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From the prize-winning author of In the Place of Fallen Leaves comes a beautiful, hypnotic pastoral novel reminiscent of Thomas Hardy, about an unexpected friendship between two children, set in Devon in 1911 1911. In a forgotten valley, on the Devon-Somerset border, the seasons unfold. Twelve-year-old Leopold Sercombe skips school to help his father, a carter. Skinny and pale, with eyes as dark as sloes, Leo dreams of a job on the Master's stud farm. As ploughs furrow the January fields, the Master's daughter, young Miss Charlotte, shocks the estate's tenants by wielding a gun at the annual shoot. Spring comes and Leo is breaking a colt when a boy dressed in a Homburg, breeches and riding boots appears. Peering under the stranger's hat, he discovers Charlotte.And so a friendship begins, bound by a deep love of horses, but divided by rigid social boundaries - boundaries that become increasingly difficult to navigate as they approach adolescence...Suffused with the magic of nature, this hallucinatory, beautiful tale of a loss of innocence builds with a hypnotic power. Evoking the realities of agricultural life with precise, poetic brushstrokes, Tim Pears has created a masterful pastoral novel, the first in a dazzling new trilogy.