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Shakespeare's quiet and moving fifth novel is a story as brooding and insular as the Tasmanian town in which it is set. Alex Dove, who left remote Wellington Point as a child, returns after college to deal with his deceased parents' failing farm. Merridy Bowman is on leave from university to nurse her dying father, who has moved into a Wellington Point retirement community. The two outsiders forge a relationship (despite the brief but spirited attempt of a townie to win Merridy) and marry, settling on Alex's family farm, where they eke out a modest living. Although the novel's sympathies lie with Alex, it is his ambitious wife who drives the novel. Their struggle to conceive leads to Merridy's unlikely return to her studies and, eventually, to rescuing a mysterious, troubled child from a shipwrecked boat. Trouble, as ever, is in the offing, and when it arrives, Shakespeare allows it to run its natural course without dipping into melodrama. Expertly crafted, the novel illuminates love's craggy depths. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.