Isobel longs so desperately for the mother who disappeared when she was small that she begins to travel, unpredictably, in time and space. But rest assured, this is not a serious, heavy read - there is a comically dysfunctional family, plenty of teenage angst, lyrically beautiful writing and glimpses into the fortunes of a family over many centuries against a haunting background of fairytale and Shakespeare's Forest of Arden.
'Marmalade,' Mrs Baxter says .... The marmalade's the colour of tawny amber and melted lions. 'The very last of the Sevilles,' she says sadly as if the Sevilles were some great aristocratic family whose fortunes had failed. 'Have a wee stir of the jeely-pan,' Mrs Baxter urges, handing me a long-handled wooden spoon, 'and make a wish. Go on wish, wish,' she says like a demented fairy godmother.
'For whatever I want?'
'Absolutely.' (I wish, naturally, for sex with Malcolm Lovat.)