Books

Birdcage Walk

Helen Dunmore

It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence.

Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism.

But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Soon his plans for a magnificent terrace built above the two-hundred-foot drop of the Gorge come under threat.

Diner believes that Lizzie’s independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants.

In a tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror, Diner’s passion for Lizzie darkens until she finds herself dangerously alone.

Exposure

Helen Dunmore

'A deceptively simple masterpiece' Independent on Sunday

'Will haunt you for months, if not years' Guardian

'Outstanding ... if you only buy one book, make it this one' Good Housekeeping

The Cold War is at its height, and a spy may be a friend or neighbour, colleague or lover.

At the end of a suburban garden, in the pouring rain, a woman buries a briefcase deep in the earth.

She believes that she is protecting her family.

What she will learn is that no one is immune from betrayal or the devastating consequences of exposure.

Love of Fat Men

Helen Dunmore

In this collection of short stories, the author takes the reader into a sensuous world of endless winters and midnight sun. As far apart as Finland, the Austrian Tyrol, and upstate New York, these stories come alive to the touch of estrangement, misunderstanding, sexuality and loss.

The Lie

Helen Dunmore

Nominated for the Folio Prize and shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historial Fiction, and the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize.

Set during and just after the First World War, The Lie is an enthralling, heart-wrenching novel of love, memory and devastating loss by one of the UK’s most acclaimed storytellers.

Cornwall, 1920, early spring.

A young man stands on a headland, looking out to sea. He is back from the war, homeless and without family.

Behind him lie the mud, barbed-wire entanglements and terror of the trenches. Behind him is also the most intense relationship of his life.

Daniel has survived, but the horror and passion of the past seem more real than the quiet fields around him.

He is about to step into the unknown. But will he ever be able to escape the terrible, unforeseen consequences of a lie?

The Land Lubbers Lying Down Below

Helen Dunmore

'Tonight it is the concert. Two Prodigies of Nature are coming to play in my lady's ball-room. As soon as the concert begins I understand why the whole world comes to stare and listen.'

Scipio is eleven years old and a lady's page. He plays the harpsichord, speaks French and German, and sings in Italian. But what was appealing and remarkable in a small child is no longer so in a 'hobbledehoy'. And after he meets the two child prodigies, Wolfi and Nannerl, at a concert, Scipio's fate will change forever.

The Greatcoat

Helen Dunmore

In the winter of 1952, Isabel Carey moves to the East Riding of Yorkshire with her husband Philip, a GP. With Philip spending long hours on call, Isabel finds herself isolated and lonely as she strives to adjust to the realities of married life.

Woken by intense cold one night, she discovers an old RAF greatcoat hidden in the back of a cupboard. Sleeping under it for warmth, she starts to dream. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled by a knock at her window.

Outside is a young RAF pilot, waiting to come in.

His name is Alec, and his powerful presence both disturbs and excites her. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin an intense affair. But nothing has prepared her for the truth about Alec's life, nor the impact it will have on hers ...

Protection

Helen Dunmore

Penguin Specials are designed to fill a gap. Written to be read over a long commute or a short journey, they are original and exclusively in digital form. This is a chilling tale by Helen Dunmore.

'It was nothing, she tells herself, but her body knows better.'

Florence lives in the country, lapped by miles and miles of darkness. She feels safe there - until a noise wakes her in the middle of the night.

Protection is a short story by bestselling author Helen Dunmore that will cause your skin to prickle and make you ask yourself how far you would go to protect your family.

The Betrayal

Helen Dunmore

The Betrayal is the sequel to Helen Dunmore's hugely successful historical novel The Siege, set in Stalin's Russia.

Leningrad, 1952. Andrei, a young hospital doctor and Anna, a nursery school teacher, are forging a life together in the post-war, post-siege wreckage. But their happiness is precarious, like that of millions of Russians who must avoid the claws of Stalin's merciless Ministry for State security. So when Andrei is asked to treat the seriously ill child of a senior secret police officer, he and Anna are fearful. Trapped in an impossible, maybe unwinnable game, can they avoid the whispers and watchful eyes of those who will say or do anything to save themselves?

