Get a sneak preview of Beth Underdown’s brand-new gothic thriller, The Key In The Lock, out with Penguin at the end of January. Described as a page-turner, the second book from the award-winning author of The Witchfinder’s Sister is a captivating story of burning secrets and buried shame, and of the loyalty and love that rises from the ashes.
Listed as one to watch in The Observer‘s New Faces of Fiction 2017 feature, Beth Underdown is a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing.
Here’s the blurb: “I still dream, every night, of Polneath on fire. Smoke unravelling from an upper window, and the terrace bathed in a hectic orange light . . . Now I see that the decision I made at Polneath was the only decision of my life. Everything marred in that one dark minute. By day, Ivy Boscawen mourns the loss of her son Tim in the Great War. But by night she mourns another boy – one whose death decades ago haunts her still. For Ivy is sure that there is more to what happened all those years ago: the fire at the Great House, and the terrible events that came after. A truth she must uncover, if she is ever to be free. But once you open a door to the past, can you ever truly close it again?”
It all sounds mysteriously reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, when Manderley (spoiler alert) burns to the ground, and Patrick Gale and others pick up on this in their cover quotes. Sara Collins, author of gothic romance The Confessions Of Frannie Langton, says The Key In The Lock is: “Deliciously intriguing from the very first sentence, with shades of du Maurier and Dunmore. I was hooked by this exquisitely written tale of secrets and lies.” Water Shall Refuse Them author Lucie McKnight Hardy, recently spotted in Blackwells herself launching her latest from Dead Ink, Dead Relatives, calls it: “Captivating and elegant and undoubtedly a future classic.”
Listed as one to watch in The Observer‘s New Faces of Fiction 2017 feature, Beth Underdown is a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing, having completed an MA in Creative Writing there. Her debut novel, The Witchfinder’s Sister, tells of the witch-hunts orchestrated by Matthew Hopkins in seventeenth-century Essex and was published by Penguin Random House in 2017. A Richard & Judy bestseller, it was described as “vivid and terrifying” by Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl On The Train. Last year it was adapted for the stage by Vickie Donoghue at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. When not lecturing, Beth spends her time writing, and she previously worked as a cookbook editor and a content manager for an examinations board.
At this event, Beth will be reading from her new novel and chatting about it with fellow writer Kate Feld, after which there will be a book signing. Kate Feld writes short fiction, essays, poetry and work that sits between forms. Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies including The Letters Page, The Stinging Fly, The Lonely Crowd and Hotel. She lectures in journalism at The University of Salford, hosts writing events and leads workshops on creative writing, and she is the founding director of creative nonfiction project The Real Story. Her latest project is Raw Milk.
This event is hosted by Blackwell’s bookshop. See our guide to Bookshops in Manchester for a round-up.