"A fascinating portrayal of womanhood in Victorian England that is also a nail-biting thriller that will keep readers riveted until the very last page." -Booklist
Perfect for fans of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace and Hannah Kent's Burial Rites, this taut psychological thriller offers a delicious take on deviant and defiant Victorian women in a time when marriage itself was its own prison.
England, 1873. Clara Blackstone has just been released after one year in a private asylum for the insane. Clara has two goals: to reunite with her husband, Henry, and to never-ever-return to the asylum. As she enters Durham, Clara finds her carriage surrounded by a mob gathered to witness the imprisonment of Mary Ann Cotton-England's first female serial killer-accused of poisoning nearly twenty people, including her husbands and children.
Clara soon finds the oppressive confinement of her marriage no less terrifying than the white-tiled walls of Hoxton. And as she grows increasingly suspicious of Henry's intentions, her fascination with Cotton grows. Soon, Cotton is not just a notorious figure from the headlines, but an unlikely confidante, mentor-and perhaps accomplice-in Clara's struggle to protect her money, her freedom and her life.