A summer. A secret. A search.
Mags keeps everything safe in the box. Letters. Postcards. Photographs. Each memento plays a role in the secret story that's always in her thoughts. A story that can't remain hidden forever.
When Orla is handed an envelope by her father, she is perplexed by what she finds - a photograph of her parents, taken the summer she was born. Her heavily expectant mother, unusually, is smiling. Between her parents stands a teenage boy, her mother's arm lovingly around him.
Orla later asks her father about the boy's identity, but he refuses to be drawn. Her mother's mood is low again and he doesn't want her upset. So begins the daughter's investigation, back to the summer of 1983, and the story of a young English boy on holidays in rural Ireland. As the circle closes on a web of tragedy and deceit, the truth that emerges will impact on all their lives.
The Boy Between is an expertly crafted, suspenseful and ultimately hopeful story of family secrets, a fateful summer, and the long-buried events of a distant past.
A vivid and emotionally powerful story of the past's long hold on our lives. Susan Stairs writes with immense tact and skill, but also with a storyteller's flair - Joseph O'Connor
...its cast of believable characters will transport readers back to those precarious days of childhood, a time when playground antics are often a matter of life and death - The Irish Times on The Story of Before
The Story of Before is a bewitching read, a book that transports you back to the world of childhood, where everything outside of yourself is a mystery to be unravelled. Beautifully observed, the novel conjures up the landscape of 1970s Dublin as effectively as a time machine. I can't recommend it highly enough - Kathleen MacMahon, author of This is How it Ends, on The Story of Before
Stairs revels in sharp physical description, tinged with implication ... Familiar and unsettling ... An assured debut' - The Sunday Times on The Story of Before
With this moving and evocative novel, Stairs has won her spurs as an emerging new voice in Irish quality women's fiction - Irish Independent on The Story of Before
The Story of Before is a mesmerising psychological coming-of-age novel - Irish Examiner on The Story of Before