Monday, 16 January 2017

#ReviewMonday with KM Lockwood - The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood

Published by Jo Fletcher books in hardback
384 pages – paperback due in October 2017

Summary from author’s own website
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 . . .
*****
Review
This Victorian-style murder mystery with more than a hint of the supernatural will suit many accomplished readers with a taste for the Gothic. It’s told in the first person by Albie Mirrals, a rational modern man of the 19th century – a not entirely trustworthy narrator. He investigates the bizarre death of his cousin Lizzie Higgs only to enter a weird world of superstition and half-truths.
The alluring cover art by Leo Nickolls embodies the summery night-time strangeness of Halfoak – both enchanting and unsettling.
I would particularly recommend it for those who loved Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree and/or Cuckoo Song. It’s not an easy or quick read – you need to get your ear in (as it were) for Yorkshire dialect and Victorian turns of phrase. If you can read The Secret Garden in its original form, or Dickens, you’ll be fine. 
It is worth it.
You’ll disappear into an eerie northern countryside full of foreboding and delusions. Like the cover, it’s darkly beautiful and disturbing at one and the same time. Not specifically for YA readers, yet like most of the best unearthly fiction, it will thrill all ages able to deal with the weird, the difficult to explain and the elusive.

K. M. Lockwood lives by the sea in Sussex - see the pics on Instagram. She fills jars with sea-glass, writes on a very old desk and reads way past her bedtime. Her tiny bed-and-breakfast is stuffed full of books - and even the breakfasts are named after writers. You're always welcome to chat stories with @lockwoodwriter on Twitter.

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