When Bernadette Crichton finds her husband dead, under the beautiful grandiflora tree, she assumes a widowhood that is unconventional and strange. Exiled inside her large house, Bernadette refuses to 'see or be seen' by platitude-bearing visitors. Letters of condolence are divided into three piles: to be answered, not to be answered, not understood. But it is the discovery of Charlie's diary that forces her to address the unpleasant truth: Charlie and their marriage were not what they seemed.
Shonagh Koea has published numerous short-story collections and novels. She worked initially as a journalist, and then moved to fiction, going on to win many significant awards and prizes for her work. The Grandiflora Tree was her first novel. Sing to Me, Dreamer was a finalist in the New Zealand Book Awards (1995) and The Lonely Margins of the Sea was runner-up for the Deutz Medal for Fiction (1999). Her latest book is The Kindness of Strangers: Kitchen Memoirs, published in 2007, a collection of Koea's memories from her various roles as daughter, wife, mother, journalist and novelist.