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The Night Visitor

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 Olivia Sweetman is a successful and attractive History professor who has started making a name for herself on television (think Lucy Worsley). She is struggling to maintain her professional life whilst managing her home life with her husband and three children. 
Vivian is the socially awkward and solitary housekeeper at Ileford Manor, where she is caretaker of the house and it's possessions whilst her employer is in a care home. 

One day a flyer falls through Olivia's letterbox which promises the chance to see the previously undiscovered diary of Annabel Burley, one of the first women surgeons, at Ileford Manor. Olivia visits Ileford where she reads the diary of Annabel, a pioneer of women in the medical world and more shockingly, a self confessed murderess.

Olivia cannot pass up this chance to write a book about Annabel, and in order to get permission to use the diary, Olivia befriends Vivian and enlists her as a research assistant for the book, a job Vivian is remarkably capable at.

What follows is a fabulous character study of the two women, the secrets they are keeping and the lengths to which they will go to get what they want. Vivian is a particularly complex character and her personality resonates through every page she appears on. Olivia is a flawed but likeable and sympathetic protagonist. This is a brilliant psychological thriller that had me up well past my bedtime

Lucy Atkins has created, in Vivian Tester, one of the most vivid, memorable and menacing characters. She's brilliant - deluded, obsessed and scarily believable - and is the perfect adversary for the ambitious main character, historian Olivia. C L Taylor Author

 

wayne winstone