A real wow of a first novel. The premise is alarmingly simple and yet somehow stunning: seven portraits, seven artists, seven girls and women reading . . . A wonderful, imaginative evocation of seven different worlds . . . It's very rare for a novel to have a real freshness and originality but at the same time to evoke echoes of other literary memories. This feels incredibly clever. It's a book packed full of adventures and stories and you completely lose yourself in them . . . This book's great strength: the perfect, separate, involving worlds it creates. Like Mitchell, Ward is equally adept at shifting between completely different registers and voices . . . It [has] real beating heart . . . It will be fascinating to see what she writes next
This richly textured novel is composed of seven stories inspired by portraits
An impressive debut
A debut of rare individuality and distinction. Katie Ward inhabits each of her seven scenes, her seven eras, with a fluent and intuitive touch, and sentence by sentence, deft and mercurial, she surpasses the readers' expectations. What is set down on the page has a rich and allusive hinterland, so that the reader's imagination has a space to work, and what is unsaid has its own fascination. The writing is full of light and shadow, alive with fresh and startling perceptions. Ward is wise, poised, and utterly original. Her eye and her words are fresh, as if she is inventing the world.