'Lex Henderson washes up in a small coastal village after a tragedy shatters his life in Sydney. He is broken in every way, and wants only to escape from the world. The best place to hide is one where you'll be left alone, or so Lex thinks until the small community of Merrigan starts taking an interest in him. By then, despite himself, he's a little fascinated in return, and is soon drawn into the community in ways he could never have anticipated, discovering that Merrigan has social rules of its own that he must learn to navigate. It is through new and unexpected friendships that he gradually embarks on the path to recovery, finding support and common ground with his reclusive neighbour, the owner of the town cafe and his employer at a local dairy farm. He also meets Callista Bennett, an artist with a hidden history, and enters into a friendship with her that is both volatile and difficult. Slowly, painstakingly, they turn to each other, but each attempt to get closer ends up in retreat, as both of them are paralysed by their pasts and by the idea of trusting anyone ever again.
'What Lex does learn to trust is the beauty of the natural world, the strange comfort of the wild seascapes he sees from his windows, and the transfixing majesty of the whales that swim close to his house on the point. Giving himself up to nature is one thing he can do, and he embraces it wholeheartedly, swimming out among the whales, spending hours a day studying the ever-changing patterns of the sea and the play of light and shadow, storm and sunshine. This is one way he can connect with Callista, who has spent her whole life engaged with the natural world and whose paintings capture it so vividly.
'Then a whale is stranded on a remote beach near Merrigan, and Lex, Callista and the townsfolk become involved in a tense and uncertain rescue that challenges their attitudes and beliefs, creating rifts and liaisons. It is through the trials and emotions of this event that Lex and Callista see a way through their grief. But will their pasts ever let them go?' (Publisher's blurb)