LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2021
'A WORD-OF-MOUTH HIT'
'A very fine book . . . It's witty and sharp and reads like something by Barbara Pym or Anita Brookner, without ever feeling like a pastiche'
1957, the suburbs of South East London.
Jean Swinney is a journalist on a local paper, trapped in a life of duty and disappointment from which there is no likelihood of escape.
When a young woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, it is down to Jean to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud.
As the investigation turns her quiet life inside out, Jean is suddenly given an unexpected chance at friendship, love and - possibly - happiness.
But there will, inevitably, be a price to pay.
Book of the Year for: The Times, Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, Daily Express, Metro, Spectator, Red Magazine and Good Housekeeping