‘If we take his life,’ she said, ‘we had best do it quickly.’
‘Madam,’ I said, ‘there is no “if”.’
I’m happy to say that my next book, The Vanishing, will be out in January 2017. Set in 1814-1815, it tells the story of Annaleigh, a foundling, who, in attempting to lead an independent life, finds herself drawn into a story of darkness and betrayal.
A large part of the book is set in Yorkshire, a place which has always intrigued me – not least because of my deep-rooted affection for the Brontë sisters’ work. Being a fan, and having re-read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights many times over the years, I felt I knew something of the landscape. But it was a second-hand, imaginary knowledge, gleaned from reading and dreaming; in reality, I hadn’t been there since I was a very small child, on a family holiday of which I retain only fragments of memory. So in 2014, and again in 2015, I went back to Yorkshire, not the Yorkshire of my imagination, but the real place; I discovered I loved it; and its epic, brutal beauty shaped The Vanishing.
On the Yorkshire Moors, in an isolated spot carved out of the barren landscape, lies White Windows, a house of shadows and secrets. Here lives Marcus Twentyman, a hard-drinking but sensitive man, and his sister, the brisk widow, Hester.
When Annaleigh, a foundling who has fled her home in London, finds herself at the remote house, in service to the Twentymans, she discovers all is not as it seems.
Isolated and lonely, Annaleigh is increasingly drawn to her master. And as their relationship intensifies, she soon realises that her movements are being controlled and her life is no longer her own. Slowly she is drawn into a web of intrigue and darkness, and soon she must face her fears if she is to save herself.
The Vanishing will be published by Simon and Schuster on 12 January 2017.