From the best-selling author of Longbourn, a gripping novel of one young woman’s unraveling during the Blitz—a story of World War II intrigue, love, and danger • “[A] thrilling novel…atmospheric and memorable.” —Emma Donoghue, best-selling author of Haven
It is 1940 and twenty-year-old Charlotte Richmond watches from her attic window as enemy planes fly over London. Still grieving her beloved brother, who never returned from France, she is trying to keep herself out of trouble: holding down a typist job at the Ministry of Information, sharing gin and confidences with her best friend, Elena, and dodging her overbearing father.
On her way to work she often sees the boy who feeds the birds—a source of unexpected joy amid the rubble of the Blitz. But every day brings new scenes of devastation, and after yet another heartbreaking loss Charlotte has an uncanny sense of foreboding. Someone is stalking the darkness, targeting her friends. And now he’s following her.
As grief and suspicion consume her, Charlotte’s nerves become increasingly frayed. She no longer knows whom to trust. She can’t even trust herself . . .
Utterly riveting and hypnotic, The Midnight News is a love story, a war story, and an unforgettable journey into the fragile mind and fierce heart of an extraordinary young woman.
In the arresting latest from Baker (Longbourn), a young typist in WWII-era London deals with overwhelming grief. Charlotte Richmond tries forge a new life apart from her dominating MP father, Sir Charles Richmond; her stepmother, Marion; and their lavish estate. Her older brother, Eddie, dies early in the war, and she sinks deeper into despair when her best friend El is killed in a German bombing raid. Charlotte, who believes she's being followed by someone she calls "the shadow man," suspects El was targeted in the raid, though no one else believes her and she begins questioning her sanity. Her family, long fed up after she refused to be in a debutante ball, has Charlotte committed to an asylum, where she's subjected to insulin shock therapy and overwhelming doses of drugs. Though the plot is never fully resolved, the shadow man makes a consequential appearance at the asylum. Baker vividly portrays the surreal sight of London ravaged by the Blitz and adds psychological depth to Charlotte's internal monologues (addressing El's voice, whom she repeatedly hears after El's death, she thinks, "You're shock. You're grief. You're not El.... If I ignore you, you will go away"). This stands above run-of-the-mill WWII fare. Agents: Anna Stein and Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Assoc.