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by Laura Powell
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Across the room, through the fog of tobacco smoke, Betty notices him. His teacup is empty, his eyes are low and he doesn't speak. She wants him to notice her. She wants to impress. Fifteen-year-old Betty Broadbent helps her erratic and beautiful mother run the Hotel Eden, a boarding house now besieged by reporters, keen for juicy gossip and eye-catching headlines. They are there because the Cornish seaside town has recently witnessed a string of murders, young girls stabbed to death. Among the newspaper jackals, Mr Gallagher stands out. Quiet, serious Mr Gallagher - Betty is fascinated by his mysterious nature and desperate to be noticed by him and not be treated as a child. As he and Betty get to know each other, through snatched conversation and illicit meetings, their feelings for each other grow. But she soon starts to realise how little she knows about the older, enigmatic journalist. With a dangerous cloud looming over the town, Betty starts to take risks to see him and hide secrets from her mother, her friends and even herself. Secrets that will echo through the years and affect the lives of many ... Beautifully written with skilfully drawn characters and evocative language, this is an astonishing tour de force from debut author Laura Powell.
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