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The Hidden People Hardcover – 6 Oct 2016

4.1 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books (6 Oct. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848669909
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848669901
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 3.3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Littlewood does a great job writing in a quasi-Victorian manner throughout and the twist is brilliant (Daily Mail)

Suitably strange with a twist (Kirkus Reviews)

This is an intriguing and unsettling scenario. Littlewood's descriptions are picturesque and her prose convincingly dated and beautifully lyrical (Sunday Express)

Hypnotic and intelligent with buckets of atmosphere . . . Littlewood expertly weaves themes of misogyny and mythology into a psychological page-turner that feels both familiar and fresh (SFX)

This magical murder-mystery blends the supernatural with the psychological ... surprising, moving and rewarding (Daily Express)

A skilful blend of the supernatural and the psychological . . . If you enjoyed Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke and the Woman in Black by Susan Hill, this is one for you (Mature Times)

A sense of tension makes The Hidden People deeply uneasy reading, and it's to Littlewood's credit that she sustains this uncertainty so cleverly, without landing on one explanation or the other till the whole of her tremendous tale is told . . . As mesmerising as it is magical, and as quickening as it is at times sickening, The Hidden People is, at the last, an excellent successor to Littlewood's darkly-sparkling debut (Tor.com)

The novel has a strange and dreamlike quality to it, almost as if a fog is hanging over the town, and when combined with the bizarre townsfolk and the disturbing mystery at its center, it makes for a book that disturbs the reader as new dimensions unfold piece by piece (Barnes and Noble)

Littlewood weaves a plot that's as complex as any contemporary thriller, made more labyrinthine by the supernatural elements; a tense atmosphere permeates the novel, growing in strength to become more disturbing with each passing chapter . . . Anyone expecting a gore-fest or a fairy apocalypse will be disappointed, but for those wanting to observe how subtle psychological horror can be, how the deepest fears can be contained in the smallest of actions, and that the gothic novel is still incredibly powerful even in these modern times, this is the book for them. (Starburst Magazine)

A dark Victorian gothic murder-mystery novel with a chillingly authentic feel (Choice Magazine)

Definitely ticks all the boxes . . . a brilliant story full of mystery, murder and intrigue (Garbage-file)

The Hidden People deftly drops readers into a bygone world where wise women dabble in foretelling the future and sharing herbal concoctions; hobgoblins, changelings and fairies are evident, if you know how to look; and folktales and fantasies can pervade the mind, bringing on delusions and misconceptions that threaten to overwhelm even the most logically minded soul (Shelf Awareness)

An enjoyable, dark tale. It is an intriguing Victorian murder mystery filled with interesting themes surrounding folklore and superstition in the 19th century, along with some unforgettable characters (Owl on the Bookshelf)

Perfect . . . a story that's exquisitely unsettling (Blue Book Balloon)

Alison Littlewood is one of the brightest stars in the horror genre at the moment . . . The Hidden People is impeccably written, quiet, evocative horror. It's yet another must buy from Littlewood. (This is Horror)

The atmosphere Alison Littlewood conjures up in The Hidden People is absorbing and there's a real sense of foreboding, you feel the fairies might show themselves at any moment. (Irish News)

A brilliant novel (Tim Lebbon)

The time and place are evoked with exquisite minute detail that I was swept up in it all - never has the phrase ' away with the fairies" seemed more apt (The Book Trail)

The time stops completely, as a reader you're forced to take in all the sounds and sights...You'll constantly question who's bonkers and whether you'll actually meet a real fairy in the story . . . If it wasn't published in October 2016 but rather in early 1900s, it would easily be one of the classics now. (Cover to Cover)

[Littlewood] writes the books I love - fairy tales, folklore and mystery all seamlessly woven together (The Bookish Outsider)

The story is utterly atmospheric, full of the kind of beautiful, exquisite detail that slowly creeps up on you. Littlewood also writes wonderfully and has a flair for bringing a historical setting to life (Bibliosanctum)

Beautifully atmospheric. It's not so much shock-and-awe jump-scare horror as a slow, creeping buildup of wrongness that she creates by subtly weaving together details. She paints a vivid picture of Halfoak, and then starts to tear it apart, bit by bit. (SF Revu)

A meticulously imagined novel of a bourgeois London gentleman investigating a northern cousin's immolation under similar circumstances. In Yorkshire, Albert Mirrals gradually finds that the rational explanations he once entertained for what he believes was his cousin's murder - domestic violence, jealousies - become entwined with the lyrical madness of possession. Quotations from Yeats and other poets magnify the effects of Littlewood's carefully period prose (Seattle Review of Books)

Littlewood weaves a great story here, with plenty of questions and atmosphere to keep readers turning the pages.The story was compelling, the characters interesting and complex, and it was an evocative novel that's going to have a solid place of my bookshelves from now on. Definitely recommended for those who are looking for something beyond typical urban fantasy fare, for those who enjoy historical fiction, and also, for those like me who have a soft spot for genre-breaking fiction that leaves you hungry for more (Bibliotropic)

The characters and story itself were absolutely fantastic! An amazing mystery that messes with your mind and keeps you wondering what is happening from start to end . . . incredibly well thought out and put together (Roadside Reader)

