Peggy’s father is a retreater and has meetings with his friend about what will happen to civilisation if the world ends. They discuss how best to keep their families safe in shelters and argue over the best ways. Peggy’s father takes it a step further and takes his 8 year old daughter away with him to die Hutte where she will not see another human being for 9 years.
He has made her trek across Europe to get here, some part of the way with only one shoe. He tells her that her mother has died and that the whole world has gone and they are the only ones left. He lied. She spends all those years believing him and doing anything to please him as his moods shift wildly.
This father puts his daughter in huge risk and for apparently no reason. The motivation for James’s need to prove himself as a retreater is not clear or why he takes his daughter with him.
Fuller slowly gives more information away through the story as the novel is set in two time periods. The reader sees Peggy grow up in the forest but also sees snippets of her 9 years later when she is returned to her mother. The sections of Peggy trying to understand what her father has done and why he took her away are excellently written. There is no malice or hate, only love but this love clashes with the anger of everyone else around her who assume that her father is a monster for putting this child in such danger.
The ending of the novel is a little black and reveals to the reader what they were expecting and a little more.
A well thought out and unusual novel.