The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. Bloomsbury 8.99
‘Do you think it’s possible to ever see the past as it actually was? I asked my sister. We were sitting in her car, parked in front of the Dutch House in the broad daylight of early summer.’
Living in their beloved “Dutch House” a lavishly decorated folly of a mansion so named because of the original owners, Danny and his brilliantly acerbic and protective sister Maeve are thrown together when their mother walks out leaving them with their “impenetrable mystery” of a father. The bond is cemented when a “wicked stepmother” arrives and the pair are eventually ousted from the house. Twisting back and forth across five decades the novel paints an intimate, poignant and sometime humorous portrait of a family and its complex relationships, focussing on the two siblings who have found a precarious sanctuary in each other when they are failed by the adults who were supposed to nurture them.
“ The Dutch House brilliantly captures how time undoes all certainties.” The Guardian
A familiar face on our TV screens, Sally received great acclaim for her debut novel, The Sealwoman’s Gift, in 2018. Now we are pleased to introduce her second novel, The Ninth Child, a spellbinding tale which blends fact with fiction, history with folklore, and science with superstition, as it draws together the story of 17th Century minister Robert Kirke and Sally’s own great-grandmother. Set on the banks of Loch Katrine, where a huge engineering project is underway to deliver clean water to disease-ridden Victorian Glasgow and the hills echo with explosive blasts, The Ninth Child follows Isabel Aird, coming to terms with childlessness and attempting to start a new life with her engineer husband in this bleak but striking environment. When Isabel encounters a mysterious stranger who watches her every move, the foundations of her life grow increasingly less sure. Set in a pivotal era when engineering innovation flourished but women’s role was still muted, The Ninth Child blends folklore with historical realism in a masterly narrative. ‘An extraordinarily immersive read’ Guardian ‘Richly imagined and energetically told’ Sunday Times