The Betrayal is a powerful and touching novel of ordinary people in the grip of a terrible and sinister regime, and a moving portrait of a love that will not be extinguished.

'Beautifully crafted, gripping, moving, enlightening. Sure to be one of the best historical novels of the year' Time Out

'Scrupulous, pitch-perfect. With heart-pounding force, Dunmore builds up a double narrative of suspense' Sunday Times

'Magnificent, brave, tender...with a unique gift for immersing the reader in the taste, smell and fear of a story' Independent on Sunday

Novelist and poet Helen Dunmore has achieved great critical acclaim since publishing her first adult novel, the McKitterick Prize winning, Zennor in Darkness. Her novels, Counting the Stars, Your Blue-Eyed Boy, With Your Crooked Heart, Burning Bright, House of Orphans, Mourning Ruby, A Spell of Winter, and Talking to the Dead, and her collection of short stories Love of Fat Men are all published by Penguin. Helen also writes for children, her titles include The Deep and Ingo.

Counting the Stars

Helen Dunmore

Counting the Stars is a captivating tale of forbidden love and bestselling author Helen Dunmore's tenth novel.

In the heat of Rome's long summer, the poet Catullus and his older married lover, Clodia Metelli, meet in secret.

Living at the heart of sophisticated, brittle and brutal Roman society at the time of Pompey, Crassus and Julius Caesar, Catullus is obsessed with Clodia, the Lesbia of his most passionate poems. He is jealous of her husband, of her maid, even of her pet sparrow. And Clodia? Catullus is 'her dear poet', but possibly not her only interest . . .

Their Rome is a city of extremes. Tenants are packed into ramshackle apartment blocks while palatial villas house the magnificence of the families who control Rome. Armed street gangs clash in struggles for political power. Slaves are the eyes and ears of everything that goes on, while civilization and violence are equals, murder is the easy option and poison the weapon of choice.

Catallus' relationship with Clodia is one of the most intense, passionate, tormented and candid in history. In love and in hate, their story exposes the beauty and terrors of Roman life in the late Republic.

'She reels you in . . . Dunmore has a gift for turning every genre she touches to gold' Telegraph

`Dunmore at her most innovative and daring . . . a powerful and convincing study of fame and notoriety . . . captivating and compelling' Time Out

'Dunmore's strengths as a novelist have always included her skill in sensuous description and her ability to convey the promises and the dangers of erotic love. The Rome she has so vividly realised in Counting the Stars provides a new stage on which to display those strengths' Sunday Times


Helen Dunmore is the author of twelve novels: Zennor in Darkness, which won the McKitterick Prize; Burning Bright; A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize; Talking to the Dead; Your Blue-Eyed Boy; With Your Crooked Heart; The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002; Mourning Ruby; House of Orphans; Counting the Stars; The Betrayal, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010, and The Greatcoat. She is also a poet, children's novelist and short-story writer.

Your Blue-Eyed Boy

Helen Dunmore

Your Blue-Eyed Boy is bestselling author Helen Dunmore's fifth novel.

'There are things you should know about blackmail . . . '

At thirty-eight Simone has responsibilities: she's a district judge with two small boys and a husband on the verge of bankruptcy and breakdown. When she receives a letter postmarked New York she has no idea that opening it will threaten all she has worked for and call into question her judgement. For the photographs contained in the letter remind her of things she regrets from twenty years ago, and a man she'd decided to forget.

But blackmail, like the heart, never forgets . . .

'A highly charged, haunting novel . . . beautifully wrought' The Times

'A brilliantly plotted thrilling fable unravelling dark, sad secrets' Mail on Sunday

'Excellently readable, genuinely disturbing' Anita Brookner, Spectator

Helen Dunmore has published eleven novels with Penguin: Zennor in Darkness , which won the McKitterick Prize; Burning Bright; A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize; Talking to the Dead ; Your Blue-Eyed Boy; With Your Crooked Heart; The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002; Mourning Ruby; House of Orphan; Counting the Stars and The Betrayal, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. She is also a poet, children's novelist and short-story writer.

With Your Crooked Heart

Helen Dunmore

With Your Crooked Heart is bestselling author Helen Dunmore's sixth novel.

