Mia Morgan, in the middle of her life, is a woman under siege: by memories of her late lover, by the relationship with her blind father, and by a family secret she can't forget. She is also accused of living in the past: her days are spent amid the life and letters of Lady Brilliana Harley, who lived nearly four hundred years ago during the English Civil War. Brilliana Harley is a Puritan, a lone Roundhead in a county of Royalists, and it is not long before her enemies sit down in siege around her. As cannon-shot rains down upon her castle, she alone must captain a garrison of men and defend her home. Out of Brilliana's words emerges a woman of courage and conviction, a loving mother and capable wife, dutiful even under duress. As Mia pieces her together, she finds that it is through Brilliana's life, so different and yet so similar, that she can come to understand her own. Darkling is a revolutionary undertaking: an echoing of two lives across the centuries, deftly weaving original seventeenth-century documents into the fabric of a modern fiction. The result is a book of voices, past and present, exquisitely observed and skilfully summoned.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 721 g
Dimensions: 240 x 163 x 36 mm
"A novel of masterly understatement... Laura Beatty uses [landscape] with subtle obliquity as a grid for mapping the emotional lives of her twin heroines, women divided by nearly four centuries." -- Jonathan Keates Spectator "From the virtuoso opening chapter, Beatty takes an offbeat, impressionistic approach... She is interested in the darkness of history, belief and the motivations of the heart: in how "places make people". Beatty's prose swoops and soars; she is particularly good on animals and birds, but can also turn her nature writer's intense gaze on the behaviour of humans." -- Justine Jordan Guardian "The lives of two women, centuries apart are curiously entwined. Beatty makes you feel the layers of history existing alongside the present, so that the stories blend seamlessly... Beautifully written..." The Times "Binding together the lives of two different yet strangely similar women, Beatty weaves a ruminative and richly rewarding narrative" -- Hephzibah Anderson Daily Mail "A well-researched novel, bringing exciting historical events into an engaging and easily absorbed format. By merit of her excellent writing, Beatty has avoided the usual pitfalls of historical novels by giving it a modern twist, moving effortlessly between the past and present. I glimpsed what life might have been like in England nearly four hundred years ago... Prepare to be reeled in hook, line and sinker with Darkling - it won't disappoint!" Culturefly