The Butcher’s Hook

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What to expect

***LONGLISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE 2016***

‘KNOWS HOW TO KEEP HER AUDIENCE HOOKED’ The Times
‘A MASTERFUL STORYTELLER’ Clare Mackintosh
‘DARK, WEIRD AND GLORIOUSLY FEMINIST’ Elle

Georgian London, in the summer of 1763.
At nineteen, Anne Jaccob, the elder daughter of well-to-do parents, meets Fub the butcher’s apprentice and is awakened to the possibilities of joy and passion.
Anne lives a sheltered life: her home is a miserable place and her parents have already chosen a more suitable husband for her than Fub.
But Anne is an unusual young woman and is determined to pursue her own happiness in her own way…
…even if that means getting a little blood on her hands.

‘A SHARP EYE AND A SHARPER WIT’ Guardian
‘A SPIRITED, DARK DEBUT’ Woman & Home
‘STRANGE, DARK AND UTTERLY MESMERIC’ Hannah Kent

*And Janet Ellis’s second, darkly compelling novel, How It Was, is out now*

Critics Review

  • Janet Ellis’s appealing debut novel is like a cross between Fanny Burney’s Evelina and US crime drama DexterEllis excels at the poetics of flesh. She writes with a keen eye for the texture of skin and the meat beneath. She vividly describes the slaughter of a calf, the wet thwack of the knife, the cleaving of muscle from bone, the hot rush of blood. Anne, we come to realise, is something of a sociopath. This is where The Butcher’s Hook gets really interesting … There’s a wit and a richness to the writing, a nice way with pastiche, and a real feel for the macabre. And, in Anne, she has created an engaging and at times daringly amoral heroine.

    Observer (Paperback of the Week)
  • Ellis has a public personality of great charm, and a good deal of this gets into her writing… she revels in the historical details, has a grasp of pace and knows how to keep her audience hooked

    The Times
  • The Butcher’s Hook doesn’t read like a first novel – it is a high-finish performance. Its heroine is an 18th-century teenage girl, who starts demurely although her sex drive turns out to be anything but demure. You need to be braced for violence to rival any Jacobean tragedy: The Butcher’s Hook will hook you.

    Observer (New Faces of Fiction)
  • This author remains one to watch. She has a sharp eye and a sharper wit. More importantly still, she possesses a subtle and compassionate understanding of the human heart

    Guardian
  • A strange, unsettling story

    The Sunday Times
  • This is a dark, weird, gloriously feminist story of a girl in 1763 pushing against the limits of her role and a dark love story.

    Elle UK (Best New Books for 2016)

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