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‘The book I wish I’d written . . . Witty, chilling, every word in place’ Hilary Mantel, Guardian

Wartime Liverpool is a place of ration books and jobs in munitions factories. Rita, living with her two aunts Nellie and Margo, is emotionally naïve and withdrawn. When she meets Ira, a GI, at a neighbour’s party she falls in love as much with the idea of life as a GI bride as with the man himself. But Nellie and Margo are not so blind…


An impressive, haunting book...Like the better Hitchcock films, Beryl Bainbridge suggests a claustrophobic horror
Sunday Times
A chilly story written by a master hand
The Times
A little triumph of economy, with pent thoughts and cramped emotions that whisper frantically on when the book is shut
A magnificent book
New York Review of Books