Valerie Compton is a lovely and precise writer who pays attention to every sentence, every image. Set in the 1960s in rural Prince Edward Island, the narrative centers around Sonia and the disappearance of her adult daughter, Stella, whose body is never found. Sonia tries to persuade herself her daughter has run off, perhaps driven to do so by her violent husband. Did she fall through soft ice on the river, was she pushed, or did she kill herself? The mystery of Stella sets Sonia off on the trail of memory, and a time in the 1940s when she tended a lighthouse and met a man, Pete, who was not her husband (Max) but with whom she began something that has haunted her. Pete leaves her when he finds her pregnant with Max's child. Life and choice, it seems, swallows up everyone.As Sonia faces some truths about herself, she must also face the truth about Stella. The story is an elegiac study of loss, memory and choice, and if it contains perhaps just a few too many characters, that's a flaw easily overlooked in the beauty of the prose.