Every summer Isak LÃ¶venstad gathers his three daughters by different wives to the windswept Baltic island of HammarsÃ¶. Here Erika, Laura, and Molly know, if only for the season, what it is to be a family, and here, in the society of children, each undergoes the rites of growing up. Though many alliances form and dissolve, none compares to Erika's bond with the rebellious misfit Ragnar, the intensity of which makes them inseparable. But when they reach the age of fourteen and their relationship threatens to relegate Erika to Ragnar's outcast state, she suddenly turns away - a common enough teenage betrayal that nonetheless precipitates an incident of such senseless cruelty as to forever alter Isak's family. Twenty-five years later, returning to HammarsÃ¶ to see their father - now eighty, a bereaved widower, and in year-round exile there - the three women confront, finally, the specter of that awful summer, the mark of which each has since carried.
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