‘Fox's vivid, sensual prose … is as seductive as a siren's song’ – Heat Magazine
Essie Fox’s latest novel, THE LAST DAYS OF LEDA GREY - A bewitching novel about an enigmatic silent film actress, and the volatile love affair that left her a recluse for over half a century - is published in the UK by Orion today.
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.
THE LAST DAYS OF LEDA GREY was chosen as The Times Newspaper’s October Book of the Month. The Times describes the novel as “luminous … with a sensuousness to the prose … Leda Grey’s world is utterly beguiling.”
Follow this link for a look at the stunning trailer for the book.
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 and optioned by Hat Trick Productions. It is also published by Castelvecchi in Italy and Damm in Sweden and sold to Bertrand in Brazil. Her other novels, ELIJAH'S MERMAID and THE GODDESS AND THE THIEF have received a swathe of glowing reviews.
See Essie Fox's website here
See Essie Fox's blog The Virtual Victorian here
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
‘an ethereal fantasy which is both seductive and tragic…the intensely sensual and untamed echoes of the past come alive in The Last Days of Leda Grey…an exquisitely written, tantalising mystery heaving with imagination, atmosphere and drama…Bravo!’ -- Little Bookness Lane
‘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
‘This enchanting story transports you into the past to discover the haunting truth behind Leda’s past- which is far more dramatic than any of the silent films she starred in’ -- Jenny Freeman, Essentials
“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
'Have just read THE LAST DAYS OF LEDA GREY and have woken up in a haze of incense with a beaded shawl over my head … the flickering images, the shadowy figures, and the ghostly backdrop of Brighton … will tingle and chill you in equal measure.” -- The Booktrail
“Noir meets gothic in this fantastic book … a dark and brooding narrative that is bristling with suspense and atmosphere.” -- Book and Brew
“Descriptions were amazing …really felt as if I was there in that house, both in the past and the present of the 1970’s. Very very clever!” -- Jenn Ashworth
“It’s hypnotic!” -- Kellie Jackson, Words Away
“Darkly sparkling. Very much enjoyed my days in Leda’s twilight world. Doubt I’ll sleep all that well tonight…” -- Anna Mazzola
“Wonderfully creepy tale. Leda is a triumph.” -- Vanessa Lafaye
Praise for ELIJAH'S MERMAID:
'[ELIJAH'S MERMAID] delights in the underworld and the exotica of Victorian Britain... Memorable and unusual.' -- Nick Rennison, Sunday Times
'Dark secrets, hidden pasts and childhood mysteries are the focus in this sensual melodrama...an entertaining slice of Victoriana, rich in historical detail...a tale of obsessive love and betrayal.' -- Marie Claire Magazine
Praise for THE SOMNAMBULIST:
'Gothic Victorian tale of complicated thespian lives, old secrets and many a twist and turn. It's an absorbing easy read, well worth recommending.' -- The Bookseller
'Essie Fox's debut novel paints a vivid picture of Victorian Times.' -- The Star