Toby Lloyd


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Hodder & Stoughton
22 February 2024
ISBN: 9781399724616
320 pages

From the publisher

'Intriguing, propulsive and profoundly disturbing, this is a fearless look into the dark heart of family politics from a naturally gifted storyteller'

'A suspenseful debut novel that propels the reader deep into the heart of an idiosyncratic family'

'Extraordinary. . . A tremendous debut from a strikingly talented new writer'
KIRKUS (starred review)

'Gripping and powerful . . . Fans of Isaac Bashevis Singer and Stephen King alike will thrill to this superb modern folk tale'
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)

'In this debut that explores identity, faith, and folklore . . . the dynamics are acutely observed, the characters vividly realised, and the escalating drama has the hypnotic, chilling effect of a horror film'
BOOKSELLER (Editor's Choice)

Hannah and Eric are devout Jews living in North London with their three children and Eric's father Yosef, a Holocaust survivor. Both intellectually gifted and deeply unconventional, the Rosenthals believe in the literal truth of the Old Testament and in the presence of God (and evil) in daily life.

As Hannah prepares to publish a sensationalist account of Yosef's years in war-torn Europe - unearthing a terrible secret from his time in the camps- Elsie, her perfect daughter, starts to come undone. And then, in the wake of Yosef's death, she disappears. When she returns, just as mysteriously as she left, she is altered in disturbing ways.

Witnessing the complete transformation of her daughter, Hannah begins to suspect that Elsie has delved too deep into the labyrinths of Jewish mysticism and got lost among shadows. But for Elsie's brother Tovyah, a brilliant but reclusive student at Oxford, the truth is much simpler: his sister is the product of a dysfunctional family, obsessed with empty rituals and unbridled ambition.

But who is right? And how can they stop the darkness from engulfing Elsie forever?