The Ninth Child: The new novel from the author of The Sealwoman's Gift (Paperback)Sally Magnusson (author)
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Perfect reading for fans of Sarah Perry and Bridget Collins, Magnusson's enchanting fable blends folklore and realism in the tale of a doctor's wife succumbing to ancient myths and mysterious strangers in the Highland wilderness.
Waterstones Scottish Book of the Month for November 2020
Loch Katrine waterworks, 1856. A Highland wilderness fast becoming an industrial wasteland. No place for a lady.
Isabel Aird is aghast when her husband is appointed doctor to an extraordinary waterworks being built miles from the city. But Isabel, denied the motherhood role that is expected of her by a succession of miscarriages, finds unexpected consolations in a place where she can feel the presence of her unborn children and begin to work out what her life in Victorian society is for.
The hills echo with the gunpowder blasts of hundreds of navvies tunnelling day and night to bring clean water to diseased Glasgow thirty miles away - digging so deep that there are those who worry they are disturbing the land of faery itself. Here, just inside the Highland line, the membrane between the modern world and the ancient unseen places is very thin.
With new life quickening within her again, Isabel can only wait. But a darker presence has also emerged from the gunpowder smoke. And he is waiting too.
Inspired by the mysterious death of the seventeenth-century minister Robert Kirke and set in a pivotal era two centuries later when engineering innovation flourished but women did not, The Ninth Child blends folklore with historical realism in a spellbinding narrative.
Publisher: John Murray Press
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 236 g
Dimensions: 196 x 128 x 34 mm
'Sally Magnusson's classy new novel The Ninth Child has snared me . . . Suffice to say I'm hooked, and I'm only on page 50. It's wonderful and I daren't stop. One never messes with the faeries.' - Melanie Reid, The Times
'An absolute triumph! Such a clever interweaving of history and fairytale. I loved the lively intelligent heroine and the brooding sense of menace throughout. It had me gripped right to the end.' - Sarah Haywood, author of The Cactus
'Sally Magnusson has written a brilliant tour-de-force that blends together unlikely ingredients such as engineering, the Celtic Otherworld and 19th century medicine into a memorable, riveting, page-turning story. I savoured it!' - Alistair Moffatt, author of The Hidden Ways
'Not only did the book transport me while I read, but when I slept my dreams were extraordinarily vivid - I dreamt I was roaming in the highlands, smelling fresh air, feeling sunlight - far from my hospital bed. Few books have this impact on me.' - Michelle Gallen, author of Big Girl Small Town
'An engaging mix of folklore and Victorian history.' - Sunday Times
'This eerie tale blends Scottish folklore with historical fiction.' - The i
'Pacy and accomplished, with a supernatural chill .' - The Herald
'Enthralling.' - Scots Magazine
'Well-researched, fascinating . . . a strong sense of place . . . an accomplished piece of writing, cementing Magnusson's place, not just as one of Scotland's best-loved broadcasters, but one of Scotland's leading writers of historical fiction.' - Scotland on Sunday
'Entertaining, educational and thought-provoking, The Ninth Child is pacy and accomplished, with particular skill in capturing the supernatural chill attached to some of Scotland's most picturesque sights.' - Press Assocation
'A compassionate story of the clashing cultures of science and superstition, of male and female, rich and poor.' - Anne Goodwin Weekly
'A gripping plot, vivid period detail and a terrific touch of faery too.' - Caroline Sanderson
'A beguiling weave of fine imaginative writing and deft research into Celtic folklore and a triumph of Scottish engineering. The Ninth Child is a dramatic and magical novel told with enormous zest and wit. I am looking forward to Sally Magnusson's next fine novel.' - Les Wilson Author of The Drowned and the Saved
'A very impressive piece of work, drawing on a strong sense of place and a rich seam of history and folklore for its power.' - Donald Murray, author of As the Women Lay Dreaming.
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