Timothy Schaffert has created his most memorable character yet in Essie, an octogenarian obituary writer for her family's small town newspaper. When a young country girl is reported to be missing, perhaps whisked away by an itinerant aerial photographer, Essie stumbles onto the story of her life.
Kisses, even the ones that don't happen, can be the trace of what's constant when life changes. In childhood, when what seems to define everything is competition--for style, for knowing, for experience--a kiss is the first first. When a girl's father moves out and chooses a new family, a kiss on the head from him may be the trace of constancy that she wants most.