'An enchanting story about love, loss and the power of language' Elizabeth Macneal, author of The Doll Factory
Sometimes you have to start with what's lost to truly find yourself...
Motherless and irrepressibly curious, Esme spends her childhood at her father's feet as he and his team gather words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary.
One day, she sees a slip of paper containing a forgotten word flutter to the floor unclaimed.
And so Esme begins to collect words for another dictionary in secret: The Dictionary of Lost Words. But to do so she must journey into a world on the cusp of change as the Great War looms and women fight for the vote. Can the power of lost words from the past finally help her make sense of her future?
'A brilliant book about women and words - tender, moving and profound' Jacqueline Wilson
Readers LOVE The Dictionary of Lost Words:
'If you only read one book this year, let it be this one!'
'If you're a fan of The Binding and The Betrayals you will surely love this'
'A glorious combination of words, growing up, friendship, love, feminism and so much more'
'The best love letter to words and language'
'This book broke my heart ... I highly recommend it to any historical fiction fans ... it's one I will be reading again'
A brilliant book about women and words - tender, moving and profound
An extraordinary, charming novel... Williams pins a whole, rich life to the page
Poignant, perfectly paced... a beautifully nuanced work
I absolutely loved this book! Thought-provoking, touching and subtly romantic; I finished it in tears
Williams's satisfying novel animates a fascinating history and imbues it with a feminist slant, asking how words mean different things to men and women
2021 was a year of brilliant new voices in fiction. Here, we look back on five of Vintage’s most exciting debut novels of the year – you don’t want to have missed them.
From historical tales to modern life dramas, laugh-out-loud love stories to fiendishly twisting thrillers – whatever your taste in novels, we have some perfect new voices to catch up on and share with others.