Maggie lives a life of careful routines and measured pleasures. But everything changes when, walking through Gatwick a few days shy of her 58th birthday, a young woman approaches her and whispers a single word: "help". Maggie responds and in that moment saves a stranger, earning Anja her freedom and ensuring the arrest of a brutal trafficker.
But when the story gets picked up by the papers, Margaret is panicked by the publicity as well as the strange phone calls she begins to receive. Meanwhile Anja makes contact. She wants to thank her rescuer but quickly insinuates herself into Maggie’s life. As her relationship with Anja intensifies, Maggie begins to reveal, in increments, what it is she has been hiding.
"This stunningly accomplished first novel whips along like a thriller, and presents the reader with one more dilemma after another.... A must for the intelligent book group." (Kate Saunders, The Times)
"Involving and original...Hourston resolutely avoids the predictable, skilfully throwing the reader off-balance and creating a compelling sense of unease that shimmers unsettlingly beneath the ordinary lives she explores...a strikingly promising debut. Caustically perceptive, wryly funny, occasionally devastatingly tender, Maggie Benson is a terrific protagonist; like all the most satisfactory characters in fiction, she is both infuriatingly contradictory and entirely plausible." (Guardian)
"Unsettling...with a very persuasive thread of menace." (Observer)
"With unflinching coolness and a voice vice-grip strong, you have no choice but to listen to Maggie as she tells her story." (Sainsbury's Magazine)
"An unsettling but powerful story about family breakdown and urban loneliness." (Sunday Mirror)
"Hourston is adept at laying false trails." (Mail on Sunday)
"Extremely accomplished.... This is Hourston's first novel, and she has been rightly listed among the crop of debut novelists destined to make a splash this year." (Daily Mail)
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Slow and uninspiring