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  • Published: 2 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241986745
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $22.99


A coming-of-age novel about love and obsession, set in a silent convent in 1950s Italy

Isabella is worldly, alluring and brazen. Everything that Bridget is not. So when they both receive an offer to study at a silent convent in Northern Italy, Bridget is thrilled. This is her ticket away from Connecticut and a chance to spend nine whole months with her glamorous and unpredictable best friend. But as the year rolls on in decadent isolation, Bridget grows increasingly fearful that she will lose Isabella's affections - and the more desperate she gets, the greater the lengths she will go to keep her.

Belladonna is a hypnotizing, sun-drenched coming-of age story of friendship and obsession, desire and betrayal, and the lies we tell in order to belong.

  • Published: 2 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241986745
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $22.99

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Praise for Belladonna

This raw and tender tale brims with vivid prose, whether the lush descriptions of the Italian countryside or Bridget's tortured intimate thoughts. A searingly honest coming of age story which steals your heart

Sunday Mirror

Eleanor Catton's The Rehearsal meets Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides meets Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr Ripley, this unputdownable and lush novel had me entranced and totally absorbed in the woozy, covertly sensual world of a 1950s Italian convent. Anbara Salam has a gimlet-eyed, ferocious talent for capturing the obsessive urgency and convolutions of power and desire in adolescent experience

Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti

I was completely captivated. Thrillingly ambitious, moving, painful and insightful. Bridget broke my heart, she's an alarmingly relatable anti heroine, and I think this book has captured something unique about the experience of jealousy, betrayal and the muddied waters that lie between friendship and obsessive love. It reminded me of The Talented Mr Ripley, but told with acute sensitivity and emotional intelligence

Daisy Buchanan

A moving tale about identity, love, and loss. Anbara Salam unspools a compelling narrative about a young woman struggling to find herself amid family secrets and her own hidden truths. It's the kind of emotionally rich story that stays with you

Anissa Gray, author of The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

The tender, exquisite prose brilliantly captures the feelings and fault lines in the girls' friendship. This is a discerning look at secret infatuation and racial prejudice

Publishers Weekly

I was utterly captivated, from first page to last

Anton DiSclafani, New York Times bestselling author of The After Party

Lush and languid, this sultry coming-of-age tale captures a fractured friendship and the yearnings of girlhood

Daily Mail

Reminiscent of the steamy passion found in The Talented Mr Ripley, this novel is a beguiling whirlwind of young love and obsession


A raw coming of age story, with heartfelt themes of racial prejudice and forbidden love

Best Magazine

An enthralling tale of race, secrets and the desire to belong