When Rona and Craig buy a large Victorian house up from Edinburgh's Newhaven district - once teeming with fishing boats - they plan to renovate and set it up as a luxury care home. But something is not quite right: disturbing sounds can be heard when the sea mists swirl; their unpredictable neighbour makes it clear that the house was not always a happy family home. And their 'characterful' historic pile has a gloomy cellar harbouring relics from days gone by. Back in the 1890s, superstitious fishwives blame young Jessie for the deaths of their menfolk in a terrible storm, and she's forced into the Newhaven Poorhouse. In those less enlightened times, life was often severe, cruel even, and Jessie is entirely at the mercy of a tyrant matron. But one inmate is not all she seems. Jessie begins to pick at the truth, uncovering the secrets and lies that pervade the poorhouse - and which will have profound and dangerous consequences in the future.
As well as writing two very popular and well-reviewed historical thrillers, The Night He Left and Fields of Blue Flax, Sue Lawrence is one of the UK's leading cookery writers, with eighteen published cookbooks. Having trained as a journalist in Dundee, she won BBC's MasterChef in 1991 and became a food writer, regularly contributing to Scotland on Sunday, the Sunday Times and many leading magazines. Born in Dundee and raised in Edinburgh, she now lives near Newhaven in North Edinburgh. She has won two Guild of Food Writers Awards and a Glenfiddich Food and Drink Award.
"A mystery with many twists and turns, thoroughly enjoyable with beautiful characters that capture you and draw you in to read just a bit more!"
"Lawrence has produced a well woven story, the historic passages suitably Gothic in feel, the more contemporary passages tense, with an unpredictability of plot that sustains interest and keeps us on our toes."
"An emotional and intriguing story … has everything from a fascinating history, twists to do with families, also unnerving parts to keep you engrossed and guessing!"
"So atmospheric and creates such a brilliant sense of place that you can easily imagine yourself there with all the accompanying sights, smells and sounds."
"An interesting read and a poignant one."
"An absorbing read that you don't want to put down … I had that sad feeling when I finished the last page that it was all over."
"Gripping … A great tale which is both eerie and moving in equal measures … Manages to incorporate the historical with the psychological and weaves a fascinating tale around haunting secrets and painful truths."
"An eerie thriller … perfectly creepy and atmospheric … will help cement Lawrence as a skilled creator of historical mysteries."
The Wee Review - Matthew Keeley
"Plenty of intrigue, there is much to enjoy here … tension … smart twists … particularly strong descriptions of food and scents … her cast of characters, most of them women, are all distinct individuals."
Scotland on Sunday - Louise Fairbairn
"Fascinating… Lawrence's skill of storytelling allows for the tension to really build throughout."
"A true highlight of my reading year … It is really beautiful … Sue Lawrence has created such memorable characters and brought to life both time periods with great accuracy and incredible writing."
"Exciting … With secret tunnels, hidden treasures, plenty of mystery, drama and danger."
"Excellent… Intriguing… Full of fear and danger. This page-turning historical novel holds many twists and turns."
"Combines mystery, human interest and a beautifully crafted sense of place … a great read."
"A haunting, moving story."
"Fast-paced and full of fear and intrigue… Creates a sense of unease in the reader that persists right through to the book's satisfying conclusion."