Part psychological thriller, part coming-of-age novel from the author of People of Abandoned Character.
A missing girl. Buried family secrets. An absent father. Is the truth worth searching for?
Summer, 1993. In the aftermath of her mother's suicide attempt, 16-year-old Prue must spend the summer holidays on a remote island in the Shetlands with her favourite Aunt Ruth and Uncle Archie, a man she's barely met since her aunt married him. Prue hopes to re-establish the relationship, and that her aunt might help her understand some of the parts of the past she has been forbidden to discuss by her mother – including the identity of her father.
Prue soon finds out that her uncle was the only suspect in the disappearance of a local girl some twenty years ago. As she grows closer to him, she learns there are differing views on how the beguiling Evelyn O'Hara disappeared, but is her uncle innocent?
Truth is something Prue has always had a fractured relationship with. A single version of the truth seems impossible for her to lock down...
'I wanted to explore how ordinary families can condition themselves to keep the darkest of secrets – until the truth forces its way out. It's the story of a family's unravelling through the eyes of a confused and isolated 16-year-old girl trying to make sense of the past.' Clare Whitfield
'An astonishing book set in a Victorian London plagued by Jack the Ripper. Whitfield's narrator is Susannah, an ex-nurse who rushed into a rapidly souring marriage with a wealthy surgeon and starts to believe that her husband might be Leather Apron himself. I'd be amazed if it isn't dominating the shortlists come next year's awards season' M.W. Craven.
'This impressive debut builds up pace, pathos and intrigue superbly, with plenty of twists and turns' Woman's Weekly.
'A gripping and original take on the world's most notorious serial killer. A perfectly thrilling read for those long winter nights. Highly recommended' Adam Hamdy.
'A mistreated wife suspects her husband might be the Whitechapel killer... Compelling' Sunday Times