Annie Capaldi can’t forget Arthur, the ex she still loves. Their daughter Leigh has style, a boss who wants sex, and no thought of any relationship with her cleaner Crystel – who meets Ethan, an eco-dreamer obsessed with the past, on the tube. In this novel about time, all five are linked by love, circumstances or a lopsided rainbow clock with no home.
Twenty-five years ago Annie started work after Arthur left. Two wives and an enduring friendship later, he interrupts her memories with the news that he’s single again and wants her back. On the same day Ethan, an idealistic PhD student, shares a carriage with Crystel and her little girl Coralie and decides they are the poem he can’t write. Crystel works for brittle and ambitious Leigh Capaldi, who sacks her for taking time off on Coralie’s fifth birthday. But Crystel’s surprising response prompts Leigh to give the rainbow clock she never wanted as a present for a child she’s never met. Ethan abandons London for a green community called Ferningstone, while beginning at the same time an unpromising online relationship with Crystel. But first he needs to understand the mother who died when he was ten, journeying through his own childhood in order to find her. Arthur arrives to stay with Leigh – and woo Annie again. But he’s not the lover she remembers, and the changes time can work have only just begun.
For Annie, for Leigh, and for two very different young people drawn into a love that really could be hopeless, there are decisions to make – if only the present will stop threatening the future and rewriting the past.