London, 1953, Coronation year - but not the Coronation of Elizabeth II.
Thirteen years have passed since a Grand Alliance between Great Britain and Germany was formalised. George VI and his family have vanished, and Edward VIII rules as king. Yet, in practice, all power is vested in Alfred Rosenberg, Britain's Protector. The role and status of women is Rosenberg's particular interest.
Rose Ransom belongs to the elite caste of women and works at the Ministry of Culture, rewriting literature to correct the views of the past. But now she has been given a special task.
Outbreaks of insurgency have been seen across the country: graffiti daubed on public buildings. Disturbingly, the graffiti is made up of lines from forbidden works, subversive words from the voices of women. Suspicion has fallen on Widowland, the run-down slums where childless women over 50 have been banished. These women are known to be mutinous, for they have nothing to lose.
Before the Leader arrives for the Coronation ceremony of King Edward and Queen Wallis, Rose must infiltrate Widowland to find the source of this rebellion and ensure that it is quashed.
Nominated for the 2023 Prometheus Award
Nominated for the 2023 Philip K Dick Award
C.J Carey’s reimagining of a Vichy-style Britain is clever and steeped in historical insight
The Times, Book of the Month
For fans of dystopian stories (think Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman) this one's a must-read
Hugely atmospheric, rich in the way it evokes an austerity Britain that's both familiar and, because of the possibility of a grim fate for saying or doing the wrong thing, chilling.
Carey's meticulously-constructed alternative Britain in the 1950s is a huge imaginative feat
Chilling and challenging in equal measure
Woman & Home
A "what if?" dystopian novel which will send shivers down your spine
A heady mixture: part romantic thriller, partly a book about the power of literature, an alternative history and, overall, a chilling piece of dystopian fiction
'It’s the sort of novel you can’t get out of your head. Whatever else I’m doing, I can’t wait to get back to it, and I’ve already got the sequel by my bed. This would be a brilliant film, I can't believe it won't be.'
Jane Garvey, i Newspaper