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The Child's Child

Barbara Vine: The Child's Child (UK 2014)

From the Publisher:
The Child's Child is the new crime novel by bestselling, prize- winning author Barbara Vine
What sort of betrayal would drive a brother and sister apart?
When Grace and her brother Andrew inherit their grandmother's house in Hampstead, they decide to move in together. It seems the obvious thing to do: they've always got on well, the house is large enough to split down the middle, and neither of them likes partying or loud music. There's one thing they've forgotten though: what if one of them wants to bring a lover into the house? When Andrew's partner James moves in, it alters the balance - with almost fatal consequences.

Barbara Vine's is the pen-name of Ruth Rendell, and The Child's Child is the first book she has published under that name since The Birthday Present in 2008. It's an intriguing examination of betrayal in families, and of those two once-unmentionable subjects, illegitimacy and homosexuality.

A taut, thrilling read, it will be enjoyed by readers of P.D. James and Ian Rankin.

Barbara Vine: The Child's Child. A brother, a sister and a secret. Could you live a lie, to protect the one you love? Penguin, ISBN 9780241963579 (February, 2014), 279 p., £7.99.

 

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The Child's Child

Barbara Vine: The Child's Child (USA 2013)

From the Publisher:
When their grandmother dies, adult siblings Grace and Andrew Easton inherit her sprawling London home. Rather than sell it, they move in together, splitting the numerous bedrooms and studies. The arrangement is unusual, but ideal for the affectionate pair -- until the day Andrew brings home a new boyfriend, a devilishly handsome novelist named James. When he and Andrew witness their friend's murder outside a London nightclub, James begins to unravel, and what happens next changes the lives of everyone in the house.

As turmoil sets in, Grace escapes into reading a manuscript -- a long-lost novel from 1951 called The Child's Child -- never published because of its taboo subject matter. The book is the story of two siblings born a few years after World War One. This brother and sister, John and Maud, mirror the present-day Andrew and Grace: a homosexual brother and a sister carrying an illegitimate child.

The Child's Child is a brilliantly constructed novel-within-a-novel about family, betrayal, and disgrace.

Barbara Vine: The Child's Child. A Novel. Scribner's, ISBN 9781476704272 (October, 2013), 302 p., $16.00, eBook $11.66.

 

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The Child's Child

Barbara Vine: The Child's Child (UK 2013)

From the Publisher:
When Grace and her brother Andrew inherit their grandmother's house in Hampstead, they decide to move in together. It seems the obvious thing to do: they've always got on well, the house is large enough to split down the middle, and neither of them likes partying or loud music. There's one thing they've forgotten though: what if one of them wants to bring a lover into the house? When Andrew's partner James moves in, it alters the balance - with almost fatal consequences.

Grace tries to concentrate on writing her thesis, on illegitimacy in English fiction. During the day she ponders the fate of Hardy's Tess and the unfortunate Hetty Sorrell. So she's happy to oblige a friend when he asks her to read an unpublished manuscript about a young unmarried mother in Devon between the wars. Except the book begins to seem remarkably, and uncomfortably, close to home.

Barbara Vine's new novel, her first since The Birthday Present in 2008, is an intriguing examination of betrayal in a family, and of those two once-unmentionable subjects, illegitimacy and homosexuality. Set in London and in Devon now and more than half a century ago, it shows vividly how society's attitudes and mores have changed in many respects - yet stubbornly remain the same in others.

Barbara Vine: The Child's Child. Viking, ISBN 9780670922208 (March, 2013), 279 p., £18.99.

 

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The Child's Child

Barbara Vine: The Child's Child (USA 2012)

From the Publisher:
From three-time Edgar Award-winning mystery writer Ruth Rendell, writing here under her Barbara Vine pseudonym, an ingenious novel-within-a-novel about brothers and sisters and the violence lurking behind our society's taboos.

When their grandmother dies, Grace and Andrew Easton inherit her sprawling, book-filled London home, Dinmont House. Rather than sell it, the adult siblings move in together, splitting the numerous bedrooms and studies. The arrangement is unusual, but ideal for the affectionate pair -- until the day Andrew brings home a new boyfriend. A devilishly handsome novelist, James Derain resembles Cary Grant, but his strident comments about Grace's doctoral thesis soon puncture the house's idyllic atmosphere. When he and Andrew witness their friend's murder outside a London nightclub, James begins to unravel, and what happens next will change the lives of everyone in the house. Just as turmoil sets in at Dinmont House, Grace escapes into reading a manuscript -- a long-lost novel from 1951 called The Child's Child -- never published because of its frank depictions of an unwed mother and a homosexual relationship. The book is the story of two siblings born a few years after World War One. This brother and sister, John and Maud, mirror the present-day Andrew and Grace: a homosexual brother and a sister carrying an illegitimate child. Acts of violence and sex will reverberate through their stories.

The Child's Child is an enormously clever, brilliantly constructed novel-within-a-novel about family, betrayal, and disgrace. A master of psychological suspense, Ruth Rendell, in her newest work under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, takes us where violence and social taboos collide. She shows how society's treatment of those it once considered undesirable has changed -- and how sometimes it hasn't.

Barbara Vine: The Child's Child. A Novel. Scribners, ISBN 9781451694895 (December, 2012), 302 p., $26.00.

 

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