Sewell, the Swedish-born wife of a physician, pens a dark and intriguing first novel about a young doctor whose tragic mistake during a child’s surgery leads him to run to a far corner of the world.
Dafydd Woodruff's marriage to Isabel has already hit rocky shores with the couple's passionless attempts to conceive a baby. In fact, Dafydd isn't really sure he wants to be a father in the first place, which is why a letter from Moose Creek, written in a childish hand, comes as such a surprise. The message, from 13-year-old Miranda, claims Dafydd, a Welsh doctor, is the father of Miranda and her twin brother Mark. Dafydd relocated to Moose Creek, a miserable hardscrabble town in the Canadian sub-Arctic, for work, after the botched surgery. Like all misfits who've come to Moose Creek to shed demons, he finds life in the place depressing and difficult. But it is Sheila Hailey, the hospital's head nurse, that turns the experience sinister. Hailey—a beautiful but cruel and manipulative woman—makes life difficult for the contrite Dafydd, but she also wants him sexually. No choir boy, Dafydd doesn’t usually avoid sex—Sewell's novel is laced with erotic scenes—it's just that he’s not interested in Sheila. When DNA tests come back positive, Dafydd, who is certain he never had sex with Sheila, leaves his crumbling marriage to return to Moose Creek and work through the puzzle. While there he encounters the nasty Sheila, an old friend fallen on very hard times, his newfound family and a few ghosts that won't go away.
Compelling fiction from a newcomer, but readers will find the settings—both in Wales and Canada—to be extremely bleak, and they’ll wonder how someone as nasty as Sewell’s overdrawn villain could manage to survive with so many enemies.