Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, 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 of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.
Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia's book is based. She has now become Olivia's unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.The Night Visitor is a compelling exploration of ambition, morality and deception that asks the question: how far would you go to save your reputation?
The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins is published today, 4 May 2017 in hardback by Quercus Book, I'm delighted to host the Blog Tour here on Random Things today.
When I turned the final page of The Night Visitor, my head was spinning. Not because I was confused or perplexed, but because I realised that I'd been holding my breath throughout the final pages. Yes, it is one of those books. You know the type, the one where you say 'just one more chapter' before you go to bed, and then you look up and it's the early hours, and still you want to carry on reading.
The Night Visitor is completely character led, and oh what compelling, compulsive, often repulsive characters they are. Olivia and Vivian; two women who appear to have nothing in common, who live completely opposite lives, but who become so finely interwoven. Each one with their own determinations and obsessions that will ultimately lead to their own destruction.
Lucy Atkins has produced a brilliantly clever story. The plot is intriguing and compulsive, moving from London, to Sussex, to France. She is an incredibly talented author who has clearly researched every aspect so well, from the life of the dung beetle, to the history of women in medicine.
I love the way the title can relate to so many aspects of this story; it could be the gruesome figure that haunts Vivian's dreams, it could be the very real person who visited the priest's tower and wrecked havoc on the family.
Frightening, uncomfortable, shocking; The Night Visitor is one of the best books that I've read this year, and 2017 so far has been a very very good book year! Beautifully written, carefully constructed characters that send a chill down the spine, and wonderfully structured through different points of view. Twisted, yet genius. I'm going to be thinking about this one for a long time!
My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.
Lucy Atkins is an award-winning feature journalist and author, as well as a Sunday Times book critic. She has written for many newspapers, including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, and the Telegraph, as well as magazines such as Psychologies, Red, Woman and Home and Grazia.
She lives in Oxford.
Find out more at www.lucyatkins.com