Innocence Lost, Grief Found
1976. Richard (16) has finished his exams and a long, hot summer beckons, but his crush on the new girl in town is unrequited. He leaves the stifling suburb to spend time in The New Forest with Dudek, his Czech uncle. Dudek is being cared for by Anika, a vivacious young Czech woman. Anika introduces him to village life and when he meets Jennifer, a girl his age, he finds his attentions torn between them. Teenage emotions and needs are laid bare as relationships with the two girls develop.
The summer’s experiences intensify as forest fires threaten the village and Richard learns more of the events that led to his father’s death. As the summer break ends, Richard has been touched by love and death and understands more of his father’s history.
The story concludes the following New Year when Richard returns to The New Forest, needing to pick up where the summer ended.
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