Follow the author
The Beloved Girls: The new Richard & Judy Book Club Choice with an OMG twist in the tail Hardcover – 19 Aug. 2021
- Choose from over 20,000 locations across the UK
- FREE unlimited deliveries at no additional cost for all customers
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Enhance your purchase
'A gorgeous epic . . . Wholly absorbing. I adored it' MARIAN KEYES
'This sweeping, absorbing story is a treat' ADELE PARKS
'A compelling story of female friendship, dark secrets and family bonds that pulls you in and won't let go' ROSANNA LEY
'If you love atmospheric stories about old houses, families and secrets, this is for you' GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
'A gorgeous story to get immersed in' Prima
BY SUMMER'S END, THERE WILL BE ONLY ONE . . .
'It's a funny old house. They have this ceremony every summer . . . There's an old chapel, in the grounds of the house. Half-derelict. The Hunters keep bees in there. Every year, on the same day, the family processes to the chapel. They open the combs, taste the honey. Take it back to the house. Half for them -' my father winced, as though he had bitten down on a sore tooth. 'And half for us.'
Catherine, a successful barrister, vanishes from a train station on the eve of her anniversary. Is it because she saw a figure - someone she believed long dead? Or was it a shadow cast by her troubled, fractured mind?
The answer lies buried in the past.
It lies in the events of the hot, seismic summer of 1989, at Vanes - a mysterious West Country manor house - where a young girl, Jane Lestrange, arrives to stay with the gilded, grand Hunter family, and where a devastating tragedy will unfold. Over the summer, as an ancient family ritual looms closer, Janey falls for each member of the family in turn. And she and Kitty, the eldest daughter of the house, will forge a bond that decades later, is still shaping the present . . .
'We need the bees to survive, and they need us to survive. Once you understand that, you understand the history of Vanes, you understand our family.'
'Bewitching, beguiling and utterly beautiful, The Beloved Girls will pull you into their mysterious and enchanted world and never let you go. With a cast of compelling characters and a labyrinthine plot, it's a page-turner of the most luxurious kind - a real escape.' VERONICA HENRY
Compelling, immersive and luxurious, THE BELOVED GIRLS is the outstanding new novel from the Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author of The Garden of Lost and Found and your perfect summer escape.
Special offers and product promotions
- Buy at least 4 items of your choice and save 5%. Offered by Amazon.co.uk. Shop items
'Wow, was this book stunning or what? It stole my heart and never gave it back. ' ― Reader review
'I'm still reeling from reading this book . . . Wow!' ― Reader review
'Wow! This book pulled me in from the beginning . . . A five star read' ― Reader review
'A compelling story of female friendship, dark secrets and family bonds that pulls you in and won't let go' ― Rosanna Ley
'This is the most gripping, atmospheric book, heavy with mystery and intriguing right till the end. I loved it' ― Sophie Kinsella
'A gorgeous epic . . . Wholly absorbing. I adored it!' ― Marian Keyes
'A rich and sweeping tale as dark and delicious as the hive's special honey' ― Wendy Holden, Daily Mail
'Bewitching, beguiling and utterly beautiful, The Beloved Girls will pull you into their mysterious and enchanted world and never let you go. With a cast of compelling characters and a labyrinthine plot, it's a page-turner of the most luxurious kind - a real escape' ― Veronica Henry
'This sweeping, absorbing story is a treat' ― Adele Parks
'A gorgeous, Gothic and gripping big-house mystery' ― Red
'Taut as a drumskin and thrumming with tension . . . You'll stay up well past your bedtime to finish this atmospheric read' ― HEAT
'A thumping good read . . . Completely absorbing' ― Sam Baker, Noon
'A compelling family drama' ― Woman & Home
'This immersive read is a real treat' ― Bella
'A compelling and atmospheric read' ― The Sun
'A gorgeous story to get immersed in' ― Prima
'Full of evocative description of time and place, the sense of "something about to happen" keeps you turning the pages'― Choice
'An absorbing, sweeping drama to get lost in' ― Sunday Express, S Mag
'A compelling read . . . With a strong sense of place'― My Weekly
PRAISE FOR HARRIET EVANS:
'Comfort reading of the highest order' ― India Knight
'A sweeping novel you won't put down' ― Katie Fforde
'Richly layered . . . Unforgettable . . . This is a story to get truly lost in' ― Isabelle Broom
'She reels you in and then you're hooked, right to the last page' ― Patricia Scanlan
'Atmospheric and altogether wonderful' ― Lesley Pearse
'I love it on so many levels, the immense feeling of place, the slow, irresistible sense of being drawn deep into the family and its story, and the strange hovering of menace somewhere in the idyll. Wonderful' ― Penny Vincenzi
'Spellbinding' ― Independent
'Gripping' ― Irish Times
'A poignant story of love and loss' ― Daily Mail ‘Must Reads’
'I can't remember the last time I was so enthralled' ― Red
'Epic, absorbing ... Full of intrigue and emotion'― Fabulous
'By turns painfully sadand heart-lifting, with characters that stay with you' ― Good Housekeeping
'Authentic and satisfying. An immersive mystery' ― Woman & Home
'A poignant tale' ― Woman
If you love atmospheric stories about old houses, families and secrets, this is for you ― Good Housekeeping
- Publisher : Headline Review (19 Aug. 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1472271416
- ISBN-13 : 978-1472271419
- Dimensions : 16 x 4.2 x 24.2 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 196,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 August 2022
Reviews with images
Top reviews from United Kingdom
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Sorry but not for me.
