WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION FROM MAGGIE O’FARRELL
Janet lies murdered beneath the castle stairs, oddly attired in her mother’s black lace wedding dress, lamented only by her pet jackdaw…
In this, her first novel, Elspeth Barker evokes the unrelenting chill of Calvinism and the Scottish climate; it’s a world of isolation and loneliness, where Barker’s young protagonist turns to increasingly to literature, nature, and her risque Aunt Lila, who offer brief flashes of respite in an otherwise dank and foreboding life. People, birds and beasts move in a gleeful danse macabre through the lowering landscape in a tale that is as rich and atmospheric as it is witty and mordant. The family motto – Moriens sed Invictus (Dying but Unconquered) – is a fitting epitaph for wild, courageous Janet, and her determination to remain steadfastly herself even as events overtake her.
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