The Western Light, the prequel to the international bestselling The Wives of Bath, is Susan Swan's long-awaited return to the life of the beloved narrator Mary "Mouse" Bradford. Mouse's world is constrained by a number of factors: her mother is dead, her father -- the admired country doctor -- is emotionally distant, her housekeeper Sal is prejudiced and narrow, and her grandmother and aunt, Big Louie and Little Louie, the only life-affirming presences in her life, live in another city.
Enter Gentleman John Pilkie, the former NHL star who's transferred to the mental hospital in Midland, where he is to serve out his life-sentence for the murder of his wife and daughter. John becomes a point of fascination for young Mary, who looks to him for the attention she does not receive from her father. He, in turn, is kind to her -- but the kindness is misunderstood. When Mary figures out that the attention she receives from the Hockey Killer is different in kind and intent from the attention her Aunt Little Louie receives, her world collapses. Set against the beautiful and dramatic shores of Georgian Bay, the climax will have readers turning pages with concern for characters they can't help but love.