The Schoolhouse is taut, gripping and intensely moving right until the very last page. I truly couldn't put Sophie Ward's beautifully written novel down
Queerness and deafness sit alongside themes of resilience and trust, making for an evocative, well-paced narrative that's sure to win her new readers
Ward proves she can construct a compelling, fast-moving narrative (with an extended action-packed denouement). What's best about her novels, however, is her gift for bringing characters to life, which means that whether her writing is disconcertingly strange or, as here, treads at times on over-familiar territory, it always delivers a real emotional impact.
The Schoolhouse is a real 'stand-out-from-the-crowd' book, with an absorbing plot from the get-go; part detective novel, part taut, cerebral thriller . . . A masterful rendition of the tensions and realities of human resilience and emotional frailty
A literary provocateur . . . [Ward writes with] considerable insight and humanity . . . this novel has much to say about childhood . . . Ward unpicks the damage caused not just by people intent on harm, but those around them who, blinded by idealism, prejudice or laziness, cannot see what is right before their eyes. Her anger is palpable, but so too is her compassion
The mysteries of the child's disappearance and of what scarred Isobel so deeply 15 years earlier make the book a page-turner, with some intriguing themes of trauma and abuse
A tense, taut drama that questions how childhood trauma affects adult behaviour
The Schoolhouse is a legit crime thriller: stylish, pacey and genuinely frightening . . . If only more Booker-recognised writers did stuff this fun