It has been my very great pleasure to get to know Essie Fox and her writing over the past two years, and today is publication day for her debut novel The Somnambulist. I was lucky enough to get a sneaky peak at an early copy; it’s a wonderful chase through High Victorian society. I can’t review it without giving away too much, but encourage you to buy it and find out for yourself, and so instead include here what Essie’s publisher, Orion, has to say about the story.
‘London 1881. Phoebe Turner lives in the shadow of her widowed mother, Maud, who marches with the Hallelujah Army and campaigns for all theatres and bars to be closed. They share a home with Cissy, Phoebe’s beautiful unmarried aunt who sings on the stage at Wilton’s Music Hall. Phoebe loves the theatre and sneaks out to watch her aunt singing. When Cissy dies of an overdose, Phoebe’s world is shattered and a web of deceits spun around her begins to unravel. First, a handsome Jewish businessman appears at Cissy’s funeral. Long despised by Maud for being a Jew and for luring Cissy onto the stage, he now steals Phoebe away from her, hiring the girl as a companion for his grieving, reclusive wife, Lydia, a laudanum addict. Spirited away to his Herefordshire mansion, Phoebe finds herself haunted by Lydia and her strange sleepwalking. She is troubled by dreams of fresh blood in the snow and soon even darker secrets emerge…’
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