The Lone Child
Neve Ayres has always been so careful. Since her mother’s death when Neve was seven, she’s learned to look after herself and to keep her cards close. But now her deliberately constructed world has collapsed: her partner’s left her when she was eight months pregnant. And so, alone with her newborn son, she’s retreated to her cliff-top holiday house in coastal Flinders.
There, another child comes into her life.
The first time Neve sees Jessie, the small girl isplaying on an empty stretch of beach. On the cold autumn day, she is bare-legged and alone, while her mother’s distracted by her own troubles. At once, almost despite herself, Neve is intrigued and concerned, and Jessie is drawn to Neve’s kindness – and to her home.
To Neve’s surprise, Jessie becomes an unlikely source of much–needed care for her and her baby. Having been lost in the sleepless haze of new motherhood, Neve is touched, and finds herself grappling with how to best help the forgotten girl. She has the spacious house, the full pantry, the resources. . . But how much can you – should you – do for a stranger’s child?.
Beautifully written and emotionally compelling, The Lone Child is about parenting and judgement, loss and love. From the acclaimed author of What Came Before, this is a gripping, atmospheric novel that explores how the desire to mother, and to be mothered, can be overwhelmingly seductive.
Kate Cooper manages the translation rights for The Lone Child
Translation Rights Sold
Away from the city and the lover who left her when she was eight months pregnant, Neve Ayres spends her days alone with her newborn son in the Victorian coastal home she designed, battling bone-deep tiredness and failing routines. One day she saves a young girl who falls into a rock pool while her mother is out of sight. When the girl reappears at Neve’s house, alone and begging her not to call for help, Neve finds in Jessie’s company what could be a way out of her despair—or further into it. At the core of this novel is a story of abandonment and the long-term fissures it plants in the heart, shot through with Neve’s need to give Jessie the care that her own childhood lacked. This is Anna George’s second novel, after her 2014 debut What Came Before. Her writing lays bare the lives of women in the vein of recent psychological thrillers from the likes of Paula Hawkins and Aoife Clifford, but The Lone Child’s visceral, disorienting stew of Neve’s scattered thoughts are a singular, heady read.
“Absolutely arresting. A story shaped by contemporary social inequalities, their chilling consequences and, above all, the powerful, life-affirming love of women for their own and other people's children.”
“Absorbing and poignant, written with tenderness and insight, The Lone Child explores the formidable bonds between mother and child”
“A sensitive evocation of the sometimes dark and disorienting nature of motherhood, George’s haunting tale reminds us of the redemptive power of human connection”