Louise married Paul, brother to Johnnie . . .

Yet she doesn't get one man with this union - she gets two. Born twelve years apart in a one-bedroom flat in Barking, Paul and Johnnie are close: they're good at making money and make taking power look easy. But while Paul deals on contaminated land, Johnnie is adept at dealing in crime.

And when Louise's relationship with the brothers is further complicated by the birth of her daughter, Anna, it seems nothing can ever break this triangle. Until Johnnie's self-destructive streak begins to threaten them all . . .

'Rich, tense, tragic and almost unbearable reading' The Times

'Open a page at random and you're almost bound to find something gorgeous' Independent

'One of this country's most accomplished literary talents' Independent on Sunday

Helen Dunmore has published eleven novels with Penguin: Zennor in Darkness, which won the McKitterick Prize; Burning Bright; A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize; Talking to the Dead; Your Blue-Eyed Boy; With Your Crooked Heart; The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002; Mourning Ruby; House of Orphan; Counting the Stars and The Betrayal, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. She is also a poet, children's novelist and short-story writer.

Burning Bright

Helen Dunmore

Burning Bright is bestselling author Helen Dunmore's second novel.

When Nadine runs away to London, innocence and corruption collide . . .

Nadine, a sixteen-year-old runaway new to London, is set up in a decaying Georgian house by her Finnish lover, Kai. Slowly, she begins t suspect that Kai's plans for her have little to do with love. 'Be Careful,' warns Enid, the elderly sitting tenant in the house, who knows all about survival and secrets. And when Nadine discovers Kai's true intentions, Enid's warning takes on a terrible and prophetic quality.

'A story of terrible innocence' Independent on Sunday

'The denouement is mesmerizing. One goes on addressing the problems of evil which Dunmore raises, long after one has finished her electrifying book' Sunday Times

'Outstanding. The plot unfolds with both tension and inevitability as Dunmore plays off past against present, rubs together contemporary themes of urban corruption with far-off memories of taboo passion' Sunday Telegraph

Helen Dunmore has published eleven novels with Penguin: Zennor in Darkness , which won the McKitterick Prize; Burning Bright; A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize; Talking to the Dead ; Your Blue-Eyed Boy; With Your Crooked Heart; The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002; Mourning Ruby; House of Orphan; Counting the Stars and The Betrayal, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. She is also a poet, children's novelist and short-story writer.

A Spell of Winter

Helen Dunmore

Bestselling author Helen Dunmore's third novel, A Spell of Winter won the 1996 Orange Prize.

Catherine and her brother, Rob, don't know why they have been abandoned by their parents. Incarcerated in the enormous country house of their grandfather - 'the man from nowhere' - they create a refuge against their family's dark secrets, and against the outside world as it moves towards the First World War. As time passes, their sibling love deepens and crosses into forbidden territory. But they are not as alone in the house as they believe . . .

'A marvellous novel about forbidden passions and the terrible consequences of thwarted love. Dunmore is one of the finest English writers' Daily Mail

'A hugely involving story which often stops you in your tracks with the beauty of its writing' Observer

'An electrifying and original talent, a writer whose style is characterized by a lyrical, dreamy intensity' Guardian

Helen Dunmore has published eleven novels with Penguin: Zennor in Darkness , which won the McKitterick Prize; Burning Bright; A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize; Talking to the Dead ; Your Blue-Eyed Boy; With Your Crooked Heart; The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002; Mourning Ruby; House of Orphan; Counting the Stars and The Betrayal, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. She is also a poet, children's novelist and short-story writer.

Talking to the Dead

Helen Dunmore

Talking to the Dead is bestselling author Helen Dunmore's fourth novel.

There's nothing closer than sisters . . .

Unloved by their distant mother, Isabel and Nina cemented their bond in childhood when tragedy struck the family. Many yeas later, with the difficult birth of Isabel's first child, it is Nina who comes to stay and help out her older sister. But Nina has other, important reasons for being under her sister's roof - not least of these is Isabel's husband, Richard.

The tragedy that drew two sisters together so many years ago still has the power to wrench them apart . . .

