Somewhere, in a box in Margot Yates’ attic there’s a video of Gethin by the lake at Ty Gwydr. He’s young – nineteen, maybe twenty. It’s late spring and dusk, and a low sun leaks white light into the horizon behind the dark fringe of trees. Olwen is filming. Gethin narrows his eyes at the camera. Her bodiless voice says to him, I love it here. He says, good. This place is ours.
Gethin Thomas is struggling to make ends meet in his rural hometown in north Wales. Bright and handsome but unambitious, he works as a forester, but the thing that keeps him going is Ty Gwydr, a beautiful lakeside house he keeps an eye on for its absent English owners. The house has been empty for so long he’s come to think of it as his.
That is until the owners decide to sell, sending Geth into freefall. And when he discovers that Olwen, his teenage love who left him and their small town in north Wales for a new life in London, has returned with her husband, Geth and Olwen will find themselves pulled back into the past and what could have been – or still could be.
But soon mysterious messages start arriving at the house, and Geth and Olwen must question whether this is the love story they thought it was, or whether there might be something altogether more sinister lurking beneath the surface.
Francesca Reece is a writer, translator and bookseller from north Wales. She was the 2019 winner of the Desperate Literature Prize, judged by Eley Williams, Claire-Louise Bennett and Sam Riviere, for her short story ‘So Long Sarajevo/They Miss You So Badly’, and has had work featured in The London Magazine, Banshee, and Elle UK. After several years spent living in Paris, she is now based in London where she works at independent bookshop BookBar. She was selected for the Hay Festival 2023 Writers at Work residency, a creative development programme for emerging Welsh talent. Francesca’s debut, VOYEUR, is currently in development with Urban Myth. Francesca is represented by Charlotte Seymour at Johnson and Alcock.