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The Red Bird Sings

McKitterick Prize, 2024

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780349016665

Price: £9.99

ON SALE: 6th April 2023

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Historical Fiction

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A prize-winning, spine-tingling gothic suspense novel based on a real-life murder trial in 1897 West Virginia



A novel that demands you turn the pagesTHE TIMES, BEST HISTORICAL FICTION
A gothic mystery pulsing with suspense MAIL ON SUNDAY
An intense, memorable tale SUNDAY TIMES
I was tenterhooked from the very first to the very last page‘ JO BROWNING WROE, author of A Terrible Kindness
A glorious tour de force – gorgeous and moving IRISH AMERICA
Truly superb‘ VICTORIA MACKENZIE, author of For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain

West Virginia, 1897. Young newlywed Zona Heaster Shue is found dead in her house, in what seems to have been a tragic accident. However, her mother, Mary Jane, is convinced Zona was murdered – and by none other than Zona’s husband, Trout, the handsome blacksmith beloved in their small Southern town.

But when Trout is put on trial, no one believes he could have done it, apart from Mary Jane and Zona’s best friend Lucy, who was always suspicious of Trout. As the trial raises to fever pitch and the men of Greenbrier County stand aligned against them, Mary Jane and Lucy must decide whether to reveal Zona’s greatest secret in the service of justice. But it’s Zona herself, from beyond the grave, who still has one last revelation to make.

*The Red Bird Sings was announced as the winner of the Kate O’Brien Award 2024 on 25/02/24

Readers love THE RED BIRD SINGS:

Amazing READER REVIEW ★★★★★

‘This book has so much: feisty feminist characters ahead of their time, ghosts, historical drama, justice,
beautiful writing‘ READER REVIEW ★★★★★

Very compelling . . . not one to be missed! READER REVIEW ★★★★★

A haunting story of love, revenge and grief‘ READER REVIEW ★★★★★

Difficult to put down READER REVIEW ★★★★★


A beautifully crafted novel about loss, faith and justice set against the backdrop of 19th century West Virginia. I was transported into the worlds of Mary Jane, Lucy and Zona and into the life of women at that time, where their word meant so little compared to a man's. I had to keep reading to find out what happened whilst also not wanting it to end. A brilliant debut
Alison Stockham, author of The Cuckoo Sister
A sparkling, unusual novel that demands you turn the pages. The spirits tell me that this Irish debut author is a talent to watch
Antonia Senior, The Times
The trial thrills the most, with its combative lawyers, sickening jeopardy and gasp-worthy reveals
Daily Telegraph
Written with a compelling, lyrical intensity, The Red Bird Sings is a historical drama whose characters are full of a a suppressed fury, and haunted by a need for justice. A deeply felt and accomplished debut
Anne Enright
Intense [and] memorable
Sunday Times
Stunning . . . Fitzpatrick unspools an uneasy shimmering tale of coercive control, spiritualism and staunch friendship. It's a brilliant take on Southern Gothic . . . simmers with suspense and suspicion
Irish Daily Mail
Aoife Fitzpatrick gives voice to a murdered woman in this powerful, unflinching study of domestic brutality. The elegant, masterful prose hums with the righteous fury of women who cannot be contained and will not be silenced. This is not a whodunnit or a whydunnit, but a willhegetawaywith it, where the thrill of the reveal is how the murderer will be nailed for his crime, and boy does Fitzpatrick deliver! When Zona finally speaks, her voice hits like a punch. But this is a tender book too; at its core is the moving tale of a mother's ferocious love for her child. A triumph
Nikki Marmery, author of On Wilder Seas
I was tenterhooked from the very first to the very last page
Jo Browning Wroe, author of A Terrible Kindness
A stunning debut
Daily Mail
An historical courtroom drama and ghost story that had me on tenterhooks until the very end. Fitzpatrick has a magpie's eye for detail and eccentricity, her prose shines... and she gives us a feminist heroine, a girl with a typewriter and a bicycle, whose loyalty and courage make her unstoppable. I loved The Red Bird Sings
Aingeala Flannery, author of THE AMUSEMENTS
I loved The Red Bird Sings ... a haunting story of love, revenge and grief
Stacey Thomas, author of The Revels
A beautifully paced retelling of the nineteenth century real life murder in West Virginia of Zona Shue. Through the voices of her distraught mother, Mary Jane, her childhood friend and would-be journalist, Lucy Frye, and Zona herself, in the form of letters and visions, it explores feminist themes that are contemporary and important. An utterly engrossing read, I adored it. Aoife Fitzpatrick is a powerful new voice in historical fiction
Paula McGrath
An absolutely beautifully written story. Aoife Fitzpatrick's prose just lifts straight off the page and transports you to 1897 Virginia, where Zona Heaster's Shue's story is told by the women who loved her, despite efforts to silence her forever
Cailean Steed, author of HOME
Seriously stupendous ... A read-late-into-the-night tense, well-up-weeping touching, truly transformational read
Meg Clothier, author of The Book of Eve
Excellent, immersive historical fiction inspired by a true story. Beautifully written, this is a brilliant novel that asks questions that we're still trying to answer today
Louise Hare, author of Miss Aldridge Regrets
Exceptional... What a treat. It's that rare beast: beautiful and literary with an extremely compelling and readable plot
Nicola Garrard, author of 29 Locks
A masterful debut
Image magazine
An atmospheric debut that keeps you turning pages right until the end. Loved it
Julie Owen Moylan, author of That Green Eyed Girl
Beautifully crafted ... wholly convincing in its historical detail and tone
Sarah Gilmartin, author of Dinner Party
Truly superb... Compelling and lyrical in equal measure
Victoria MacKenzie, author of For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain
I was spellbound by this incredibly accomplished piece of historical feminist fiction. Thrilling and beautifully written
Jennie Godfrey, author of THE LIST OF SUSPICIOUS THINGS
A gothic mystery pulsing with suspense, it highlights domestic abuse and the silencing of women's voices
Mail on Sunday