Pub Date 03 Jul 2018
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Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life of her dreams, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children, and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch party for her new blockbuster book about a pioneering female surgeon of the Victorian era, she can barely pretend to smile. Her perfect life is in fact a desperate tangle of lies, and if the truth were to come out, she would lose everything.
Only one other person knows what Olivia has done: Vivian Tester, the socially awkward, middle-aged housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the diary on which Olivia's new biography is based. Vivian proved to be remarkably adept at hunting down obscure sources and eventually became Olivia's unofficial research assistant.
But the seemingly chance circumstances that brought these two very different women together turn out to be far more complex--and far more sinister--than Olivia ever realized. In a gripping narrative that shifts between London, Sussex, and the idyllic South of France, Olivia and Vivian will learn knife-edged truths about themselves and discover just how far each will go to protect her reputation.
"[A] sense of unease keeps pushing all the way to the last, intense pages. A reckoning is coming, but why? . . . With shades of Rebecca and The Secret History, Atkins has produced an eerie page-turner that will have readers guessing from the first." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Two well-drawn and plausibly flawed characters share the narrative in a complex, creepy, and insidious novel about ambition, academic integrity, and--intriguingly--dung beetles." -- The Guardian
"A fascinating, brilliant, creepy, intelligent novel."-- Good Housekeeping