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The Company

On sale

16th March 2023

Price: £16.99

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781399802635

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‘[A] stunning Gothic chiller’ Irish Times

‘Diabolically good . . . J.M. Varese’s gothic tale is sinuously elegant and claustrophobic as deadly Victorian wallpaper’ Kate Griffin, author of Fyneshade

London, 1870.

Lucy Braithwhite lives a privileged existence as heir to the fortune of Braithwhite & Company – the most successful purveyor of English luxury wallpapers the world over. The company’s formulas have been respected for nearly a century, but have always remained cloaked in mystery. No one has been able to explain the originality of design, or the brilliance of their colours, leaving many to wonder if the mysterious spell-like effect of their wallpapers is due simply to artistry, or something more sinister.

When Mr Luckhurst, the company’s manager, and the man who has acted as surrogate father to Lucy and her invalid brother John since they were children, suddenly dies, Lucy is shocked to discover that there is no succession plan in place. Who will ensure that the company and her family continue to thrive?

The answer soon arrives in the form of the young and alluring Julian Rivers, who, unbeknownst to Lucy and John, has been essential to the company’s operations for some time. At first, he seems like the answer to their prayers, but as Lucy begins piecing together Julian’s true intentions, and John begins seeing spectral visions in the house’s wallpaper, it becomes clear to Lucy that she must do everything within her power to oppose the diabolic forces that have risen up to destroy her family.

Set against the backdrop of the real-life arsenic wallpaper controversy of the late 19th century, The Company is a dark and haunting slice of gothic Victoriana, following one woman’s fight to preserve all that she holds dear.

‘A chilling gothic thriller . . . entrancing, entwining, and entrapping’ Hollis Seamon, author of Corporeality

Varese brings to life the true grittiness of 19th-century London’ Amanda Foreman, author of The Duchess

The Company creeps up on its readers before it so splendidly pounces. The new master of suspense has arrived’ John Bowen, author of Other Dickens


Hollis Seamon, author of CORPOREALITY
The Company is a chilling gothic thriller, both subtle and relentless in its build-up of terror. The story creeps up on you much as the patterns in its poisonous wallpapers do: entrancing, entwining, and entrapping. J.M. Varese, with this deliciously disquieting novel, joins the company of Shirley Jackson, Sarah Waters, and Henry James
Amanda Foreman, author of THE DUCHESS
The Company is a roller-coaster of a read. Varese brings to life the true grittiness of 19th-century London with great enthusiasm, combining historical fiction with a feel for the gothic thriller
Kate Griffin, author of FYNESHADE
The Company is diabolically good. The sibling heirs to a troubled wallpaper manufacturer are charmed by the charismatic Mr Rivers. But is he a saviour or something corrupt and corrupting? J.M. Varese's gothic tale is sinuously elegant and claustrophobic as deadly Victorian wallpaper
John Bowen, author of OTHER DICKENS
Reimagining Victorian haunting for a new generation, this brilliant novel grounds its terrors in the company we keep and the Companies we make and trust. As eery as the stories of M.R. James, The Company creeps up on its readers before it so splendidly pounces. The new master of suspense has arrived
Eva Dolan, author of THIS IS HOW IT ENDS
A crisp and austere work of Victorian gothic, exploring the brutal history of the wallpaper industry, where designs of entrancing beauty came drenched in blood and suffering
Irish Times
[A] stylish Gothic chiller
Those brilliant colours and patterns hide a terrible secret - one that has poisoned the lives of this unhappy family for many years . . . The neat set-up allows for a pervasive air of madness; the house is claustrophobic and its inhabitants are increasingly delusional
Mamta Chaudhry, author of HAUNTING PARIS
A naïve young woman, a charismatic stranger, a curse on the house where they struggle for mastery-from these staples of Gothic fiction, Jon Varese has crafted a deliciously chilling tale. The authentic and engaging voice of Lucy Braithwhite draws you into a sheltered world where unease and terror build slowly and subtly until the stunning climax. Like the brilliant wallpapers that made the Braithwhite fortune, this novel both conceals and reveals poisonous family secrets involving The Company