The Ophelia Girls
‘An immersive, intoxicating summer read with the long-lasting feel of a classic’ – Molly Aitken, author of The Island Child
‘A potent blend of art, beauty, awakening desire and mortality that seduces the reader’ – Daily Mail
Summer, 1973. Teenage Ruth and her four friends spend the scorching summer days in the river, recreating tableaus of the drowning Ophelia and other tragic heroines. But as autumn draws nearer, real tragedy has found them.
Summer, 1997. Ruth returns to her childhood home with her husband and three children, including her eldest daughter seventeen-year-old Maeve. However when Stuart, an old family friend comes to stay, the uneasy relationship between mother and daughter is pushed to its limit. For Stuart’s arrival is a reminder of a death in Ruth’s past, while Maeve is feeling more alive than ever . . .
As the heat of the summer burns, how long can the family go before long-held secrets threaten to burst their banks and drown them all?
Set between two fateful summers, Jane Healey’s The Ophelia Girls is a visceral, heady exploration of illicit desire, infatuation and the perils and power of being a young woman.
‘A vivid, sensuous novel . . . I can’t recommend it enough’ – Anna Bailey, bestselling author of Tall Bones
This is a potent, mesmerising portrait of girlhood desire, betrayal, beauty and death, sensuously written and passionately told -- Emma Stonex, author of The Lamplighters A knowingly put together page-turner; a potent blend of art, beauty, awakening desire and mortality that seduces the reader as much as the cast * Daily Mail * This is a vivid, sensuous novel that captures the feelings of passion and devastation of girls on the brink of womanhood and life itself, and I can't recommend it enough -- Anna Bailey, bestselling author of Tall Bones A bruising and beautiful novel about girlhood and desire. Set over two heady summers, The Ophelia Girls perfectly captures the power and vulnerability of being a teenage girl. Within its flower-strewn pages, girls float carelessly down rivers and fall in love with devastating consequences. It's an immersive and intoxicating summer read with the long-lasting feel of a classic. I was captivated by it -- Molly Aitken, author of The Island Child Set over the course of two stifling British summers, The Ophelia Girls is a dreamy exploration of the interior life of teenage girls and the tangled relationship between mothers and daughters. In her hypnotic prose Jane Healey captures the slipperiness of the adolescence experience, the thirst young women have for independence, and the sometimes perilous ways they attempt to define themselves. A siren song of a novel, The Ophelia Girls seduces as much as it disturbs -- Ellie Eaton, author of The Divines The Ophelia Girls is a novel saturated with beauty, menace, longing, secrets -- and with passions deep enough to drown in. It's a sinister, suspenseful page-turner that gripped me tightly and still hasn't fully let go -- Clare Beams, author of The Illness Lesson I absolutely adored this exquisite novel. It is dark and sultry and beautiful and terrible. All the good stuff. The characters get tangled in so many complex strands of love, secrecy and obsession. And it perfectly captures the brilliance and terror of being a teenage girl -- Hazel Barkworth, author of Heatstroke A compelling story of teenage innocence and infatuation, blended with the illicit desires and murky intentions of adults * Woman's Weekly * This novel has a sinewy, enchanting style that draws us into the reverie-like world of the river and its dangers and, like the characters it has so bewitched, never lets us go: it's powerful stuff * The Big Issue * Deliciously atmospheric and brilliantly constructed, The Ophelia Girls tugs at the reader from the very first page until its satisfying finish. Engrossing and rich in imagery, Jane Healey writes the way dreams feel. I loved it -- Elissa R. Sloan, author of The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes Sensual and lush, The Ophelia Girls captures the dangerous power of approaching the world with an artist's eye, of seeing others and being truly seen in turn. Jane Healey's prose holds the haunting beauty of pre-Raphaelite paintings, paired with a page-turning exploration of girlhood, secrets, desire, and art -- Sara Flannery Murphy, author of The Possessions
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