It is during a funeral in the quiet little town of Rathmoye that Ellie first meets the stranger. A young man who has come there to take pictures of the burned out cinema.
Ellie is an orphan, married to Dillahan, a farmer who is still struggling with the death of his first wife, seven years earlier.
When Ellie meets the young man, Florian Kilderry, again they strike up a conversation and over subsequent meetings the two young people start spending more time together and getting closer. While the meetings are for Ellie a first encounter with love, Florian is too attached to the past to feel more than a mild interest for Ellie and he’s also about to emigrate.
A summer love affair starts, observed from a distance by Miss Connulty, for whom it brings back memories of a disaster in the past which makes her determined to put a stop to the madness, although she is powerless to interfere.
The summer will awaken feelings in Ellie she didn’t know existed and will force her to make a difficult decision.
I’m not quite sure what I think about this story. I liked the small town setting, the spinster observing all that is happening and the confused old man interfering in what he doesn’t quite understand.
I also liked the awakening of Ellie’s feelings and how she deals with them.
I wasn’t so fond of the very detached descriptions in the story though. The narrator is just observing what is going on, and describing it in the most neutral of terms, which means that although everybody feelings are described they don’t seem to be attached to emotions, and as such didn’t evoke any feelings in me.
Having said that, I was curious about what decision Ellie would come to and never felt like not finishing the book. Four minus therefore seems a reaasonable rating for this book.