Helen Dunmore is the author of fourteen novels. Her first, Zennor in Darkness, explored the events which led to D H Lawrence's expulsion from Cornwall (on suspicion of spying) during the First World War. It won the McKitterick Prize. Her third novel, A Spell of Winter, won the inaugural Orange Prize, now the Bailey's Prize for Women's Fiction. Her bestselling novel The Siege, set during the Siege of Leningrad, was described by Antony Beevor as 'a world-class novel' and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year and the Orange Prize. She has also written a ghost story, The Greatcoat, under the Hammer imprint. She is fascinated by the Cold War era, which was also the era of her childhood, and is the setting for Exposure, and by the secrets, betrayals, loves, lies and loyalties which make up the period's intimate history. Helen Dunmore's work has been translated into more than thirty languages and she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
The mesmerizing fourth novel from this young British writer, winner of Britain's Orange Prize, is her U.S. debut, and it will surely make her name known on this side of the Atlantic. The book's prelude‘a searing prose poem so evocative that it renders almost palpable the yew-scent of a sizzling hot summer graveyard‘is a promise of sensuality and intrigue that increases in intensity and produces a luxuriously gripping narrative. Nina and Isabel have a secret brother: his cot death when they were small changed their lives irrevocably. More than two decades later, when Isabel almost dies with the birth of her own son, Nina comes to help her out at her secluded country home. We quickly sense the deep bonds and tensions between the two sisters as Dunmore ingeniously swings the reader's sympathy from one to the other. Are we dealing with an angel and a devil? If so, which is which? Isabel's unmitigated selfishness seems shocking until Nina casually betrays her. Under the summer sun, long-smothered family nightmares inevitably surface. Despite the bristling heat her narrative conveys, Dunmore's style is coolly beautiful, with many a memorable phrase. "Things are happening here that safely belong on the news, but we can't switch them off," muses Nina, as the elusive sense of horror builds slowly into a thunderous finale, and the devil is revealed. (June)
Thrilling...a book to read in one enthralled sitting The Times Helen Dunmore is a writer of quiet, deadly power...this is taut, committed writing at its best, and it takes about two paragraphs to hook you. Don't resist Daily Mail Talking to the Dead flies off the page, startling the reader with its brilliance Financial Times This is a memorable and assured work Sunday Times
In her first U.S. publication, the winner of Britain's prestigious Orange Prize (for debuting women novelists) limns the story of two sisters bound by a terrible tragedy in childhood.