A girl uncovers an underground society in her quest to find her brother



A coming-of-age romance takes a sudden twist in Lauren Owen’s first novel. When poet-playwright James Norbury disappears without a trace, his sister, Charlotte, goes to London to track him down. She uncovers a secret world that includes a female rope-walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with lethal skills and an underground society fighting to protect the city from the sinister Aegolius Club. The battle against the club propels the story, but it’s the relationships that anchor it. As a shy young man, James finds romance in an unexpected place, and Charlotte’s drive to save her brother against impossible odds makes her an unforgettable heroine. A Victorian Gothic yet supernatural thriller that is at turns gruesome and surprisingly tender, this impressive debut will keep you turning the pages long into the night.

The Quick, Lauren Owen, $30.

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