Mary O'Donnell received widespread acclaim and sales with her best-selling first novel The Light-Makers in 1992. It is a warm afternoon in Dublin and Hanna Troy is wandering about the city with time to kill before her appointment at the Women's Centre. Her marriage is in ruins. Her husband is having an affair and refusing to find out if he is the cause of their childlessness, so she is hurt and angry.
During the couple of hours of her wait she reviews her life; childhood in a border county, her career as a professional photographer, her husband's success as an architect and her relationship with the members of her extended family, especially her half-sister Rose. What emerges is a portrait of a complex woman, with grievous faults and quite angelic virtues. Hanna's self-told story is often shocking, sometimes maddening but always engrossing, and told with rare frankness and great beauty.