Rule 1: When you’re dancing, shoulders back and point your toes.
Rule 2: Keep your thumbs clear when you’re chopping vegetables.
Rule 3: Don’t go wandering through the house without permission.
Ten-year-old Brede understands these household regulations well enough, but how to make sense of the endless talk of a Home Rule that has nothing to do with vegetables or dance?
Homeless and destitute, she and her Aunt Kate are employed as the only Catholics in the household of the beautiful spendthrift Adelina Thompson and her bullying husband, Alexander. But what is it that Brede sees that forces her to flee with her aunt in terror?
Taken into the household of William Henderson, a Protestant supporter of Irish Home Rule, Brede becomes the mute and uncomprehending witness to the unfolding political turmoil and to a love affair that will culminate in murder. Set in 19th century Ulster, Brede’s mesmerising voice breathes new life into this historic time.