'A writer of quiet deadly power . . . it takes two paragraphs to hook you. Don't resist' Time Out

'Dunmore's capacity for hauntingly psychological storytelling is on brilliant display' Sunday Times

'Flies off the page, startling the reader with its brilliance' Financial Times

Helen Dunmore has published eleven novels with Penguin: Zennor in Darkness , which won the McKitterick Prize; Burning Bright; A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize; Talking to the Dead; Your Blue-Eyed Boy; With Your Crooked Heart; The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002; Mourning Ruby; House of Orphan; Counting the Stars and The Betrayal, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. She is also a poet, children's novelist and short-story writer.

Zennor in Darkness

Helen Dunmore

In her prize-winning first novel, Zennor in Darkness, Helen Dunmore reimagines the plight of D.H. Lawrence and his German wife hiding out in Cornwall during the First World War.

Spring, 1917, and war haunts the Cornish coastal village of Zennor: ships are being sunk by U-boats, strangers are treated with suspicion, and newspapers are full of spy stories.

Into this turmoil come D. H Lawrence and his German wife, Frieda hoping to escape the war-fever that grips London. They befriend Clare Coyne, a young artist struggling to console her beloved cousin, John William, who is on leave from the trenches and suffering from shell-shock.

Yet the dark tide of gossip and innuendo means that Zennor is neither a place of recovery nor of escape . . .


'Helen Dunmore mesmerizes you with her magical pen' Daily Mail

'A beautiful and inspired novel' John le Carré

'Secrets, unspoken words, lies that have the truth wrapped up in them somewhere make Dunmore's stories ripple with menace and suspense' Sunday Times

Helen Dunmore has published eleven novels with Penguin: Zennor in Darkness, which won the McKitterick Prize; Burning Bright; A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize; Talking to the Dead; Your Blue-Eyed Boy; With Your Crooked Heart; The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002; Mourning Ruby; House of Orphans; Counting the Stars and The Betrayal , which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. She is also a poet, children's novelist and short-story writer.

House of Orphans

Helen Dunmore

House of Orphans is bestselling author Helen Dunmore's ninth novel.

Finland, 1902, and the Russian Empire enforces a brutal policy to destroy Finland's freedom and force its people into submission.

Eeva, orphaned daughter of a failed revolutionary, also battles to find her independence and identity. Destitute when her father dies, she is sent away to a country orphanage, and then employed as servant to a widowed doctor, Thomas Eklund. Slowly, Thomas falls in love with Eeva . . . but she has committed herself long ago to a boy from her childhood, Lauri, who is now caught up in Helsinki's turmoil of resistance to Russian rule.

Set in dangerous, unfamiliar times which strangely echo our own, the story reveals how terrorism lies hidden within ordinary life, as rulers struggle to hold on to power. House of Orphans is a rich, brilliant story of love, history and change.

'Vivid and exciting . . . Dunmore creates a beautiful sense of stillness . . . she conveys a passion for Finland's icy landscape' Observer

'Part love story, part tragedy . . . Dunmore on dazzling form. Everyone should read her work' Independent on Sunday

'Outstanding, a sheer pleasure to read. Dunmore is a remarkable storyteller' Daily Mail


Helen Dunmore is the author of twelve novels: Zennor in Darkness, which won the McKitterick Prize; Burning Bright; A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize; Talking to the Dead; Your Blue-Eyed Boy; With Your Crooked Heart; The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002; Mourning Ruby; House of Orphans; Counting the Stars; The Betrayal, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010, and The Greatcoat. She is also a poet, children's novelist and short-story writer.

The Fox, The Captain's Doll, The Ladybird

D. H. Lawrence (and others)

These three novellas display D. H. Lawrence's brilliant and insightful evocation of human relationships - both tender and cruel - and the devastating results of war. In The Fox, two young women living on a small farm during the First World War find their solitary life interrupted. As a fox preys on their poultry, a human predator has the women in his sights. The Captain's Doll explores the complex relationship between a German countess and a married Scottish soldier in occupied Germany, while in The Ladybird a wounded prisoner of war has a disturbing influence on the Englishwoman who visits him in hospital.

