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The Golden Rule

On sale

29th April 2021

Price: £8.99

Women's Prize for Fiction, 2021

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349143484

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‘A highly enjoyable story about female resilience… with a twist that is all the more compelling for its unexpectedness’ Sunday Times

‘She’s such a skilful storyteller, who vividly dramatizes our lives with wit, wisdom and compassion’ Bernardine Evaristo

‘Amanda Craig anatomises the state of the nation with wit and empathy’ Jonathan Coe

‘An irresistible summer read’ Guardian

A typically sharp and hugely satisfying page-turner’ Daily Mail

When Hannah is invited into the first-class carriage of the London to Penzance train, she walks into a spider’s web. Now a poor young single mother, she once escaped Cornwall to go to university, but after marriage to Jake her dreams turned to bitter disillusion. Her husband has left her for a rich woman, and Hannah has survived by working as a cleaner. Jinni is equally angry, and in the course of their journey the two women agree to murder each other’s husbands. After all, they are strangers on a train – who could possibly connect them?

But when Hannah goes to Jinni’s house she meets its shambolic caretaker, who claims Jinni is very different to the person Hannah had been led to believe. Who is telling the truth – and what will become of the women’s pact to commit a terrible crime?


Mail on Sunday
A pacy state-of-the-nation drama that tackles issues from domestic abuse to workplace harassment, gentrification to the gig economy
Guardian Book of the Day
An irresistible summer read: a rollicking plot, a heroine who is more than a match for anything the author throws at her and meaty social issues
Rose Tremain
I really enjoyed The Golden Rule. I still love novels that have proper, well-constructed plots and Amanda Craig is a delicious storyteller
Sunday Times
Strangers on a Train meets #MeToo
The i
Craig's ninth novel is one of her best. A clever take on Beauty and the Beast and Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train, it is also an astute commentary on life in Cornwall and the widening gap between the city rich and rural poor
Bernardine Evaristo
She's such a skilful storyteller who vividly dramatises our lives with wit, wisdom and compassion
Clever and compelling, The Golden Rule is a modern mash-up of Rebecca and Strangers on a Train
Sunday Times
A highly enjoyable story about female resilience and finding fulfilment on your own terms, with a twist that is all the more compelling for its unexpectedness
Jonathan Coe
If you like your novels wide-ranging, ambitious, socially panoramic, and engaged in the most important issues of the day, Amanda Craig is the writer for you. For more than twenty years now she has been anatomising the state of the British nation with wit and empathy
Sunday Post
We reckon this cracker of a novel about the "haves" and the "have-nots" will whip you into a page-turning frenzy
Rachel Kelly, The Tablet
A tight, lean thriller about two women who decide to murder each other's husbands. Dotted throughout are Craig's acute observations of society, in particular the corrosive effects of poverty. Yet this skilful storyteller is never preachy. We are swept along because of her knack of creating characters we care about. Only on closing the book do we realise we've not just been entertained but made to think too
Andrew Taylor, Spectator
An acute and passionate observer of society in both town and country, and among rich and poor. She is harrowingly good at portraying the corrosive effects of poverty, particularly on vulnerable women with children to protect. Her prose is a delight...Best of all, Craig has the knack of creating interesting characters and of making one care about what lies in store for them. If you can do that, nothing else really matters
Perceptive and wise, particularly on the ever-growing gap between the rich and the poor
Penelope Lively
I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed The Golden Rule - evening reading that I looked forward to for days. Such a strong narrative, constantly taking you by surprise, persuasive setting, Hannah a sympathetic central figure - and the clash between different lifestyles. Very much a novel of our times
Addictive . . . a wide-ranging, incisive portrait of contemporary Britain
Daily Mail
A typically sharp and hugely satisfying page-turner about two women who decide to murder each other's husbands
Nina Pottell, Prima
Such an interesting read! . . . A story of lies - and learning that people aren't always who they appear to be
The Golden Rule does what her novels do best, wrapping the reader in a tight, lean narrative, showing the strangeness that lies at the heart of normal-seeming lives
The Times
The plot becomes so gripping - the sort of story where you want to pull the heroine out of the pages away from danger