It’s publication day for The Animals at Lockwood Manor, the gripping and atmospheric tale of family madness, long-buried secrets and hidden desires, written by debut author Jane Healey.

The novel was a dark and gothic contribution to the blazing summer of 2018 when it sold in a seven-way auction to Mantle / Pan Macmillan, who publish in glorious hardback, complete with a Waterstones special edition, signed with stencilled edges.

It’s not just us who have fallen in love with this mysterious love story either; A J Pearce, author of Dear Mrs Bird called it “a rich story full of tension and darkness” saying The star of the novel is the claustrophobic Manor itself, which casts a shadow over every page and hides a truly horrible secret. Atmospheric and disquieting, The Animals at Lockwood Manor is an ideal book club read.”

The novel has also already been featured in the Sunday Times and The Independent.

Some secrets are unspoken. Others are unspeakable . . .

August 1939. thirty-year-old Hetty Cartwright is tasked with the evacuation and safekeeping of the natural history museum’s collection of mammals. Once she and her exhibits arrive at Lockwood Manor, however, where they are to stay for the duration of the war, Hetty soon realizes that she’s taken on more than she’d bargained for.

Protecting her charges from the irascible Lord Lockwood and resentful servants is work enough, but when some of the animals go missing, and worse, Hetty begins to suspect someone – or something – is stalking her through the darkened corridors of the house.

As the disasters mount, Hetty finds herself falling under the spell of Lucy, Lord Lockwood’s beautiful but clearly haunted daughter. But why is Lucy so traumatized? Does she know something she’s not telling?

And is there any truth to local rumours of ghosts and curses?

Its author, Jane Healey, has been shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize 2013, the Costa Short Story Award 2014, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2016 and the Penguin Random House WriteNow mentoring programme 2017.  She was named after Jane Eyre, but was initially too frightened of the ghost in the red-room to read beyond the second chapter.

We’re pleased Jane eventually embraced all things gothic with this wonderful debut!