Paraic O’Donnell - The House on Vesper Sands - Orion Publishing Group

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  • Hardback
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    • ISBN:9781474600392
    • Publication date:18 Oct 2018
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    • ISBN:9781474600415
    • Publication date:18 Oct 2018

The House on Vesper Sands

By Paraic O’Donnell

  • Paperback
  • £8.99

For fans of The Essex Serpent and The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock - a 'tremendously good' (Observer) story of cops and columnists, wickedness and love, snow and Spiriters in Victorian London.


'Tremendously good' Observer
'The most vivid and compelling portrait of late Victorian London since The Crimson Petal and the White' Sarah Perry
'Part Wilkie Collins, part Conan Doyle' Guardian
'Huge fun' Daily Mail
'Has everything you could want in a novel' Stylist
'Dickens is whirling enviously in his grave ... Read by a fire on a cold winter evening' Irish Times

'Ladies and gentlemen, the darkness is complete.'

It is the winter of 1893, and in London the snow is falling.

It is falling as Gideon Bliss seeks shelter in a Soho church, where he finds Angie Tatton lying before the altar. His one-time love is at death's door, murmuring about brightness and black air, and about those she calls the Spiriters. In the morning she is gone.

The snow is falling as a seamstress climbs onto a ledge above Mayfair, a mysterious message stitched into her own skin. It is falling as she steadies herself and closes her eyes.

It is falling, too, as her employer, Lord Strythe, vanishes into the night, watched by Octavia Hillingdon, a restless society columnist who longs to uncover a story of real importance.

She and Gideon will soon be drawn into the same mystery, each desperate to save Angie and find out the truth about Lord Strythe. Their paths will cross as the darkness gathers, and will lead them at last to what lies hidden at the house on Vesper Sands.


'Like the love child of Dickens and Conan Doyle' Liz Nugent
'This novel is an absolute banger' Jon McGregor
'An utter joy' Joanna Cannon '

Biographical Notes

Paraic O'Donnell is a writer of fiction, poetry and criticism. His first novel, THE MAKER OF SWANS, was named the Amazon Rising Stars Debut of the Month for February 2016 and was shortlisted for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards in the Newcomer of the Year category. He lives in Wicklow, Ireland with his wife and two children.

