For readers of Maggie O'Farrell's I Am, I Am, I Am, Clover Stroud's The Wild Other, Deborah Orr's Motherwell and Amy Liptrot's The Outrun - this is a memoir with the quality of fable: inviting us, however late in life, to wake up and step out of the confines we have made for ourselves.
Just days into motherhood, a woman begins dying. Fast and without warning.
On return from near-death, Tanya Shadrick vows to stop sleepwalking through life. To take more risks, like the characters in the fairy tales she loved as a small girl, before loss and fear had her retreat into routine and daydreams.
Around the care of young children, she starts to play with the shape and scale of her days: to stray from the path, get lost in the woods, make bargains with strangers.
As she moves beyond her respectable roles as worker, wife and mother in a small town, Tanya learns what it takes - and costs - to break the spell of longing for love, approval, safety, rescue.
Tanya Shadrick is a former hospice scribe and writer who works in public spaces to encourage others to share stories and take creative risks. She has been a visiting writer in many extraordinary places, including England's oldest outdoor pool, Virginia Woolf's garden at Monk's House and the Jan Michalski Foundation for Writing and Literature in Switzerland. She is editor and publisher of the Wainwright Prize longlisted Wild Woman Swimming (The Selkie Press) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. This is her first book.