A young woman, Violet, lies in a hospital bed in the closing days of the war. Her pregnancy is over and she is no longer able to conceive. With her husband deployed to the Pacific Front and her friends caught up in transitory love affairs, she must find a way to put herself back together.
In a small, watchful town in the Welsh valleys, another Violet contemplates the fate she shares with her unborn child. Unwed and unwanted, an overseas posting offers a temporary way out. Plunged into the heat and disorder of Naples, her body begins to reveal the responsibility it carries even as she is drawn into the burnished circle of a charismatic new friend, Maggie.
Between these two Violets, sung into being like a babe in a nursery rhyme: a son. As their lives begin to intertwine, a spellbinding story of women’s courage emerges, suffused with power, lyricism and beauty, from an exhilarating new voice in British fiction.