Anais Butt and the Hairy-Handed GentKate Welshman
When seventeen-year-old Anais Butt is expelled from her fifth boarding school in three years, she expects her parents to slap her on the wrist and send her to another expensive school. However, her fed-up parents have other ideas. They decide to exile her to the isolated mountain town of Glenorie to labour for her child-hating maternal grandmother, Nanny Pam and her hostile cousin, Josephine, who operate a riding school on Pam's three thousand-acre ranch on the Turon River. However, before leaving for Glenorie, Anais spends a few days with her paternal grandmother, Nanny Bette, who has a handsome, mysterious guest staying with her in her flat. Shannon Ferguson has told Nanny Bette that he’s an out-of-work actor, but Anais, who finds herself strongly attracted to him, suspects that he’s lying. Shannon seems to be on the run from the police.
When Shannon follows Anais to Glenorie, she’s scared of him and drawn to him in equal measure. He reveals that he’s being pursued by the police over a crime he did not commit. Anais wants to believe the man she’s in love with, but when a German backpacker goes missing and another is horribly injured near Glenorie, Anais can’t help but suspect Shannon.
Finding herself more and more allied with her serious, goody-two-shoes cousin Josephine, Anais sets out to investigate the disappearances herself. Through a series of thrilling but dangerous events, the girls discover that the prime suspect is not Shannon, but the town’s well-respected pastor, Reverend Hobhouse and his band of ‘foster sons’.
After an incident in the bush where Shannon is almost killed, he’s forced to face the prospect of leaving Glenorie, and Anais, forever. And Anais must make her own decisions and discoveries about her past, present and future. She may just have to grow up . . .