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Summary

Rosie Garland's extraordinary tale is a story of superstition and devotion in the time of the Black Death and will bewitch both new listeners and fans of her much-loved debut, The Palace of Curiosities.

Devon, 1349: In Brauntone, where seagulls screech across the fields and the wind has a mind to change, Father Thomas arrives as the new priest. Determined to impress his congregation, he quells fears of the coming pestilence with promises of protection. For Anne, the priest's arrival is an opportunity that at 16, she feels all too ready for. Convinced a grand fate awaits, she moves in as Thomas' housekeeper, though hopeful of something more. But his home is a place without love or kindness. So when a strange, mute Maid is discovered, washed up in the marshes, and taken in, Anne is grateful for the company. Their friendship is to give Anne the chance of a happiness she thought she'd never know.

But soon the plague strikes Brauntone, spreading panic. And as the villagers' fear turns to anger, Thomas must sacrifice everything to restore their faith in him.

©2014 Rosie Garland (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Garland's lush prose is always a pleasure." (Guardian)
"An alternately brutal and beautiful story about love and belonging in a vividly conveyed underworld, rich in carny phantasmagoria and lyrical romance." (Metro)
"A jewel-box of a novel… Garland is a real literary talent: definitely an author to watch." (Sarah Waters)

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