I really enjoyed this book and found Jewell's writing rich, descriptive, and complex. There was the right amount of suspense and an interesting setting—a secret picturesque communal garden that is pivotal to the story and becomes one of its characters.
After a family tragedy, Clare and her daughters, Grace and Pip, move to a London neighbourhood where all the flats are connected and share a garden. With this type of neighbourhood, relationships are fluid, boundaries are lacking, and children come and go with little to no supervision. The reader is also privy to Pip's letters to her father which offer a further glimpse into their new surroundings—although take this information with a grain of salt, Pip is an unreliable narrator seeing the world through twelve year-old eyes.
The book opens part way through the story, a midsummer's night party that goes horribly wrong. Thirteen year-old Grace is attacked the night of her birthday and is found beaten and unconscious by her twelve year-old sister, Pip. The attack mirrors another from the past that is tied to the characters, most of which are suspects in Grace's attack.
Disturbing at times, and often quirky, Jewell pulls it off with characters that are highly developed. These characters are rich in detail that outlines their motivations that propel the story.