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Before taking up writing Essie Fox worked as an illustrator – designing greetings cards and wrap, and decorative ceramics. She is the creator of The Virtual Victorian www.virtualvictorian.blogspot.com a wonderful guide through the Victorian world. Her debut novel The Somnambulist was selected as a Channel 4 Book Club choice in January 2012 and was shortlisted in the New Writer of the Year category of the 2012 NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS. Essie Fox divides her time between Windsor and Bow in the East End of London.
Click here to read a Q&A with Essie Fox about Elijah's Mermaid.
Author photo © Graham Keuteniu
During the oppressive heat wave of 1976 a young journalist, Ed Peters, finds an Edwardian photograph in a junk shop in the seaside town of Brightland. It shows an alluring, dark-haired girl, an actress whose name was Leda Grey. Enchanted by the image, Ed learns Leda Grey is still living - now a recluse in a decaying cliff-top house she once shared with a man named Charles Beauvois, a director of early silent film. As Beauvois's muse and lover, Leda often starred in scenes where stage magic and trick photography were used to astonishing effect. But, while playing a cursed Egyptian queen, the fantasies captured on celluloid were echoed in reality, leaving Leda abandoned and alone for more than half a century - until the secrets of her past result in a shocking climax, more haunting than any to be in found in the silent films of Charles Beauvois.
A romantic lush Victorian gothic novel, complex in scope and concept but glorious in execution. Alice, whose mother died not long after she was born, has been raised in India, so when her father decides it’s time to return to Britain, it’s a huge upheaval. She’s left in the care of her aunt, Mercy, who unbeknownst to her father dabbles in the occult. At Mercy’s home in Windsor she’s forced to take part in sham séances, till she starts to have strange visions of her own and meets the charismatic and enigmatic Lucian Tilsbury who is obsessed with the Koh-i-Noor diamond and reminds Alice of all that she loved of India. Tilsbury wants to steal the diamond from Queen Victoria who is desperately mourning Prince Albert’s death. Then Alice’s aunt is called to Windsor Castle to conduct a séance and Alice finds herself in the presence of the diamond itself...
December 2013 Book of the Month. A beguiling, dark and sensual Victorian novel of theft and obsession from the author of The Somnambulist and Elijah’s Mermaid. The fates of an orphan, a Maharajah, a Mystic and a widowed Queen are drawn together in a plot to steal the Koh-i-Noor diamond. This well written Victorian historical fiction is perfect for fans of Sarah Waters and Tracy Chevalier.
May 2013 Book of the Month. A panoply of characters bring Victorian London’s polarised society vividly to life. The lives of two orphans brought up by their grandfather and a baby found in the Thames become dangerously bound together. This is the gloriously gothic follow up to The Somnambulist. Click here to read a Q&A with Essie Fox about this book. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Elijah's Mermaid a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'Elijah's Mermaid is a book that is totally different...What a marvellous eye-opener and a pure piece of escapism!' - Sallyann Spittle. Scroll down to read more reviews.
November 2012 eBook of the Month. A panoply of characters bring Victorian London’s polarised society vividly to life. The lives of two orphans brought up by their grandfather and a baby found in the Thames become dangerously bound together. This is the gloriously gothic follow up to The Somnambulist. Click here to read a Q&A with Essie Fox about this book.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards 'New Writer of the Year' 2012. Featured on The TV Book Club on More4 on 12 February 2012. This debut novelist's coming of age story uses evocative language to transport you to late 19th century Victorian England where lost love, grief, dark secrets and hidden passions take hold of the life of seventeen year old Phoebe Turner. It's well researched and a good page turner.