The Beloved by Alison Rattle

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Alice Angel has known only a life of rules, restriction and punishments as she strays from the rigid path of Victorian proprietary that her mother has set out for her. After a chance encounter with a charming stranger, and a final incident with her family that sees her condemned to the madhouse, Alice sees her opportunity to run...


The Beloved by Alison Rattle

Escape from a bullying mother takes one young woman to an even more dangerous place. A constant disappointment to all but her beloved father, Alice Angel longs for the day that she might break free from the stifling atmosphere of her mother's rule. After a chance encounter with a charming stranger, and a final incident with her family that sees her condemned to the madhouse, Alice sees her opportunity to run and grasps it with both hands. She escapes to join the Agapemonites in their Abode of Love, where ex-Reverend Henry Prince rules his isolated colony of women as their Beloved. Prince ignites a passion in Alice that she never knew existed, and she dares to think she might be free at last. But as Alice becomes more deeply drawn into the life of Prince's strange religious sect, secrets are revealed that seem to hint at a darker nature lurking behind the man's charm. Instead of freedom, is Alice in fact more trapped, alone and in danger than ever before?


An excellent work of historical fiction perfectly written for teenagers. We Love This Book (PRAISE FOR THE QUIETNESS) This is an absolutely compelling read ... well-written and thought-provoking -- Elizabeth Baskeyfield School Library Association

About the Author

Alison Rattle

Alison Rattle grew up in Liverpool, and now lives in a medieval house in Somerset with her three teenage children, her partner - a carpenter - an extremely naughty Jack Russell and a ghost cat. She has co-authored a number of non-fiction titles on subjects as diverse as growing old, mad monarchs, how to boil a flamingo, the history of America and the biography of a nineteenth-century baby killer. She has worked as a fashion designer, a production controller, a painter and decorator, a barmaid, and now owns and runs a vintage tea room.

A Q&A with Alison

What inspires your writing?

The weather, my moods, a photograph, a sentence in a book, memories, emotions.

What has been the most exciting moment of your career so far?

Having Sylvester McCoy (the seventh Dr. Who!) read out a poem of mine in front of an audience at the Nottingham Playhouse when I was about 10, was pretty exciting. But receiving a phone call from my agent Jo, telling me she had landed me a two-book deal with Hot Key Books, has definitely now eclipsed that experience!

How did you first become an author?
By pure luck. A writer friend asked for my help in writing a book he had been commissioned to write but didn’t have the time for. It was a book about ghosts.

What are you reading right now?
Julie Myerson Then, Sally Gardner Maggot Moon, Sebastian Barry The Secret Scripture

What was your earliest career aspiration?

To be a writer or fashion designer. I did the designer bit first. It seemed a more obtainable goal somehow.

What advice would you give to budding writers?
As always - read, read, read ‘til your eyes pop out. Write about what interests you and moves you, not what you think people want to read. Be happy in your own company and don’t ever become a writer for the financial rewards!

What was your favourite childhood book?
As a very young child it was Enid Blyton’s Hollow Tree House. I read it over and over again and would have given anything to live in a secret tree house. As a teenager I loved Deborah Moggach’s Porky and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Where is your favourite place to write?
I wish my favourite place to write was at home. I would have peace and quiet and an endless supply of free tea. I just can’t do it at home though. I get too distracted by dirty floors and piles of ironing. So I take myself off to a well known high street café where I spend a fortune on crappy frappes and muffins and where the hum of voices around me create the perfect writing environment - for me anyway.

How do you read- print, digitally or both?
I totally read print. Can’t beat the sound and feel of real pages.

Who do you most admire?
My partner’s 90 year old grandmother. She is intellectually vibrant, has very strong opinions, can crack a joke, operate a computer and buys her clothes from TopShop!

Are there any books you wish you had written?
Maria McCann As Meat Loves Salt, John Irving Cider House Rules, James Bradley The Resurrectionist, Markus Zusak The Book Thief. I could go on and on.

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Book Info


304 pages
Interest Age: From 16


Alison Rattle
More books by Alison Rattle

Author's Website


Hot Key Books

Publication date

5th March 2015




Publisher Profile

Hot Key Books is an imprint of Hot Key

logo Hot Key Books, a division of Bonnier Publishing, publish stand out, quality fiction, for 9 – 19 year olds, print and digital that people like to talk about. If you are looking for something a little bit different from your books, something a little bit special then Hot Key Books may well have just what you want.

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