http://paraicodonnell.com | @paraicodonnell

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781474601047
  • Publication date: 02 May 2019
  • Page count: 384
  • Imprint: W&N
A gloriously unorthodox confection, part Wilkie Collins, part Conan Doyle, with a generous handful of police procedural and a splash of Stella Gibbons's Cold Comfort Farm. Both disquietingly eerie and impossible to read without laughing out loud ... A cracking good read. — Guardian
The House on Vesper Sands is tremendously good - and tremendously good fun — Observer
The most vivid and compelling portrait of late Victorian London since The Crimson Petal and the White — Sarah Perry, author of THE ESSEX SERPENT
Clever and funny and exquisitely disturbing, an utter joy — Joanna Cannon
Charles Dickens is whirling enviously in his grave ... Brilliantly written, compelling and satisfying in so many ways. It demands to be read by a fire on a cold winter evening (but make sure the doors are locked before you begin). I only wish it had been twice as long. — Irish Times
Witty, immersive, chock full of atmosphere and setting (hello Victorian London), three-dimensional characters, an addictive plot and snappy dialogue, The House On Vesper Sands has everything you want it in a novel. If you're stuck for a book to buy this Christmas, then this could well be it. — Stylist
Like the love child of Dickens and Conan Doyle, but funnier than both — Liz Nugent, author of LYING IN WAIT
I'm not completely sure what the word 'rollicking' means, but I can personally guarantee that The House on Vesper Sands is a rollicking good read. For a novel about grief, estrangement, and the literal stealing of vulnerable young women's souls, this book is a lot more fun than it has any right to be. Paraic O'Donnell's sheer love of his characters is exuberant and infectious; the dialogue crackles with verve and wit, and the plotting is as intricately satisfying as a heavy pocket watch. The setting may be Victorian , but in modern parlance this novel is an absolute banger — Jon McGregor, author of RESERVOIR 13
A hugely entertaining read, spry of pace, funny, beautifully descriptive and satisfyingly sinister. A perfect book to read by winter candlelight — Sunday Express
A compelling, darkly funny portrait of late Victorian London, and focuses on crimes with a supernatural flavour — Observer, '50 Biggest Books of Autumn 2018'
An immersive and darkly entertaining story of love, loss and lies set in a vividly realised Victorian London — iNews, 'Best 19 Books for Autumn 2018'
A mash-up of Victoria Gothic and fantasy, this is huge fun — Daily Mail
Not since Sarah Waters has a modern novelist played with Victorian language and mores with such wit and skill ... This mastery of voice wouldn't be half as satisfying, of course, if the story were not a properly ripping yarn ... Liz Nugent compares The House on Vesper Sands to Dickens and Conan Doyle, but the novel's depiction of young women who are both physically and psychologically tormented by shadowy male forces in the 1890s suggests one of the most iconic books of that decade, Bram Stoker's Dracula. The appealing characters, however, are more complex than Stoker's, and there's a real humanity to the novel that will leave the reader hoping that O'Donnell returns to the gaslit streets of fin de siècle London for more sinister, beautifully told stories. — Sunday Business Post
O'Donnell's talent truly shines ... O'Donnell's style can be likened to Charles Dickens on steroids and The House on Vesper Sands sits comfortably with the likes of Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent or Francis Spufford's Golden Hill as recent period-set page turners. Like those two, a gorgeous prose elevates this ... An expertly crafted and uproariously entertaining novel, spun by a writer approaching his peak — Irish Examiner
Engrossing ... The narrative canters from high-society soirees to East End tenements, infused with menace both earthly and supernatural — Irish Mail on Sunday
A rollocking romp through the dark alleys and gaslit streets of Victorian London ... Spine-tinglingly spooky with a touch of Dickens and also properly funny, this is the perfect Halloween read — Red magazine
Mysterious, unsettling and eerily lovely ... Perfect for fans of The Wicked Cometh and The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock. I adored it — Melinda Salisbury, author of THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER
The House on Vesper Sands had everything - elegance, humour and shady supernatural foreboding, all wrapped up in a Victorian detective novel — Irish Independe
An atmospheric, moving, creepy and very funny story with one of the great fictional detectives — Linda Grant, author of THE DARK CIRCLE
Reading this terrific Victorian-set mystery was the most fun I've had in ages. It unfolds so thrillingly and cleverly. Do not miss — The Bookseller, Editor’s Choice
I am giddy with love for The House on Vesper Sands. It is spooky and atmospheric and superbly drawn, absolutely jammed with brilliant characters and so funny — Jenny Landreth, author of SWELL
A lush, shape-shifting Victorian mystery, full of ghostliness, humour and chiaroscuro with satisfying detective and romance flavours added to the batter — Irish Independent
Some of the funniest lines of dialogue I've read in ages ... I liked Vesper Sands a lot. It's a clever Gothic mystery, evocative and meticulously faithful to its time and setting — Sunday Independent
A vivid and enjoyable romp — Heat Magazine
Like George Eliot, Paraic O'Donnell takes the bombastic and the sincere and throws them together for comic contrast; like Dickens, he does it in deliciously dark Victorian style. The House on Vesper Sands is an eerie, raucous novel, packed with pathos and wit. Read it! — Nuala O'Connor, author of BECOMING BELLE
O'Donnell writes wittily and well — SUNDAY TIMES
Moves effortlessly as the story needs between pacy dialogue, gripping drama and an elegiac, other-worldly mournfulness...creates a deeply satisfying world, where tone and language and character combine to provide a rich, credible texture. A comic delight — Associated Press
The House on Vesper Sands is a rare combination of chilling, delicate and funny — Lissa Evans
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