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From the best-selling author of Longbourn, a gripping novel of one young woman’s unraveling during the Blitz—a story of World War II intrigue, love, and danger • “[A] thrilling novel…atmospheric and memorable.” —Emma Donoghue, best-selling author of Haven
It is 1940 and twenty-year-old Charlotte Richmond watches from her attic window as enemy planes fly over London. Still grieving her beloved brother, who never returned from France, she is trying to keep herself out of trouble: holding down a typist job at the Ministry of Information, sharing gin and confidences with her best friend, Elena, and dodging her overbearing father.
On her way to work she often sees the boy who feeds the birds—a source of unexpected joy amid the rubble of the Blitz. But every day brings new scenes of devastation, and after yet another heartbreaking loss Charlotte has an uncanny sense of foreboding. Someone is stalking the darkness, targeting her friends. And now he’s following her.
As grief and suspicion consume her, Charlotte’s nerves become increasingly frayed. She no longer knows whom to trust. She can’t even trust herself . . .
Utterly riveting and hypnotic, The Midnight News is a love story, a war story, and an unforgettable journey into the fragile mind and fierce heart of an extraordinary young woman.
About the Author
JO BAKER was born in Lancashire and educated at Oxford University and Queen’s University Belfast. She is the author of the best-selling novel Longbourn, as well as The Body Lies; A Country Road, A Tree; The Undertow; The Telling; The Mermaid’s Child; and Offcomer. She lives in Lancaster, England.
“Baker’s thoroughly absorbing novel impresses on many levels. Like the war novels of Pat Barker and Sarah Waters, it brilliantly evokes the sustained horror and chaos of the times . . . Here she shrewdly examines madness and sanity, keeping her reader guessing . . . We follow Charlotte’s progress keenly to discover if, after coming undone, she is able to put herself back together.” —Malcolm Forbes, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Baker’s intriguing historical novel explores how the strain of wartime living can tip the balance between sanity and delusion, and how forging friendships can be a lifeline.” —Becky Meloan, Washington Post
“Weekend plans: clear your schedule, get a copy of The Midnight News by Jo Baker, and settle in. This is the kind of book you will want to read from start to finish in a couple days. That is, if you like historical fiction, World War II, good writing, and an interesting plot . . . Riveting.” —Wendy Migdal, Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star
“Jo Baker is a literary shapeshifter . . . Baker’s latest book, The Midnight News, integrates this protean quality into both its forms and themes. A vivid historical novel about London during the Blitz, it is also at times, or in parts, a mystery, a spy novel, a romance and a Bildungsroman . . . Jo Baker’s meticulous prose makes us feel the full weight of these hard truths, but with characteristic rigour she tests and explores, rather than proclaims faith in, the compensatory power of the novelist’s art.” —Rohan Maitzen, Times Literary Supplement
“A tense, atmospheric thriller that’s unlike any World War II novel you’ve read before . . . Baker is firmly in control, and voila, she pulls it off, wrapping up plotlines in surprising ways while returning The Midnight News to a war story, a love story and a commentary on social mores that remains relevant today.” —Alice Cary, BookPage
“Immersive, heartbreaking, and hard to put down, with an unforgettable heroine. Fans of Baker will enjoy the same compelling style the author is known for, and those who read World War II fiction will be delighted with her thorough research and fresh perspective on the period . . . Amid the tragedy, she leaves room for laughter, hope, and the comforts of chosen family.” —Cate Triola, Library Journal
“Arresting . . . Baker vividly portrays the surreal sight of London ravaged by the Blitz . . . This stands above run-of-the-mill WWII fare.” —Publishers Weekly
“Visceral . . . Powerfully evocative . . . Baker vividly depicts a young woman grappling with a mental-health crisis against the harrowing backdrop of the Blitz.” —Kristine Huntley, Booklist
“Exquisite, precise . . . It all fits together like clockwork . . . The Midnight News is a novel that succeeds both in creating pages that turn themselves, and in continually feeding the reader’s sense of wonder.” —John Self, Daily Telegraph
“This novel is exhilarating—a tour-de-force with graceful nuance . . . Gripping . . . Insightful . . . Baker has accomplished something remarkable—offering a fresh perspective on a setting that would seem to have already been exhausted by countless other creative representations . . . Poignant social commentary, with deeply moving personal stakes.” —Helen Cullen, Irish Times