Mourning Ruby

Helen Dunmore

Mourning Ruby explores identity and maternal ties and is bestselling author Helen Dunmore's eighth novel.

Rebecca was abandoned by her mother in a shoebox in the backyard of an Italian restaurant when she was two days old. Her life begins without history, in the dark outdoors. Who is she, where has she come from and what can she become? Thirty years later, married to Adam, she gives birth to Ruby, and to a new life for herself. But when sudden tragedy changed the course of that life for ever, and all the lives that touch hers, Rebecca is out in the world again, searching . . .

'Moments that bring the reader to tears . . . a fascinating - often brilliant - novel' The Times

'Bold and unusual . . . miraculously written, Dunmore's drama of loss and regeneration pieces together shattered lives' Daily Mail

'Emotionally restrained, beautifully observed' Daily Telegraph

Helen Dunmore has published eleven novels with Penguin: Zennor in Darkness , which won the McKitterick Prize; Burning Bright; A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize; Talking to the Dead ; Your Blue-Eyed Boy; With Your Crooked Heart; The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002; Mourning Ruby; House of Orphan; Counting the Stars and The Betrayal, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. She is also a poet, children's novelist and short-story writer.

The Siege

Helen Dunmore

Helen Dunmore follows the lives of four ordinary people, united by love, trying to survive the siege of Leningrad in her powerful historical novel The Siege.

Leningrad, September 1941. Hitler orders the German forces to surround the city at the start of the most dangerous, desperate winter in its history. For two pairs of lovers - Anna and Andrei, Anna's novelist father and banned actress Marina - the siege becomes a battle for survival. They will soon discover what it is like to be so hungry you boil shoe leather to make soup, so cold you burn furniture and books. But this is not just a struggle to exist, it is also a fight to keep the spark of hope alive...


The Siege is a brilliantly imagined novel of war and the wounds it inflicts on ordinary people's lives, and a profoundly moving celebration of love, life and survival.

'Remarkable, affecting...there are few more interesting stories than this; and few writers who could have told it better' Rachel Cusk, Daily Telegraph

'Literary writing of the highest order set against a background if suffering so intimately reconstructed it is hard to believe that Dunmore was not there' Richard Overy, Sunday Telegraph

'Utterly convincing. A deeply moving account of two love stories in terrible circumstances. The story of their struggle to survive appears simple, as all great literature should. . . a world-class novel' Antony Beevor, The Times

Novelist and poet Helen Dunmore has achieved great critical acclaim since publishing her first adult novel, the McKitterick Prize winning, Zennor in Darkness. Her novels, Counting the Stars, Your Blue-Eyed Boy, With Your Crooked Heart, Burning Bright, House of Orphans, Mourning Ruby, A Spell of Winter, and Talking to the Dead, and her collection of short stories Love of Fat Men are all published by Penguin. This edition includes the first chapter of Betrayal, the sequel to The Siege.

Helen Dunmore

Biography

Helen Dunmore, born 12 December 1952, was an award-winning novelist, children’s author and poet who will be remembered for the depth and breadth of her fiction. Rich and intricate, yet narrated with a deceptive simplicity that made all of her work accessible and heartfelt, her writing stood out for the fluidity and lyricism of her prose, and her extraordinary ability to capture the presence of the past.

Her first novel, Zennor in Darkness, explored the events which led D. H. Lawrence to be expelled from Cornwall on suspicion of spying, and won the McKitterick Prize. Her third novel, A Spell of Winter, won the inaugural Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996, and she went on to become a Sunday Times bestseller with The Siege, which was described by Antony Beevor as a ‘world-class novel’ and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year and the Orange Prize. Published in 2010, her eleventh novel, The Betrayal, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and The Lie in 2014 was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the 2015 RSL Ondaatje Prize.

Her final novel, Birdcage Walk, deals with legacy and recognition – what writers, especially women writers, can expect to leave behind them – and was described by the Observer as ‘the finest novel Helen Dunmore has written’.

Helen was known to be an inspirational and generous author, championing emerging voices and other established authors. She also gave a large amount of her time to supporting literature, independent bookshops all over the UK, and arts organisations across the world. She died in June 2017.