We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

A haunting debut novel of a young woman living on the edge in a Cornwall the tourists never see, struggling with the aftermath of family tragedy.

‘This unsparing debut novel portrays the unromantic side of Cornwall few visitors see and which so many novelists choose to overlook. Charlie Carroll inhabits his damaged heroine completely’ Patrick Gale

Away from the hotels and holiday lets, there is an unseen side of Cornwall, where the shifting uncertainties of the future breed resentment and mistrust.

Melody Janie is hidden. She lives alone in a caravan in Bones Break: a small cliff-top on Cornwall’s north coast. She spends her time roaming her territory, spying on passing tourists and ramblers, and remembering. She sees everything and yet remains unseen.

However, when a stranger enters her life, she is forced to confront not only him but the terrible tragedies of her past.

The Lip is a novel about childhood, isolation and mental health, told in the unique and unforgettable voice of Melody Janie.

‘All of this is Bones Break. All of this is mine.

I know every inch of it; I know it as intimately as the seagulls. I stand at dead-centre, my feet teetering on the edge of the lip. Below, the thundering tattoo of waves on rock. Wind catches the tips of my hair, lifting them above my ribs: less force than it takes to knock me down; enough to make me right myself with a step to the left, and then another back again. Here on the lip, it is vital to know where my feet are.’

(P) 2021 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

Reviews

This unsparing debut novel portrays the unromantic side of Cornwall few visitors see and which so many novelists choose to overlook. Charlie Carroll inhabits his damaged heroine so completely, and with so little trace of first-novel-ego that I can't wait to see what he writes next; I suspect his publishers have backed a winner.
Patrick Gale
Atmospheric, haunting writing, a heroine you instantly love.
Ilona Bannister, author of When I Ran Away
Viscerally described... I'm still thinking about it.
The Daily Mail
[Melody Janie's] life weaves intimately close to this place, vesting a lyrical magic over these weather-beaten landscapes.
The Telegraph
A novel as much about isolation as it is grief, mental health and enforced change, it builds to a moving conclusion with a mighty twist. With The Lip now added to his repertoire, Carroll is proving to be very much like a modern-day Orwell, with social awareness and humanity at the core of what he writes.
Buzz Magazine
A moving and affecting novel about life on the edge, with a very special flavour of wild and rugged Cornwall.
EMMA STONEX, author of THE LAMPLIGHTERS
Beautiful. . . the last time I read a book that affected me as much as this one it was The Loney.
The Bookbag
Beautifully complex, heartbreaking and atmospheric. I was completely immersed in Melody Janie's world and really 'got' the possessive charge of her land and the past that she was trying so desperately to save. Fabulous read.
LV Matthews, author of The Prank
Redeeming and beautiful and full of brave characters and heart. . . I bloody loved it. The story grew roots that went far deeper than I expected. I found myself racing to the climax and it was executed perfectly. A triumph.'
Ericka Waller, author of Dog Days
Really enjoyed the story of Melody Janie, a young Cornish woman struggling to come to terms with a recent bereavement in an environment which, although wild and beautiful, only echoes her grief and isolation. . . I loved The Lip and particularly the mental health story line which is such an important one. Brilliantly written, too.'
Mary Karras, author of The Making of Mrs Petrakis