“This is a tense and gripping psychological thriller . . . Beautifully done.” —Antonia Senior, The Times (London)
“A heroine to root for . . . As tense and elegantly plotted as a spy novel, Baker imbues her story with a deep well of tenderness.” —Eithne Farry, Mail on Sunday
“A blockbuster read . . . Tense and heart-rending . . . Devastating . . . The secondary characters are so well drawn they are deserving of books themselves . . . As historical fiction turns to mystery, then psychological thriller, Baker proves she is a master storyteller.” —Robert Epstein, i newspaper
“A glorious novel set in the Blitz, which is part thriller, part mystery . . . Clever and utterly compelling.” —Red
“Enthralling and very moving, it’s fascinating to be thrown into Charlotte’s war-torn world via this precisely imagined, suspenseful novel.” —Adele Parks, Platinum
“Both a mystery and a love story, this novel stayed with me a long time after I’d finished it.” —Joanne Finney, Good Housekeeping
“A wonderful novel that immersed me in the terror and heartbreak of wartime London. Atmospheric and totally gripping, with a mystery that had me puzzled right until the last moment. Absolutely superb.” —Louise Hare, author of This Lovely City
“Extremely well-researched and fearsomely well-written, The Midnight News takes us into the mind of Charlotte, a young woman striving to recover from loss while navigating her way through the hazards of the London Blitz. The bombing strikes close to Charlotte’s fragile heart—and throws up a mystery she feels compelled to solve. Jo Baker’s gripping storyline opens out into fascinating territory—the perception and treatment of mental illness in the 1940s—and ends with a truly touching love story. I have huge admiration for Jo Baker and what she has achieved in this novel.” —Frances Liardet, author of We Must Be Brave
“I love Jo Baker’s work—her writing is always so lyrical and delightful. The Midnight News is a beautiful, enthralling novel about a woman losing and finding herself again during World War II. I inhaled it feverishly.” —Anna-Marie Crowhurst, author of The Illumination of Ursula Flight
“As ever, Jo Baker’s writing gives us intellectual satisfaction and great narrative pleasure. I stayed up late reading and I was glad.” —Sarah Moss, author of Ghost Wall
“A beautifully written and deeply evocative novel about love and war, defiance and acquiescence, threaded through with a satisfyingly knotty mystery. I adored it.” —Eva Dolan, author of This Is How It Ends
“An intriguing and thrilling novel, believable in the tiniest details—I’ve read half a dozen novels set in the Blitz but this one is the most atmospheric and memorable. It had me by the throat.” —Emma Donoghue, best-selling author of Room and Haven
“A riveting and moving novel that masterfully captures the reality of wartime in all its sorrow and uncertainty as well as the light that can still be found in the dark and the beauty of lasting friendship.” —Nina Stibbe, author of Love, Nina
“Deep and dark and wonderful: a marvel of storytelling wrested from the black night of the twentieth century. Your heart will be in your mouth as you read.” —Francis Spufford, author of Light Perpetual
“Gripping, intriguing and evocative, The Midnight News is a darkly atmospheric story about a determined young woman trying to forge a life for herself in wartime London. When bombs start falling, Charlotte’s grip on reality starts slipping. But is she losing her mind because people she loves are dying, or is the chaos of the Blitz providing a cover for something more sinister? In a city where nothing is safe, who can she trust? This clever and accomplished novel is simultaneously a vivid evocation of London life during the Blitz, where secretaries struggle into work after digging bodies out of rubble; a late-night page-turner that will keep you guessing till the end, and a fascinating exploration of identity—and one woman’s fight to hang onto her own.” —Joanna Quinn, author of The Whalebone Theatre
“Jo Baker is one of my absolute favourite writers working today. She is that rare and precious thing: a literary writer with a poet’s eye for detail, an acute psychologist who creates characters who live, but also a brilliant storyteller who in The Midnight News tells both a love story and a mystery with increasing tension and dread. I read with a lump in my throat while the family dinner burnt.” —Natasha Solomons, author of The House at Tyneford
“Immediately immersive and utterly enthralling, The Midnight News is full of atmosphere and intrigue and tells a deeply moving story that is as surprising as it is satisfying.” —Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love
“The Midnight News approaches the story of the Blitz from a completely fresh angle. Both a captivating mystery and a moving insight into one woman’s experience, this book is a deeply immersive read. Baker is a master at evoking place and time in an incredibly personal, intimate way. A novel you won’t forget easily.” —Jan Carson, author of The Fire Starters