences of ordinary life, there is nonetheless an underlying pattern that gives it direction. For better or worse, that pattern is beyond our control. Life just might be haunted and we are all tormented by its secrets. The dead continue to exert a strong influence on the living. Their presence is felt in many different ways.

The book raises familiar questions. Why do good people die young? What is the nature of suffering? What are the limits of responsibility? Loneliness emerges as one of the greatest causes of human suffering. The bond between mother and daughter is depicted as one of our greatest strengths. Growing up, loving, and simply surviving are endeavors that may require spiritual assistance. This novel asks readers to ponder the notion of boundaries--between life and death, health and illness, dreams and reality, sorrow and joy, and ultimately what we desire and what we cannot have.


Henry Holt

Place Published

New York



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