Amid the fading grandeur of a country estate, Clara lives in the care of Mr Crowe, a man of many mysterious gifts, and his faithful manservant, Eustace. Free from rules and lessons, she inhabits a silent world of her own. She has her books, and her secret places. Mr Crowe was once the toast of the finest salons: a man of learning and means, he travelled the world, dazzling all who met him. Now, he devotes himself to earthly pleasures, while his great library gathers dust and his once magnificent gardens grow wild. But Mr Crowe and his extraordinary gifts have not been entirely forgotten. When he commits a crime of passion, he attracts the attention of Dr Chastern, the figurehead of a secret society to which Crowe still belongs. When Chastern comes to call him to account, his sinister attention is soon diverted to Clara. For Clara possesses gifts of her own, gifts whose power she has not yet fully grasped. She must learn to use them quickly, if she is to save them all.
"Kinetic and pacy, it is a page-turner in the very best sense of the term, with a central scene of extraordinary heart-in-mouth excitement." The Financial Times
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 562 g
Dimensions: 238 x 162 x 33 mm
This debut comes highly praised by Costa prize-winner Helen Macdonald ... it is O'Donnell's arresting descriptions of the natural world that are likely to live longest in the mind DAILY MAIL it would not be surprising if the public clamours for a second instalment of this vividly imagined and deeply pleasurable gothic fantasy - not to mention a film. FINANCIAL TIMES at its best, the prose in O'Donnell's first novel is glorious, combining an ear for deep cadences of language with a phenomenal acuity of vision. THE GUARDIAN Poetic and strange, this Gothic novel is a dark, elegant celebration of the power and beauty of words and the spells they weave. SUNDAY EXPRESS this book is like the swans Clara makes in her dreams, though it may assume a familiar shape, it remains very much its own thing, strange and new and captivating. THE INDEPENDENT O'Donnell's eloquent descriptions and old-world characters make it a charming, lyrical read even when tension is high. I admired the depth of O'Donnell's imagination, which allowed him to conjure uo this enthralling tale ... A literary feast STYLIST A powerful thriller VOGUE Wonderfully dark, magical ELLE Strange and beautiful - one of Stylist's Essential Reads for 2016 STYLIST A fabulously assured, elegant Gothic-flavoured tale WOMAN AND HOME A peculiar and beautiful tale of art and magic STYLIST.CO.UK An oddly beautiful tale of magic and art, this reminded me of Alain-Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes -- Cathy Rentzenbrink Editor's Choice, The Bookseller Compulsive reading ... rich, strange, beautiful Helen Macdonald, author of H IS FOR HAWK I devoured this book and it kept me guessing right to the very end ... Line by line, Paraic's writing contains some of the most beautifully turned phrasing I've read in a long while Laura Barnett, author of THE VERSIONS OF US Dazzlingly inventive, compelling Jane Casey Exquisite Liz Nugent, author of UNRAVELLING OLIVER The Maker of Swans combines through-the-looking-glass enchantment with Nabokovian dexterity, and is also a sly and insightful commentary on the powers and weakness of artists. O'Donnell has written a mesmerizing book whose prose absolutely soars Sandra Newman, author of THE COUNTRY OF ICE CREAM STAR Sonorous, beautifully made ... disquieting and unfathomable THE SPECTATOR