Littlewood has a real talent. The Hidden People is one of the most well written books I have read this year (The Quillery)

This is a super creepy read whether you want to believe or not (Den of Geek)

The perfect October read (Books, Bones & Buffy)

There's an amazing sense of place and time in this novel, as Littlewood perfectly captures the literary style, attitudes, and class consciousness of Victorian England (Publishers Weekly)

One of those books that you will probably read over the course of a single night and wonder in the morning where the time has gone . . . The Hidden People is an intriguing piece of work that takes its cue from complex mythology and superstition to weave a timeless story that equally delights and disturbs. (Upcoming4.me)

The quality of the writing makes the introductory passages soar, with landscapes populated by flora and the villagers' closed community depicted with all its questionable traditions . . . I found the book a particular joy to read (Gary Fry)

Book Description

The bestselling author of Richard & Judy Book Club hit The Cold Season returns with a chilling mystery - where superstition and myth bleed into real life with tragic consequences . . .

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A dream like drama full of folklore and fairies that will capture you in its summer spell. A wonderful tale beautifully told
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Format: Hardcover
The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood is a remarklably well written book, but it needs to find the right audience or else it risks being underappreciated.

Littlewood’s debut novel, “A Cold Season” was a bestseller and featured on the Richard and Judy book club. It was modern, well-paced and full of conflict and threat. Its sequel, “A Cold Season” was along the same lines. The Hidden People is a very different affair, and those picking it up expecting it to be along the same lines, might be surprised at how different it is.

The best way I can summarise it is: Do you like the works of Thomas Hardy? If you do, then this book will blow you away. It’s set in the 19th century with engaging, believable characters. The style of writing is as elegant and fulsome as Hardy’s was. I would describe it as a modern day classical book.

But therein lies the problem: Hardy is a difficult read for many people. There’s less focus on characters and more on the plot and describing the beautiful countryside. Littlewood’s book is prose-heavy. It definitely demands the reader sits down and pays attention, and probably isn’t suitable for those wanting something to dip in and out of because of the level of detail in it. For the most part, it is well-written prose, but there were times when I felt it was too overdone. For example, page 34 has the following line: “After all, of warning of what I should find in their outhouse they had given me none.” After reading this, I couldn’t help thinking: Wouldn’t “After all, they had given me no warning whatsoever about what I should find in their outhouse” have done just as well and been much clearer?
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Hidden People was a book that I heard about back in May at the Headline and Quercus Autumn highlights event and I was very intrigued to read it.

Lizzie Higgs has been burnt by her husband who believed her to be a changeling, a fairy who was not part of this world. But is she actually a changeling as her husband thought she was? When her cousin Albert hears of her death, despite having only met her once, he takes it upon himself to go to Yorkshire to sort out her affairs, feeling guilty he did not make more of an effort to see her when she was alive. However once there the mystery surrounding her death is not something Albert can't ignore, but in a place where superstition and reality are blurred, he begins to wonder if the hidden people are more real than he thinks.

The Hidden People had a very Victorian Gothic vibe and reminded me very much of Wuthering Heights, which actually has a side role in this story. This was also very much felt in the atmosphere that was created around the story. It really did have that mysterious and eery feel to the story. It felt as if at any moment a fairy would appear and like Albert, our sense of what was real and what was unreal started to become questionable.

The villagers in Halfoak always remain elusive to Albert and the reader, this is in part due to Albert's snobbishness, but we learn enough to know that the characters are shifty and not to be trusted. There is always that sense of unease and the not knowing what to believe.

Although we already know who Lizzie's murderer is, we still don't know how exactly her murder came about.
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By Bookaholic TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Nov. 2016
Format: Hardcover
This was a book with which I really struggled. I don't think I ever really got into it. Set in Victorian times, sane & sensible Albie goes up north to arrange his cousin's funeral. Whilst there he discovers that her death was due to various superstitions in the area about fairies and changelings. His wife joins him and Albie gets caught up in the rather strange world of the village of Halfoak where nothing is quite what it seems.
This is a book that meanders from beginning to end and most particularly in the middle. Albie meaders around the village and local area listening to gossip and half believing it. When his wife turns up her behaviour becomes even stranger and it seems as if it is being put down to fairies....or is it?
The problem is that nothing happens. Albie talks to a wildwoman, the windower of his cousin and various people in the village. He wanders up and down Pudding Pye Hill supposedly seeing and hearing things but the reader is never quite sure. This seems to be the story. Just when I thought something was bound to happen as Albie has wandered up the hill again, it didn't. Just when he crept out at night to face down two people in the dark, he didn't. The most exciting thing was that his wife wandered around in her nightgown for no apparent reason. The crux of the matter was why did Albie stay in the first place? Why did he stay in his cousin's cottage with his wife getting seemingly more depressed by the day? Any sensible man in that position would have just gone home. Very odd.
I didn't grasp the character of Albie or his wiffe particularly. In fact I felt all the characters were generally all quite wooden with little personality or emotion.
The ending of the book was most unsatisfactory. So much was left unexplained.
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