The Tiger Who Sleeps Under My Chair

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Pub Date 02 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 02 Feb 2023

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Steeped in the natural history of Mary Anning's Jurassic Coast, a powerful dual-timeline story about friendship, mental health and hidden stories.

Emma Linden dreams of following in the footsteps of the famous fossil-hunter, Mary Anning. But when her brother James becomes obsessed with a tiger at the museum, Emma's world begins to spiral...

After Rosie falls ill, she discovers family secrets buried like layers of rock in the Jurassic Coast. With her new friend Jude, they must sift the past to find the answers.

A brave and beautifully written story set in contemporary and Victorian times, full of fossils, friendship, hope and healing.

Praise for Hannah Foley:
'A great friendship story, fascinating, intricate and hopeful.' Hilary McKay author of The Skylarks' War
'[An] expansive story about mental health, hidden stories and friendship.' The Bookseller One to Watch
'A bold, courageous and important book.' Sophie Kirtley author of The Wild Way Home

Steeped in the natural history of Mary Anning's Jurassic Coast, a powerful dual-timeline story about friendship, mental health and hidden stories.

Emma Linden dreams of following in the footsteps of...

Available Editions

ISBN 9781803289809
PRICE £6.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 23 members

Featured Reviews

A beautifully woven story that is set across dual timelines with a family connection linking the intertwining stories. Shifting between London in the 1880s and Devon in 2023, this is a story that shines a light on perceptions and treatment of mental health. And whilst this is without a doubt key to the story, the thing that kept me turning pages was the friendships between the characters and that ever niggling little mystery of the tiger. It’s a story of hope, of empathy and of those who see the world differently. Magical storytelling with beautiful writing.

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This is a powerful, sensitively and beautifully written middle grade story. If the stunning cover illustration by Lucy Rose hasn’t already intrigued you, let me tell you more, because I predict this will be one of the 2023 middle grade books to watch.

Taking inspiration from the Victorian era of real-life female hero Mary Anning and what we now know of her contribution to science from her home along the Jurassic coast of Devon; author, Foley, has imagined one of her greatest fans in Emma Linden, a 12 year old living in London who holidays at their family cottage in Devon by the sea during Summers. Collating all that feminists abhor about this age - no rights for women whether it is education, inheritance, medical care, professional careers, Emma has also been labelled with a mysterious mental illness that means she is kept out of sight, ‘safely’ away from society.

It might seem like a straight forward plot, but heck no it isn’t, and you’re going to love that actually as you read the book you are time-shifted between 1884 and 2023. Transported between the lives of Emma Linden and her direct descendant, Rosie Linden, living in Devon by the sea, yet, unlike Emma, she’s living more than one life. We meet her after she has had an episode in another world, as a tiger, protecting, keeping everyone safe. She suddenly comes back to reality, bewildered, confused in the middle of town, and lucky for her her classmate Jude is passing by.

This is an incredible story with twists and turns, an ancient Indian mystery of humans changing into tigers that seems to have penetrated the Linden blood line. Reading of the ‘condition’ gradually taking hold of characters in the late 1800s and the early 2000s; following their journeys in real time is incredibly eye-opening. Foley’s writing style is incredibly ‘romantic’ in the way it pulls you into the narrative and you feel the injustice, grief, shock, anxiety, relief, happiness, love and joy, not always necessarily in this order.

By passing down clues through time between Emma and her grandchildren, eventually Rosie and Jude (not without risk) solve the mystery of what happened to the Linden family all those years ago.

Readers will encounter the reality of children living with psychosis related mental illness, how they struggle to cope and come to terms with a diagnosis and lead a ‘normal’ life. There are compassionate medical characters and details of care plans are included in the storyline, reflecting the obvious comparison to the appalling Victorian asylum treatments that Emma’s family fear for her.

This is a bold, heart-felt and unforgettable story. We must love and protect the tigers in our lives, and keep them safe when they are most vulnerable. It’d make an amazing classroom book by the way, teachers!

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This book talks about mental health challenges in such a sensitive and supportive way. The story focuses on Emma and Jude's perspectives as they watch someone they love struggle with what appear to be delusions (although there is also a touch of the mystical about this book that makes you wonder, could there be something else going on). In the stories, set centuries apart, Emma and Jude both watch as their loved ones fall ill, recover and then fall ill again. The stories show that recovery is possible, even if relapses happen along the way. It also shows how worrying it can be to love someone with a mental illness but that support and friendship can make all the difference. I think it would be a great conversation starter for older primary aged children and a brilliant way to open up about mental well-being and battle the stigma that still exists around mental illness.

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This is such a warm, lovely book. Both timelines unfold so beautifully, gently pulling the reader right into the heart of the story and holding them tight. The characters are perfectly realised, as is the setting, and the sensitive exploration of the mental health issues involved seemed spot on. I found myself equally invested in both the present-day story and the past and I loved the natural, unforced way in which they overlapped. This feels like a future children's classic - I loved it.

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I found this story utterly compelling. A beautifully woven rich story set in 2 time periods. A family connection, as well as plot events, binds the stories together really well. The portrayal of mental illness is gently handled and very appropriate for children. I loved the connection to Mary Anning too. Would highly recommend.

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Lovely book telling a tale of friendship and family solidarity, with the lure of tales of ancient tiger folklore, what’s not to love

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I requested this book when I fell in love with the cover, and I wasn’t disappointed by the read!

Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publishers for letting me read an advance copy of this book.

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What a standout of a book!! The story wove and grew in ways I genuinely didn’t expect and I loved every moment. The fossils, the historical aspect that tied in beautifully to modern day, and the spark of magic! The conversation around mental illness was poignant and a great way to broaden the topic with any young reader as well.

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Wow, what a beautiful story. It takes place in dual timelines and the tale unfolds perfectly. I read this with my daughter and she loved it. Such an empowering and poignant book.

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