Catherine has it all but her past is rapidly catching up with her and she is beginning to wonder if she is slowly losing her mind as she’s seeing ‘ghosts’ she knows cannot be real. She knows the secrets she has buried deep within are vying to escape and understands they will hurt the ones she holds dear so there’s only one choice she can make……to leave.
Years before deep in the West Country Janey arrives to stay with the Hunter family after the death of her Father. Having only visited once before as a child her memories of the family are somewhat rose tinted, so when she arrives to a luke-warm reception from ‘Kitty’ the daughter who she’d previously thought of as a friend it signals the start of a mysterious summer that she will always remember.
The Hunter family focus each and every summer is firmly on the success of The Ceremony, an almost ‘cult-like’ harvesting of honey from the bees that reside in a nearby abandoned chapel. Steeped in family history and woven with secrets, mystery and tragedy , participation isn’t optional; for the family & that includes Janey even though she has no idea what is expected of her. It seems like a simple summer tradition, but it could prove to be more deadly than anyone ever expected.
Harriet is a masterful writer of the ‘big house’, family saga and in The Beloved Girls she uses this expertise mixed with a huge dollop of dark, atmospheric writing that I am all here for. It’s atmospheric, thriller style vibes were often unsettling in the best possible way and definitely kept me turning the pages whilst firmly hanging on the edge of my seat. This story certainly felt like Evan’s was giving us something extra and a bit different from her usual style, but it certainly works for her and I loved immersing myself in every second.
The pacing of this book is quite slow, but in a good way, with Evan’s drip feeding the morsels of information to you need to know slowly and steadily throughout the chapters. I was utterly absorbed in the multiple POV’s from the beginning as we see the story carefully constructed, I particularly enjoying the nostalgic nods to the 80’s haven grown up at that time. Told across three timelines, present day (2018), 1959 & the late 80’s, we as the reader are able to piece together a full picture of both character and story and I really enjoyed the level of depth and understanding of the main characters we are given allowing me to become invested in their stories. There are multiple aspects to this story including insightful commentary on topics which include society, discovering your true identity and family relationships, all of which is delivered in Evans’ easy to digest signature writing style.
The Beloved Girls is certainly a book you need to take your time reading, enjoying and absorbing each page whilst surmising where the story will take you; it definitely kept me on my toes throughout, unable to guess the ending. It was an extremely emotional read that really gave me everything I was looking for and more to boot; just perfection! I say it every time, as Harriet’s books just keep getting better and better, but The Beloved Girls has quickly become my favourite of her novels to date………..until she unveils her next offering that is! Dar
The story then goes back to 1989 when Janey arrives at Vanes for the summer shortly after the death of her father. Her only previous visit was covered in the prologue, when she and her beloved father paid a brief visit during which she became very close to Kitty, one of the twins who lived there. When she returns in 1989 at the invitation of Kitty’s mother Sylvia, however, Kitty is very hostile to her. It becomes clear that Janey has been invited in order to play the part of one of the Beloved Girls in a bizarre ceremony where honey is harvested from the ancient chapel in the grounds of the house. My heart went out to Janey, whose own mother had never taken any interest in her and who clearly did not want her encroaching on her life with her second husband, as despite feeling so obviously unwelcome she had nowhere else to go.
As the summer progresses various secrets are revealed - the characters in the novel are not particularly nice and some are extremely unpleasant, entitled snobs. Kitty’s father Charles is particularly unpleasant and even his children dislike him.
The novel then goes back to 1959 and explains the history between Sylvia, Janey’s father Simon and Charles.
I loved the way that the layers of the story were peeled away to reveal the secrets and how they influenced all the later actions, including what happened in Italy in WW2.
To say more would risk giving away spoilers but if you enjoy thought provoking books with mysteries and twists in the plot, you will not be disappointed in this.