At the turn of the last century, the Salierno family make a tough living as farmers in the forbidding, mountainous terrain of Southern Italy. One stiflingly hot summer, an earthquake strikes, devastating their village, destroying homes and taking lives. Concetta, their fifteen-year old daughter, is seriously injured - and, on waking from a coma, can't remember anything in the weeks before the disaster. When Concetta discovers she is pregnant, her family marry her off hastily to neighbours who owe a debt of honour. For her family, this story is over: covered up; but for Concetta, it is only the beginning. With the help of grieving signora Clara, whose son Peppe lost his life in the earthquake, Concetta sets out to discover the identity of her child's father and solve the mystery of what happened in those forgotten weeks before the earthquake.
Maria Allen is half Italian, half English and has lived in different parts of Italy and the USA. She has worked as a journalist, in TV research, publishing and most recently in teaching. She lives in Loughborough.