Without a Backward Glance : Christmas Eve 1967: the night the lives of the McDonald children, Deborah, Robert, James, and Meredith, changed forever. Their mother, Rosemarie, told them she was running out to buy more lights for the tree. Instead, she boarded a plane bound for London, leaving the children with their father and the gnawing question: Why did their mother abandon them? Over the years the siblings have become practiced in concealing their pain, remaining close into adulthood and forming their own families. But long-closed wounds are reopened and secrets that each sibling has locked away come to light, as their father progresses into dementia and James encounters Rosemarie after nearly forty years of her absence. Veitch's family portrait reveals the joys and sorrows, the complexity and ambiguity of family life, and poignantly probes what it means to love and what it means to leave.