The Ophelia Girls: A Novel (Paperback)

The Ophelia Girls: A Novel By Jane Healey Cover Image

The Ophelia Girls: A Novel (Paperback)


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A mother’s secret past and her daughter’s present collide in this richly atmospheric novel from the acclaimed author of The Animals at Lockwood Manor.

In the summer of 1973, Ruth and her four friends were obsessed with Pre-Raphaelite paintings—and a little bit obsessed with each other. Drawn to the cold depths of the river by Ruth’s house, the girls pretend to be the drowning Ophelia, with increasingly elaborate tableaux. But by the end of that fateful summer, real tragedy finds them along the banks.

Twenty-four years later, Ruth returns to the suffocating, once-grand house she grew up in, the mother of young twins and seventeen-year-old Maeve, whose leukemia is recently in remission. Joining the family in the country is Stuart, Ruth’s childhood friend, who is quietly insinuating himself into their lives and gives Maeve the attention she longs for. She is unsure of her place in the world now that she is cancer-free. Her parents just want her to be an ordinary teenage girl. But what teenage girl is ordinary?

Alternating between the two fateful summers, The Ophelia Girls is a suspense-filled exploration of mothers and daughters, illicit desire, and the perils and power of being a young woman.

JANE HEALEY studied writing in the MFA program at CUNY Brooklyn College and is the author of the novel The Animals at Lockwood Manor, winner of the HWA Debut Crown Award. Her short fiction has been short-listed for the Bristol Short Story Prize, the Costa Short Story Award, and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She lives in Edinburgh.
Product Details ISBN: 9780358697435
ISBN-10: 0358697433
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: July 5th, 2022
Pages: 384
Language: English

Deliciously atmospheric and brilliantly constructed, The Ophelia Girls tugs at the reader from the very first page until its satisfying finish. Engrossing and rich in imagery, Jane Healey writes the way dreams feel. I loved it.” —Elissa R. Sloan, author of The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes     “Set over the course of two stifling British summers, The Ophelia Girls is a dreamy exploration of the interior life of teenage girls and the tangled relationship between mothers and daughters.  In her hypnotic prose Jane Healey captures the slipperiness of the adolescence experience, the thirst young women have for independence, and the sometimes perilous ways they attempt to define themselves.  A siren song of a novel, The Ophelia Girls seduces as much as it disturbs.”   —Ellie Eaton, author of The Divines     “A bruising and beautiful novel about girlhood and desire. Set over two heady summers, The Ophelia Girls perfectly captures the power and vulnerability of being a teenage girl. Within its flower-strewn pages, girls float carelessly down rivers and fall in love with devastating consequences. It's an immersive and intoxicating summer read with the long-lasting feel of a classic. I was captivated by it.” —Molly Aitken, author of The Island Child     " The Ophelia Girls is a novel saturated with beauty, menace, longing, secrets-- and with passions deep enough to drown in. It's a sinister, suspenseful page-turner that gripped me tightly and still hasn't fully let go." —Clare Beams, author of The Illness Lesson   "Sensual and lush, The Ophelia Girls captures the dangerous power of approaching the world with an artist's eye, of seeing others and being truly seen in turn. Jane Healey's prose holds the haunting beauty of pre-Raphaelite paintings, paired with a page-turning exploration of girlhood, secrets, desire, and art." —Sara Flannery Murphy, author of The Possessions   "Those seeking stories of female coming-of-age and how experiences of sexuality and death can shape teenage girls into the women they later become will find much to explore in The Ophelia Girls."Booklist   "A lush, seductive portrait of desire."Publishers Weekly     —