Cruel Habitations

Time Warner Paperback, 2001
ISBN 0751525332
Little, Brown, 2000 (Hardback)
ISBN: 0316646229

April 1989: sisters Alison and Jacquie Barnett take a holiday to Greece neither of them will ever forget. For Alison falls in love, a love that is to define both their lives...

Eleven years later, Sophie and Chris Lilburn leave London for a new life in Westmead, and a teaching job for Chris at the local cathedral school. But their delight is tempered by Sophie's longing for a child, by the sinister gossips who exercise control over the community, and by the unsolved murder of a young woman...

When Jacquie's father dies, she discovers he has split everything equally with her sister, whom no one has seen for eleven years. And Jacquie, desperate for the money, has no choice but to try to trace her. It is a journey that takes her to Westmead, and stirs old emotions that will once more put lives in danger...

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"The book abounds with well-drawn characters, with the type of probing of their psyches that one finds in books by Elizabeth George. As a quote on the book jacket (from the Guardian, London) says, Charles' books are 'a blood-stained version of the world of Barbara Pym'. What more could an Anglophile reader want?"
(G. Hall, BookLoons Reviews)

"With her rich cast of well-developed characters and eloquent prose, British author Charles (Strange Children; Unruly Passions; etc.) once again creates an absorbing mystery sure to appeal..."
(Publishers Weekly)