The Observations

Harris, Jane

Published by Viking Adult, 2006
ISBN 10: 0670037737 / ISBN 13: 9780670037735
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Synopsis: An extraordinary historical novel about a peculiar friendship between the mistress of a Scottish estate and her irresistibly appealing housemaid

Winner of the Book of the Month Club First Fiction Prize

Scotland, 1863. In an attempt to escape her not-so-innocent past in Glasgow, Bessy Buckley-a wide-eyed and feisty young Irish girl-takes a job as a maid in a big house outside Edinburgh working for the beautiful Arabella-the "missus." Bessy lacks the necessary scullery skills for her new position, but as she finds out, it is her ability to read and write that makes her such a desirable property. Bessy is intrigued by her new employer but puzzled by her increasingly strange requests and her insistence that Bessy keep a journal of her mundane chores and most intimate thoughts. And it seems that the missus has a few secrets of her own, including her near- obsessive affection for Nora, a former maid who died in mysterious circumstances.

Giving in to her curiosity, Bessy makes an infuriating discovery and, out of jealousy, concocts a childish prank that backfires and threatens to jeopardize all that she has come to hold dear. Yet even when caught up in a tangle of madness, ghosts, sex, and lies, she remains devoted to Arabella. But who is really responsible for what happened to her predecessor Nora? As her past threatens to catch up with her and raise the stakes even further, Bessy begins to realize that she has not quite landed on her feet.

The Observations is a brilliantly original, endlessly intriguing story of one woman's journey from a difficult past into an even more disturbing present, narrated by one of the most vividly imagined heroines in recent fiction. This powerful story of secrets and suspicions, hidden histories and mysterious disappearances is at once compelling and heart-warming, showing the redemptive power of loyalty and friendship. A hugely assured and darkly funny debut, The Observations is certain to establish Jane Harris as a significant new literary talent.

From the Back Cover: Praise for THE OBSERVATIONS by Jane Harris

"Rollicking and engaging. A confident, fresh, roguishly charming first work."
-Kirkus (starred review)

"It's nearly impossible to find period pieces like this, by turns funny and sad, but always true to the ear."
-Entertainment Weekly

"Sharp, funny and tender-hearted, Bessy is an accomplishment."
-Publishers Weekly

"Bessy's unique, witty voice distinguishes this boisterous novel."
-Booklist

"Bessy's is the freshest voice to come along in a long time...[The Observations] is utterly unputdownable."
-Bookreporter.com

"Bessy... [has] the freshest, sharpest, naughtiest...voice you're apt to encounter in literature...I adored her."
-Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

"Bessy Buckley can hold her head up with Moll Flanders and Becky Sharp as a living, breathing mortal."
-The Times (London)

"Unique, not least in the ebullience of the language... a superbly uncorseted evocation of life in Victorian Scotland."
-Sunday Herald (Glasgow)

"There are enough twists... to keep a cynical adult reader up half the night .... [Bessy is] impossible not to like."
-London Review of Books

"An astonishing imaginative feat, brilliantly written."
-Scotland on Sunday

"This intriguing, ghostly read will have you hooked from page one. Fantastic."
-Company Magazine (UK)

"Harris's skilful unravelling of her labyrinthine plot is a joy that will keep you reading well into the small hours."
-Easy Living Magazine (UK)

"A breath of fresh air - witty, bawdy, [and] tantalizing. The author undoubtedly has a wicked sense of humor."
-NewBooksMag (UK)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Observations
Publisher: Viking Adult
Publication Date: 2006
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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Harris, Jane
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Book Description Viking, NY, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: As New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. NY: Viking, 2006 Dust jacket as new, Black hard cover, as new, 405 pgs. Hard Cover. As New/As New. Bookseller Inventory # 1948

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