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Eighteen years have passed since Jean Quick packed her bags and left her husband and two young children, never to be heard from again. In her absence, Leo, their father, has raised James and Silvia alone, but the consequences of their childhood abandonment are playing out. TV-star James's cocaine habit is spiralling out of control, and Silvia, the ever-dutiful daughter, cannot seem to break away from her dad and make a life of her own.

Then an unexpected phone call brings explosive news. Jean has died in South Africa, leaving behind a seventeen-year-old daughter, Star, previously unknown to Leo. She is coming to a home she never knew.

With Star's arrival, long-buried hurts resurface as each of the Quicks are forced to confront the uncomfortable legacy of Jean's desertion - as individuals and as a family. The Absent Wife is a story of the outcomes of secrets and hidden desires - a dark, knowing and riveting exploration of a modern family in crisis.

PRAISE FOR KAREN GILLECE:

    “An emerging force to be reckoned with”
The Irish Times

    “A page-turner” Sunday Independent

    “A fantastic read” RTE Guide

    “Unforgettable” Irish Examiner