Today we’re wishing Alison Littlewood a very happy publication day for her stunning The Crow Garden, a Victorian psychological chiller set in a Yorkshire madhouse. At the same time, we’re welcoming the paperback version of The Hidden People onto bookshelves – so you lucky people have PLENTY of autumn reading ahead of you, and just in time for Halloween as well! Read down to the bottom to find details of how you can nab yourself a copy (we have three to give away).
Susan Hill meets Wilkie Collins in Alison Littlewood’s latest chiller, The Crow Garden. Mad-doctor Nathaniel is obsessed with the beautiful Mrs Harleston – but is she truly delusional? Or is she hiding secrets that should never be uncovered . . . ?
Haunted by his father’s suicide, Nathaniel Kerner walks away from the highly prestigious life of a consultant to become a mad-doctor. He takes up a position at Crakethorne Asylum, but the proprietor is more interested in phrenology and his growing collection of skulls than the patients’ minds. Nathaniel’s only interesting case is Mrs Victoria Adelina – Vita – Harleston: her husband accuses her of hysteria and delusions – but she accuses him of hiding secrets far more terrible.
Nathaniel is increasingly obsessed with Vita, but when he has her mesmerised, there are unexpected results. Vita starts hearing voices, the way she used to – her grandmother always claimed they came from beyond the grave – but it also unleashes her own powers of mesmerism . . . and a desperate need to escape.
Increasingly besotted, Nathaniel finds himself caught up in a world of séances and stage mesmerism in his bid to find Vita and save her.
But constantly hanging over him is this warning: that doctors are apt to catch the diseases with which they are surrounded – whether of the body or the mind . . .
And, not to blow our own horn (or rather Alison’s), here is some of the fabulous feedback we’ve already received:
‘Excellent . . . she creates a chilling atmosphere of skulls, séances, secrets and hysteria’ – The Times
‘[An] enjoyable excursion . . . gripping‘ – The Sunday Times
‘Eerie and unsettling . . . a sublime blend of the psychological and the supernatural that keeps the reader in suspense until the end’ – Starburst
‘An excellent, chilling, autumn read, all about the dangers of power, obsession, and guilt, this is sure to be another hit‘ – Blue Book Balloon
To to celebrate this most joyful of days, we’ll give away not one, not two, but THREE copies of The Crow Garden. To be in with a chance of winning, reply to our post on Twitter or Facebook with the name of your favourite Victorian character and a reason why. Ends Monday 9th October at 5pm. Open to UK and Ireland only (sorry!).