A chilling Gothic mystery from the bestselling author of Richard & Judy Book Club hit The Cold Season, perfect for fans of Susan Hill, The Coffin Path and The Silent Companions - where superstition and myth bleed into real life with tragic consequences.
'The twist is brilliant' Daily Mail
'Intriguing and unsettling' Sunday Express
Pretty Lizzie Higgs is gone, burned to death on her own hearth - but was she really a changeling, as her husband insists?
Albie Mirralls met his cousin only once, in 1851, within the grand glass arches of the Crystal Palace, but unable to countenance the rumours that surround her murder, he leaves his young wife in London and travels to Halfoak, a village steeped in superstition.
Albie begins to look into Lizzie's death, but in this place where the old tales hold sway and the 'Hidden People' supposedly roam, answers are slippery and further tragedy is just a step away . . .
'A skilful blend of the supernatural and the psychological . . . If you enjoyed Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke and the Woman in Black by Susan Hill, this is one for you' Mature Times
There's an amazing sense of place and time in this novel, as Littlewood (Zombie Apocalypse! Acapulcalypse Now!) perfectly captures the literary style, attitudes, and class consciousness of Victorian England. Albie Mirrals has a passing fancy for his young, poorly situated cousin Lizzie, but he ends up in a happy marriage with a fellow member of the upper classes. When Lizzie is murdered by her husband in a small town with deep-rooted superstitions about fairies, Albie investigates and ends up calling his entire life into question in a mystery that's pleasant but predictable. Littlewood carefully refrains from revealing whether the fairies are real or mere myth. Albie's actions doom him at the right moments; indeed, there's no suspense at all to his character arc, which is straight out of Poe, right down to the uncomfortable romance. The female characters, particularly Albie's wife, get short shrift in the story, and the plot is predictable for anyone familiar with works of the era. This is an accurate pastiche of Victorian fiction, with all the attendant positives and negatives.