Though Emma Byrne’s self-assessment that she is “normal for me” is accurate, her belief that she is simply “normal” couldn’t be more mistaken. Truth is, there is nothing normal about Emma, and there never has been.
From the time she and her twin brother, Anthony, were born to Evelyn and Jack Bryne, it was abundantly clear there was something different about Emma. She did not react to stimuli in the ways other babies did, nor did she grow out of her odd bahaviors as she aged.
Quite the opposite, she became even more entrenched in her highly particular mannerisms and routines, not caring at all about what conventional expectations, or her parents, demanded of her.
For those around her, Emma’s self-chosen isolation and taciturn nature make her difficult to deal with, and her occasional violent outbursts have earned her invitations to leave more than one school.
Emma’s unusual behavior has been hard for her parents to fathom, the situation made even more difficult by the everybody knows your business life they lead in their tight-knit rural community in 1970s Ireland. As far as her twin, Anthony, is concerned, Emma is a colossal embarrassment, one whose bizarre bahavior makes him a social pariah and target of bullying by association. He, of course, resents her deeply because of this.
Fortunately for all, there is one area where Emma’s uniqueness works to her advantage: she has an uncanny ability to commune with animals, especially horses. So gifted is she in her equine dealings, that at age 15 she officially leaves school to “study” at home, though in reality she ends up working full time for a friend of the family who trains and keeps horses. It’s a situation that finally appears to be working for everyone, until the fateful night a tragic occurrence sets in motion a chain of events that will irrevocably change the lives of everyone in their small Irish village.