A cleverly written novel which spans the years from the 1920s to the present day. Exploring poignantly the relationship between its three main female characters, it combines the impact on Amelia Earhart's aviation success with new love, lost loves and the consequences of growing apart. It's a story about growing up in a small town in Wales in the early 20th century where prejudice and small-mindedness are always present.
Every birthday was the same, as though it didn't mark Ida being a year older, but was a reminder Maud was another year gone. It was this time of year she had died.
'And I don't want to hear another word about that Channel,' he called, as Ida went up the stairs. 'It's time you grew up and got yourself a living, my girl, or you'll end up like that crone with her feet in the water.'
Ida knew who he meant. There was an old woman who washed in the canal and was known as She-Him because she'd never married, wore men's old suit trousers and had hairs all over her chin.
On the landing, Ida glanced across at her parents' room where on top of the wardrobe squatted the black hat with a trail of black ribbons that her mother had worn the day her sister was buried. Just because poor Maud died doesn't mean you shouldn't have a life.