> Skip to content

A gripping, atmospheric novel from the acclaimed author of What Came Before that asks: how much should you do to help a stranger’s child?

‘Absolutely arresting. A story shaped by contemporary social inequalities, their chilling consequences and, above all, the powerful, life-affirming love of women for their own and other people's children.’ Zoe Morrison, author of Music and Freedom

Neve Ayres has always been so careful. Since her mother’s death when Neve was seven, she’s learned to look after herself and to keep her cards close. But now her deliberately constructed world has collapsed: her partner’s left her when she was eight months pregnant. And so, alone with her newborn son, she’s retreated to her cliff-top holiday house in coastal Flinders.

There, another child comes into her life.

The first time Neve sees Jessie, the small girl is playing on an empty stretch of beach. On the cold autumn day, she is bare-legged and alone, while her mother is distracted by her own troubles. At once, almost despite herself, Neve is intrigued and concerned, and Jessie is drawn to Neve’s kindness – and to her home.

To Neve’s surprise, Jessie becomes an unlikely source of much needed care for her and her baby. Having been lost in the sleepless haze of new motherhood, Neve is touched, and finds herself grappling with how to best help the forgotten girl. She has the spacious house, the full pantry, the resources . . . But how much can you – should you – do for a stranger’s child?

Beautifully written and emotionally compelling, The Lone Child is about parenting and judgement, loss and love. From the acclaimed author of What Came Before, this is a gripping, atmospheric novel that explores how the desire to mother, and to be mothered, can be overwhelmingly seductive.

'Absorbing and poignant, written with tenderness and insight, The Lone Child explores the formidable bonds between mother and child.' Sara Foster, author of The Hidden Hours

‘A sensitive evocation of the sometimes dark and disorienting nature of motherhood, George’s haunting tale reminds us of the redemptive power of human connection.’ Wendy James, author of The Golden Child

Reviews

Her writing lays bare the lives of women in the vein of recent psychological thrillers from the likes of Paula Hawkins and Aoife Clifford, but The Lone Child’s visceral, disorienting stew of Neve’s scattered thoughts are a singular, heady read.

Books+Publishing

Hauntingly good

Herald Sun

The Lone Child is a cracking read . . . An emotional pageturner. This is clever writing from a novelist with superior technical skills and a keen eye on her readers.

Saturday Paper

George’s writing is cool and elegant . . . There’s a surprising twist towards the end that adds an extra level of intrigue.

Thuy On, Weekend Australian

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9780670077748

    July 31, 2017

    Viking

    288 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781743482797

    July 31, 2017

    Penguin eBooks

    288 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Extract

Neve Ayres pretended she didn’t know the baby strapped to her chest. He was still crying, his thin, newly alive cry. She tried to focus on the metronomic wash of the sea and the pungent blankets of seagrass underfoot. The colours – rust, charcoal and mossy green. But the baby’s cries, caught on a gust, circled her head. Obliterating everything. She stopped, puffing. Damn her widowhood.

Maybe widowhood wasn’t quite the right word, but she didn’t know the term for losing a husband who wasn’t yours. That he was alive also made the term slightly inaccurate. However, these last twelve weeks that was definitely how she’d felt: widowed.

Continue Reading

Also by Anna George

What Came Before

Recommendations

The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
A Gentleman in Moscow
Echo Burning
Best Laid Plans
The Heart's Invisible Furies
The Girl on the Train
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Golden Age
The Golden House
Swing Time
The Bear and The Nightingale
The Mistress
The Girls
Tiger Men
Fifty Shades Darker
The Secret Vineyard
Ready Player One