This is a superbly written novel with metaphoric intensity that is never overdone – ‘lying on her back like a tiny medieval knight on a tomb.’ A police interrogation frames the story and Dee, the main character, relives her memories of life as a nanny in the creepy Master’s Lodging in the heart of Oxford.
The novel is a love story, a ghost story, and a dysfunctional family saga that hooked, not because of a clever plot, though that is there too, but because of the quirky characters. The failed academic and bumbling, house detective, Linklater. Felicity, the wild and silent child, and Mariah, an unlikeable Danish stepmother, passionate about wallpaper. And then there’s Dee, the nanny whose voice carries the story through, peppering the dialogue with her Scottish burr. This is an intelligently told novel with great heart, set among Oxford’s colleges, weaving through graveyards, history, memory, and trauma. I can’t recommend it more.
Lucy Atkins is joining us for our Novel Nights Book Club in May. Sign up to our mailing list for more details.
We asked the publicist where is the best place to find the book and she recommended Blackwells based in Oxford as they have been supportive of Lucy’s work.
Book Review by Grace Palmer