Cousins: Salley Vickers

★★★★

Despite having read only three of Salley Vickers’s earlier books, I’ve always had a soft spot for her work. I read Miss Garnet’s Angel at an impressionable age when I adored anything about Venice (as I still do), was intrigued by the romantic tension of Instances of the Number 3 (my edition had Leonardo’s Virgin and Child with St Anne on the cover: a surefire hit) and remember devouring Mr Golightly’s Holiday one Christmas beside a roaring fire. Her books always seem to have come to me at the right moment, veiled with a certain sense of enigma and spiritual mystery that has always appealed. Her new novel Cousins is cut from rather different cloth, stripping away the gentle religious undertones of these earlier novels and replacing them with a sensitive, probing exposé of a family’s secrets, unmasked in the aftermath of a terrible accident.

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