This is a Canadian story about two very different brothers in a rural Northern Ontario town. Arthur, the eldest brother, is shy, retiring, loyal and dutiful. His father approves of him and sets him up to inherit the farm. Jake is outgoing, egotistical and self-absorbed. His mother thinks he can do no wrong and makes Arthur protect him even when it goes against Arthur's best interests. So is set an antagonistic relationship.
When Laura comes to town with her father the preacher during WWII, each brother falls in love with her.
This story is told in the past (WWII era) and the present. In the present the doctor's son, Ian is smitten by Laura and goes to help out on the farm where once again Arthur and Jake are forced to face each other.
This is a well-written story with a somewhat predictable ending. However, predictable or not the reader is drawn in and engrossed in the details of the small framing community and the lives of the Dunn brothers.
First Line: "There was a summer back when they were kids, when Arthur Dunn was thirteen and his brother Jake was eight or nine, when for weeks on end Jake pestered Arthur to play the game he called knives."