Drove House has always loomed large over village life. Boarded-up for years, it is reputed to be brimming with ghosts, and is shunned by the locals - all except Billy, for whom it has been the site of childhood dens and secret adolescent adventures. When the captivating Muriel moves in with her bohemian mother, they sweep out the ghosts and breathe new life into both the house and Billy's quiet rural existence. After an idyllic summer, though, Muriel returns to her life in London, and the newly empty Drove House becomes the backdrop for Billy's struggle to reconcile the vanishing agricultural lifestyle he has inherited with the glimpses of a baffling new way of life Muriel seemed to offer. Charting the conflict between these two competing worlds, Peter Benson's award-winning first novel is at once a lyrical portrait of the landscape of the Somerset Levels and a touching evocation of first love.
'A very apt and unillusioned sort of modern pastoral, blessed with the kind of narrative gift that's like perfect pitch' The Guardian 'Funny and painful and beautifully done so that we recognise life with a gasp' The Times
Born in 1956, Peter Benson was educated in Ramsgate, Canterbury and Exeter. His first novel, The Levels, won the Guardian Fiction Prize. This was followed by A Lesser Dependency, winner of the Encore award, The Other Occupant, which was awarded the Somerset Maugham Award, and three more novels: Odo's Hanging, Riptide and A Private Moon. He has also published short stories, screenplays and poetry, and his work has been adapted for TV and radio and translated into many languages. He lives in Exeter with his wife.