'The Virgin Suicides meets Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr Ripley, this unputdownable and lush novel had me entranced' Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti
It is summer, 1956, when fifteen-year-old Bridget first meets Isabella. In their conservative Connecticut town, Isabella is a breath of fresh air. She is worldly, alluring and brazen: an enigma.
When they receive an offer to study at the Academy in Italy, Bridget is thrilled. This is her ticket to Europe and - better still - a chance to spend nine whole months with her glamorous and unpredictable best friend.
There, lodged in a convent of nuns who have taken a vow of silence, the two girls move towards a passionate but fragile intimacy. As the year rolls on, Bridget grows increasingly fearful that she will lose Isabella's affections - and the more desperate she gets, the greater the lengths she will go to keep her.
Belladonna is a hypnotizing coming-of age story set against the stunning and evocative backdrop of rural Northern Italy. Anbara Salam tells a story of friendship and obsession, desire and betrayal, and the lies we tell in order to belong.
'I was completely captivated. Thrillingly ambitious, moving, painful and insightful. This book captures something unique about the experience of jealousy, betrayal and the muddied waters that lie between friendship and obsessive love' Daisy Buchanan
Eleanor Catton's The Rehearsal meets Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides meets Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr Ripley, this unputdownable and lush novel had me entranced and totally absorbed in the woozy, covertly sensual world of a 1950s Italian convent. Anbara Salam has a gimlet-eyed, ferocious talent for capturing the obsessive urgency and convolutions of power and desire in adolescent experience
The tender, exquisite prose brilliantly captures the feelings and fault lines in the girls' friendship. This is a discerning look at secret infatuation and racial prejudice
A moving tale about identity, love, and loss. Anbara Salam unspools a compelling narrative about a young woman struggling to find herself amid family secrets and her own hidden truths. It's the kind of emotionally rich story that stays with you
I was utterly captivated, from first page to last
Lyrical, suspenseful, darkly comic
I was completely captivated. Thrillingly ambitious, moving, painful and insightful. Bridget broke my heart, she's an alarmingly relatable anti heroine, and I think this book has captured something unique about the experience of jealousy, betrayal and the muddied waters that lie between friendship and obsessive love. It reminded me of The Talented Mr Ripley, but told with acute sensitivity and emotional intelligence
A claustrophobic compelling read that'll suck you into its heart of darkness
Excellent, blackly funny
Dark, mysterious, beguiling, and beautifully written. It transported me to a different world
What a hot and sticky, feverishly Lord Of The Flies-style debut! Excels in rich detail, suspense and tension. A masterclass
Can't get enough of Wild Wild Country? Anbara Salam, the author of Things Bright and Beautiful, selects five works of fiction that focus on elusive and mysterious cults.
Delve into the first chapter from Anbara Salam's feverish and atmospheric debut novel.