Billie's Kiss, by Elizabeth Knox

Billie's Kiss, by Elizabeth Knox (Fiction & Literature)

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With an Edwardian twist on The Tempest, and all the surprising, earthy and magical qualities of her bestseller The Vintner’s Luck, Knox’s equally irresistible new novel is set on the remote, divided Scottish island of Kissack and Skilling, one half of which looks historically and geographically towards Catholic Ireland, the other towards the Protestant north and Scandinavia. In the spring of 1903 a ship explodes as it docks on the island, drowning many of the passengers and crew in the icy waters of Stolnsay harbour. Young, strawberry-blonde-haired Billie Paxton is among the only survivors. Clumsy, illiterate and suddenly alone, Billie will not say why, before the explosion, she jumped from ship to shore, and so falls under the immediate suspicion of her fellow passenger, Murdo Hesketh, and his cousin and employer, Lord Hallowhulme, who owns the island – and has controversial plans for improving the lives of its inhabitants. Gloriously inventive and vividly atmospheric, Billie’s Kiss conjures up a way of life hurtling towards a brave new world, in an enchanting novel that combines a strange, sexy love story with an Edwardian mystery, bringing together murder and eugenics, progress, prejudice and the loss of innocence.

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