The Flames

The Flames

A gripping historical novel set in 1900s Vienna, featuring four fiery women


'Fascinating & compelling. I loved all four women' ELODIE HARPER, author of THE WOLF DEN

'MAGNIFICENT...It's simply too good' KATIE LOWE, author of THE FURIES

'Utterly compelling' KIRAN MILLWOOD HARGRAVE, author of THE MERCIES


Vienna, 1912. Behind every painting, there is a story...

A new century is dawning. Vienna is at its zenith, an opulent, extravagant city teeming with art, music and radical ideas. It is a place where anything seems possible...

Edith and Adele are sisters, the daughters of a wealthy bourgeois family. They are expected to follow the rules, to marry well, and produce children. Gertrude is in thrall to her flamboyant older brother. Marked by a traumatic childhood, she envies the freedom he so readily commands. Vally was born into poverty but is making her way in the world as a model for the eminent artist Gustav Klimt.

Fierce, passionate and determined, none of these women is quite what they seem. But their lives are set on a collision course when they become entangled with the controversial young artist Egon Schiele whose work - and private life - are sending shockwaves through Viennese society. All it will take is a single act of betrayal to set their world on fire...


'Glorious' Guardian

'Intoxicating and evocative...full of controversy and drama. We loved it' Woman & Home

'Thought provoking and illuminating - I so enjoyed discovering the world and the women behind works of art I adore' KATE SAWYER, author of THE STRANDING

'An exquisite sense of place and era with a passion and sensuality that transcend time altogether.' ISABEL COSTELLO, author of SCENT

'Confident...urgent...illuminating' Sunday Times

'Impressive' The Times

'A stunning story of love, art and betrayal' RED magazine

'Full of scandal, love, betrayal, and heartache' Cosmopolitan

'Mesmerising' Good Housekeeping

'A drama of love, loss, rivalry and betrayal. A terrific debut, brilliantly imagined' Saga Debut of the Month

'An unforgettable book about wanting more for ourselves than we are told we are allowed' Ericka Waller, author of Dog Days


  • MAGNIFICENT. Feels destined to be a classic - exquisitely crafted and so absorbing. I loved it and REFUSE to accept it is a debut. It's simply too good.
    Katie Lowe, author of The Furies

About the author

Sophie Haydock

Sophie Haydock is an award-winning author living in east London. Her debut novel, The Flames, was published to great acclaim and was longlisted for the H WA debut crown . She is the winner of the Impress Prize for New Writers. Sophie trained as a journalist at City University, London, and has worked at the Sunday Times Magazine, Tatler and BBC Three, as well as freelancing for publications including the Financial Times, Guardian Weekend magazine, and organisations such as the Arts Council, Royal Academy and Sotheby's. Passionate about short stories, Sophie also works for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award and is associate director of the Word Factory literary organisation.
Learn More

More from this Author

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more