Susan Hill meets Wilkie Collins in Alison Littlewood's latest chiller. Mad-doctor Nathaniel is obsessed with the beautiful Mrs Harleston - but is she truly delusional? Or is she hiding secrets that should never be uncovered . . . ?
Haunted by his father's suicide, Nathaniel Kerner walks away from the highly prestigious life of a consultant to become a mad-doctor. He takes up a position at Crakethorne Asylum, but the proprietor is more interested in phrenology and his growing collection of skulls than the patients' minds. Nathaniel's only interesting case is Mrs Victoria Adelina - Vita - Harleston: her husband accuses her of hysteria and delusions - but she accuses him of hiding secrets far more terrible.
Nathaniel is increasingly obsessed with Vita, but when he has her mesmerised, there are unexpected results. Vita starts hearing voices, the way she used to - her grandmother always claimed they came from beyond the grave - but it also unleashes her own powers of mesmerism . . . and a desperate need to escape.
Increasingly besotted, Nathaniel finds himself caught up in a world of séances and stage mesmerism in his bid to find Vita and save her.
But constantly hanging over him is this warning: that doctors are apt to catch the diseases with which they are surrounded - whether of the body or the mind . . .
'[An] enjoyable excursion . . . gripping' The Sunday Times
‘Littlewood does a great job writing in a quasi-Victorian manner throughout and the twist is brilliant’ - Daily Mail on The Hidden People
‘This magical murder-mystery blends the supernatural with the psychological ... surprising, moving and rewarding’ - Daily Express on The Hidden People
‘There's an amazing sense of place and time in this novel, as Littlewood perfectly captures the literary style, attitudes, and class consciousness of Victorian England’ - Publishers Weekly on The Hidden People
‘A dark Victorian gothic murder-mystery novel with a chillingly authentic feel’ - Choice magazine
‘Hypnotic and intelligent with buckets of atmosphere . . . Littlewood expertly weaves themes of misogyny and mythology into a psychological page-turner that feels both familiar and fresh’ - SFX on The Hidden People
‘Littlewood weaves a plot that's as complex as any contemporary thriller . . . For those wanting to observe how subtle psychological horror can be, how the deepest fears can be contained in the smallest of actions, and that the gothic novel is still incredibly powerful even in these modern times, this is the book for them.’ - Starburst Magazine on The Hidden People
‘The atmosphere Alison Littlewood conjures up in The Hidden People is absorbing and there's a real sense of foreboding, you feel the fairies might show themselves at any moment.’ - Irish News on The Hidden People