“An atmospheric debut that marks Helen Young as one to watch” Stylist
“An unsettling coming-of-age tale.”
“A beautifully written first novel.”
“Edible prose, waspish humour and a lot of heart.” Jonathan Eyers, author of
The Thieves of Pudding Lane
“Lively writing and skilfully portrayed family dynamics.” Emma Dally, author of Remembered Dreams
“A bright and daring heroine.” Read 50
She lapped in spirals beneath the sheen, feeling the tug of water rush against all of her. When she next surfaced, she couldn’t remember what it was to be on land. Seeing her clothing on the bank as things belonging to another…
It all began beside the mill pond. Honest, fair and eager to please, fifteen year old May has a secret, and not of her own making. She wears it like an invisible badge, sewn to her skin, as though Ma stitched it there herself. It rubs only when she thinks of Sophie, Pa or the other name that’s hidden there; that no one knows about.
Caught in an inevitable net of change, May joins the Wrens, leaving her Cotswolds home for war-torn London and the Blitz. As a dispatch rider, she navigates the city by day and night, surviving love and loss throughout a blackout of remembered streets and wrong turns. Night after night the bombs drop and like those around her, she takes cover in the shadows when they do. But May is waiting for a greater shadow to lift, one which will see the past explode into the present.
A tale of one girl’s search for love and belonging, The May Queen goes to the heart of what family means and finding your place in it.