It is the late 1940s in rural Ireland, and Kathleen Steele has been prematurely thrust into adulthood by the death of her twin sister, Nuala. Debilitated by grief, their mother has descended into a state of near-catatonia, and it is left to Kathleen to care for her younger siblings, and her taciturn father.
When a traumatised young man, Joseph Foley, mysteriously appears in the small farming community, a tentative love affair develops. But as Mrs Steele's illness deepens, Kathleen's relationship with her father grows ever more disturbing. When Kathleen agrees to marry Joseph, her mother begins to regain her health. But by then it has become clear that the events of the intervening years will cast a dark shadow over the new generation.
Tender and unblinking, The Road to the Sea is a novel about faith and fidelity, about the heart's ability to break, and to heal. A paean to the lost landscapes and communities of Ireland, and a meditation on the responsibilities of parents, this is an exquisite debut from a young novelist of great promise.