Today Orion publish the UK paperback edition of Essie Fox’s enchanting novel THE LAST DAYS OF LEDA GREY which follows the life of a mysterious silent film actress and the turbulent events that left her isolated for over fifty years.
Follow this link for a look at the stunning trailer for the book.
On its initial publication last year it was selected as The Times’ Book of the Month. Antonia Senior described it as ‘luminous … with a sensuousness to the prose … Leda Grey’s world is utterly beguiling.’
During the oppressive heat wave of 1976 a young journalist, Ed Peters, finds an Edwardian photograph in a junk shop in the seaside town of Brightland. It shows an alluring, dark-haired girl, an actress whose name was Leda Grey. Enchanted by the image, Ed learns Leda Grey is still living - now a recluse in a decaying cliff-top house she once shared with a man named Charles Beauvois, a director of early silent film. As Beauvois's muse and lover, Leda often starred in scenes where stage magic and trick photography were used to astonishing effect.
But, while playing a cursed Egyptian queen, the fantasies captured on celluloid were echoed in reality, leaving Leda abandoned and alone for more than half a century - until the secrets of her past result in a shocking climax, more haunting than any to be in found in the silent films of Charles Beauvois.
Essie’s debut novel, THE SOMNAMBULIST, was shortlisted at the National Book Awards for New Writer of the Year, and was also picked up by TV Book Club. It has been published by Castelvechi in Italy and Damm in Sweden. Her other dazzling historical novels have also received glowing reviews. The Independent praised ELIJAH’S MERMAID for being ‘deliciously unsettling’ and John Koski from the Daily Mail You Magazine commended THE GODDESS AND THE THIEF as a ‘brilliantly imagined and wonderfully sustained piece of storytelling’.
Visit Essie Fox's website here
Visit Essie Fox's blog The Virtual Victorian here
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Praise for THE LAST DAYS OF LEDA GREY
'...luminous...there is a sensuousness to the prose...Leda Grey's world is utterly beguiling.' -- Antonia Senior, The Times Book of the Month
‘a deliciously eerie affair…a story of obsession, jealousy, mysterious deaths and theatrically supernatural goings on as very strange truths are tantalisingly revealed’ – The Sunday Express
'Fans of Daphne du Maurier will love this haunting, atmospheric novel about a silent film actress: I was hooked from Page 1!' - Jane Harris, author of THE OBSERVATIONS and SUGAR MONEY
‘Essie Fox writes with passion and authority…bring[ing] to life some of the film stories of yesteryear, giving the reader a tantalising glimpse into the intriguing world of cinema history. Evocative and haunting, this story is beautifully told, it is multi-layered and hugely engaging. The characters are rich, mysterious and surprising and the setting is fabulous…The author has created a stifling atmosphere…so inventive, so surprising and quite enchanting.’ -- Random Things Through My Letter Box
‘Dark, haunting, compelling…equal to Daphne du Maurier’s novels. This book held me in its grip. Loved it.’ -- Liz Fenwick
‘Spent a sunny day hunched tensely over THE LAST DAYS OF LEDA GREY...Macabre, transporting, thick with atmosphere and allusion.’ -- Morgan McCarthy
‘I loved THE LAST DAYS OF LEDA GREY, I was haunted by it … a memorable and spooky read.’ – Barbara Erskine