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ebook / ISBN-13: 9780349007229

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The Orchard on Fire is probably Mackay’s most perfect book’ PHILIP HENSHER, GUARDIAN

‘A bitter-sweet, gentle novel, not given to grandstanding or preaching’ TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

‘Shena Mackay has brought off something quite rare’ ANITA BROOKNER, SPECTATOR

‘What made the orchard miraculous was an abandoned railway carriage, set down as if by magic, its wheels gone, anchored by long grass and nettles. Ruby and I stared at it and each other . . . dark-windowed, out of place in a thicket of thorns, it was the perfect hide-out, house, the camp of our dreams’

When April’s parents move from London to rural Kent she makes her first best friend. With flame-haired, fearless Ruby, April shares secrets, dares and laughter. But Ruby has secrets of her own – bruises that she hides.

Also seeking April’s friendship is old Mr Greenidge, immaculate in his linen suit, with eyes like blue glass. He follows her around the village with his beguiling dachshund, and wants to learn everything about her.

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Wholly delightful . . . Shena Mackay is an assured artist
A. N. Wilson, Evening Standard
A harvest festival of sensuous detail, intimate, rich . . . Compulsively readable
Daily Telegraph
A celebration of childhood as well as a mourning for the loss of innocence . . . a bitter-sweet, gentle novel, not given to grandstanding or preaching, but shot through with humour and compassion. Her writing brilliantly captures the spirit of the place, where every present sensation has ghostly overtones that make the experience all the more sad and lovely
Times Literary Supplement
So touched with magic, so achingly sad and funny that my breath was taken away . . . wonderful
Elizabeth Buchan, The Times
Shena Mackay has brought off something quite rare . . . the author has set out a rite of passage which will leave few readers unaffected
Anita Brookner, Spectator
An eloquent, beautifully written, unpretentious novel about a Fifties childhood . . . Mackay moved this reader to tears, not from grief but from joy. Now there's a skill
Fay Weldon, Mail on Sunday
An extremely beautiful and funny novel . . . The Orchard on Fire is probably Mackay's most perfect book, produced with a technical adroitness and shapeliness which one can only envy
Philip Hensher, Guardian
Totally authentic, agonisingly nostalgic, this poignant everyday story of Fifties folk has the power to lay bare everyone's susceptibility to the ghosts that forever teem around the scenes of our childhood
Val Hennessy, Daily Mail
Shena Mackay is a writer in prime: at the height of her powers . . . Her prose is flawlessly seductive and comic, confidently witty and sensual
Julie Myerson, Independent on Sunday