Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
A deeply unsettling book, as much for its curious view of rural English everyday life as for its heroine, whose past childhood experience and present psychosis create an uncomfortable fantasy world of magic and malevolent spirits.
Billingsley seems to base her novel in a British marsh/fenland setting, which is pitched somewhere between the worlds of the Celtic/medieval, a supernatural nineteenth-century (Brontë/Conan-Doyle) moorland, and the Salem witches.
Unfortunately it is the Salem influence which predominates, with marshes routinely being described as 'swamp', and a lack of real understanding or competent description of anything east of the Atlantic.
Beneath this is a promising portrayal of an adolescent mind which has been brainwashed by controlling adults into believing that its owner is evil.