"Utterly gripping reading... You are in for a treat" (Literary Review)
"DJ Taylor creates characters who have dynamic spirit and capture the imagination, while the story has the tension of a thriller, the sensitivity of a romance and the wit of an idiosyncratic adventure" (Easy Living)
"Ambitious and immensely accomplished ... above all a meditation on selfhood and memory" (Guardian)
"A highly accomplished novel. It is engrossingly plotted, and its depiction of the vibrant decade leading to the 1929 Crash offers an interesting parallel to our own times" (Simon Humphreys Mail on Sunday) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Inside Flap
1904. A pretty young woman travels apprehensively across the American prairies; on a whim she makes a bold decision, grabbing her future with both hands. A lonely little boy, growing up a world away between-stairs in an Edwardian country house, has his future decided for him by impending war and an old woman who parcels him off to her eccentric brother in the flatlands of Norfolk.
A quarter of a century later, in the brightly coloured world of London high life, Alice Keach is queen among society hostesses. Her face stares from every gossip column. Behind her lie a marriage to a wealthy landowner, and a career as a celebrated actress. But Alice has a secret, whose roots run five thousand miles away to that Kansas train-ride, and a chain of connection with the potential to blow her comfortable existence apart. A half-hearted blackmailer making his way across the Atlantic; a watchful teenage boy observing the birth of a lucrative new colour in a Norfolk pigpen; a Bright Young woman coming to terms with an unsatisfactory marriage; a country house party that ends in tragedy; a sensational murder trial: all these are gathered up in the story of Alice's rise and fall.
Ranging from the Dakota badlands to the drawing rooms of Mayfair, and from the Norfolk back-lanes to the casting couches of the Edwardian theatre, Ask Alice is a remarkable novel of concealment, subterfuge and revelation, depth-charged with wit and intrigue, and dominated by its characters' gradual awareness that the choices which confront them have the capacity to change their lives.
From the Back Cover
Kept: A Victorian Mystery
'A pageturner of the highest order... a genuine mystery - not a simple whodunnit but a constant revelation of a complex and tight-knit plot' Philippa Gregory, The Times
'A great read. It intrigues, diverts and delights' Susan Hill, Guardian
'An absorbing book, written with an intelligence and wit that compliments and rewards the reader' John Keenan, Guardian
'Haunting, funny and altogether remarkable' Jane Shilling, Daily Telegraph
The Comedy Man
'A masterly reconstruction of a vanished age' Andrew Barrow, Spectator
'Ravishing in its historical sweep...as a state of the nation novel, it is state of the art' Christopher Bray, Mail on Sunday