One-sentence blurb In 1941, eighteen-year-old Lille Carrigan's ill-fated summer of romance, lust, and indiscretion sets her hurtling through the dark, towards events she never saw coming. Short blurb “Youth is a dream, a form of chemical madness.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald It’s 1941, the last summer of American innocence, and eighteen-year-old Lillie Carrigan is desperate to love and be loved, to lose her virginity, to experience her life’s great, epic romance. Preoccupied with whiskey and cigarettes, sex and Catholic guilt, Lillie unknowingly sets in motion events leading to death and estrangement from her two best friends. A decade on, Lillie is still haunted by the ghosts of that summer. Did she act solely out of youthful naivety and adolescent jealousy? Or perhaps there were darker forces at work: grief, guilt, sexual assault, and the double standards of her strict religious upbringing. Searching for patterns and meaning in the events of that year, and anxious to understand the person she has become, Lillie reflects on the darkness of her tarnished youth and confesses her sins. Long blurb The Essence of an Hour is the debut novel from Susan Furber. Set in the summer of 1941, the story follows eighteen-year-old Lillie Carrigan as she experiences first love with her lifelong friend, Teddy McCalman. Bound together by shared experiences of early loss and grief, Lillie and Teddy spend their time drinking and smoking, clinging to each other and their intense romance. Desperate to lose her virginity, but held back by Catholic guilt, past assault, and the judgement of her best friend, Lara, Lillie battles with her sexual awakening and the double standards which come with it. She is intoxicated by the summer’s heady mix of alcohol and pheromones, not realizing that the events she sets in motion will lead to anguish, trauma, and loss. Ten years on, Lillie recounts the story of that summer, confessing to the sins of her past. The ideas behind The Essence of an Hour came from the author’s own interest in the cyclical nature of trauma, and her effort to understand why ordinary people hurt each other, either intentionally or unintentionally. Susan’s experience of being raised Catholic, and receiving a Catholic education, sparked her desire to explore the struggles of young women caught between sexuality and religion, the double standards they experience, and the burden of carrying secrets of assault and abuse. Though The Essence of an Hour has all the ingredients of a classic young adult novel, it is certainly not a story you have heard before. You won’t find clichés, prom queens, or happy endings within its pages. The Essence of an Hour is an exquisite example of beautifully written literary fiction which will leave you reeling.