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How It Was: the immersive, compelling new novel from the author of The Butcher's Hook

Janet Ellis

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Historical fiction

A new, darkly compelling novel from the author of the highly-acclaimed The Butcher's Hook. It's the 1970s and in rural Kent nothing much is happening, except a woman has lit a fuse under her marriage and the explosion is coming.

'IMMERSIVE, AMAZING, REMARKABLE' MARIAN KEYES
'JANET ELLIS WRITES WITH TENDERNESS AND WISDOM' ERIN KELLY
'AN ATMOSPHERIC, CLEVER NOVEL THAT WILL GET UNDER YOUR SKIN' RED

Marion Deacon sits by the hospital bed of her dying husband, Michael. Outwardly she is, as she says, an unremarkable old woman. She has long concealed her history - and her feelings - from the casual observer. But as she sits by Michael's bed, she's haunted by memories from almost forty years ago . . .

Marion Deacon is a wife and mother, and not particularly good at being either. It's the 1970s and in her small village the Swinging 60s, the wave of feminism, the prospect of an exciting life, have all swerved past her. Reading her teenage daughter's diary, it seems that Sarah is on the threshold of getting everything her mother Marion was denied, and Marion cannot bear it - what she does next has terrible and heart-breaking consequences for the whole family.

Janet Ellis writes of the exquisite pain of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the complexity of family and a mother-daughter relationship that is as memorable as it is utterly believable.

'ELLIS WRITES BEAUTIFULLY' DAILY MAIL
'AN EMOTIONAL EPIC' GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
'AFFECTING, ENGAGING AND READABLE' OBSERVER
'A TALE OF SILENCES, SECRETS AND MISUNDERSTANDINGS' MAIL ON SUNDAY
'ENGROSSING' MIRROR

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Praise for How It Was: the immersive, compelling new novel from the author of The Butcher's Hook

  • Immersive, amazing, remarkable . . . It's an excellent book and Janet is a hugely gifted writer . . . I couldn't put it down. - Marian Keyes

  • Ellis has a knack for depicting the way in which families struggle to communicate . . . engaging and readable - Observer

  • An atmospheric, clever novel, which will get under your skin - Red

  • Ellis writes beautifully, with a great eye for detail. - Daily Mail

  • A tale of silences, secrets and misunderstandings, of marital infidelities and of paths not taken . . . A fluent, convincing depiction of the poignant intricacies of family life - Mail on Sunday

  • An emotional epic. The former TV presenter's debut novel, The Butcher's Hook, was great, and this second one is also terrific, particularly in the way she writes about mother-daughter relationships. - Good Housekeeping

  • Janet Ellis writes with tenderness and wisdom about how you can lose a child while they are still under your roof - and how a child long-lost will never leave you. I veered between laughter and a lump in the throat, often on the same page. This book will sneak up behind you and break your heart. - Erin Kelly, author of HE SAID/SHE SAID

  • Explores the human condition with pin-sharp precision, so accurate it hurts. It's a raw read, complex and compelling in its structure, with emotions laid bare. Written with empathy and integrity. - Lynne Parker

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Book Trailer | The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis

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Book Trailer | The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis

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Janet Ellis

Actress, presenter and author Janet Ellis trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Best known for presenting Blue Peter, she stars in numerous radio and TV programmes and in 2018 appeared at the Edinburgh Festival. In 2016 Janet was awarded an MBE for services to charities and theatre.

A graduate of the Curtis Brown creative writing course, her debut novel, The Butcher's Hook, was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize.

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