A haunting, mysterious tale imbued with the force of myth, by the award-winning author of A Kind of Intimacy.
When Annette Clifford returns to her childhood home on the edge of Morecambe Bay, she despairs: the long-empty house is crumbling, undermined by two voracious sycamores. What she doesn't realise is that she's not alone: her arrival has woken the spirits of her parents, who anxiously watch over her, longing to make amends. Because as the past comes back to Jack and Netty, they begin to see the summer of 1963 clearly, when Netty was desperately ill and a stranger moved in. Charismatic, mercurial Timothy Richardson, with his seemingly miraculous powers of healing, who drew all their attention away from Annette... Now, they must try to draw another stranger towards her, one who can rescue her.
Blurring the boundaries between the corporeal and spirit worlds and subtly echoing the myth of Baucis and Philemon, this is an eerily beautiful, evocative and highly original novel, which underlines the eternal potency of hope.
This marvellous novel is both haunted and haunting, as Ashworth expertly blurs the boundaries between the past and the present, the homely and the uncanny, the quick and the dead. Touching on profound questions of myth, mortality and redemption, it is both sinister and beautiful - and ultimately tender.—Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent
A beautifully written book which cleverly blurs fantasy and realism.—David Mitchell, Daily Mail
A disturbing, precisely rendered tale of charisma, misplaced faith and transgenerational trauma, with a touch of the supernatural . . . [it] brings to mind the claustrophobic, suburban world of Dennis Potter's great play Brimstone and Treacle.—Alex Clark, Spectator
There's magic in this Lancashire-set novel . . . Atmospheric [and] empathic—Stephanie Cross, Lady
Headily atmospheric and luminously written. Ashworth's narrative is packed with the pungent smells of the sea and decay . . . her pages are threaded with original, arresting images . . . not many writers could bind the supernatural and the literary with such lightness of touch—Francesca Angelini, Sunday Times
Eerie and lyrical - prepare to be haunted by this innovative novel.—Carys Bray, author of Sweet Home and A Song For Issy Bradley
Despite the ethereal narrators, the book's triumph is in the corporeal, the ache of the mundane, the beauty of small things. The characters have a poetry of the ordinary - a brokenness reminiscent of Alan Bennett that makes them flesh and blood.—Ruth McKee, Irish Times
Ashworth's gift for capturing the quirky ordinariness of life is as sharp here as it is in her previous novels . . . Dark, compelling, beautifully written, Fell adds another powerful story to the mythology of our strange hinterlands.—Andrew Michael Hurley, Guardian
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