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Maddie Renshaw is 20 and lives a lonely life working with James her harshly domineering father on their crumbling, isolated sheep farm Scapegoat, high on the Yorkshire moors. Maddie’s only joy is Duster her mare and the long, exhilarating rides they both enjoy across the wild and treacherous moors.

In 1939, Max Bower, an Austrian refugee and a Jew, arrives having been sent by the Ministry of Agriculture to labour on the farm. Tall, attractively dark and enigmatic, Max eases the workload for Maddie, while suffering in silence the blind prejudice of James Renshaw and other villagers.

As the Second World War gathers momentum evacuees arrive from the bomb torn city. The Renshaws take in Eva, a sharp tongued but irresistible nine year old who is immune to James Renshaw’s rigorous discipline. And then Ronnie an army deserter brings menace and fear to all the inhabitants of Scapegoat…

Beginning in a world which seems unchanging and unchangeable, Aileen Armitage’s stirring novel moves into a time of war and tension when Maddie becomes a woman and matures through her chapter of innocence.

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