Radio 2 Book Club - Wakenhyrst

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The next book to be featured on the Jo Whiley Radio 2 Book Club will be Wakenhyrst, the chilling new novel by Michelle Paver. It is released on 4 April and Michelle will be on the show on Monday 1 April.

We have the chance for you to win 10 copies of this fantastic novel for your reading group! Please enter by Friday 12 April.

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We have an exclusive extract available for you to read.


In Edwardian Suffolk, a manor house stands alone in a lost corner of the Fens: a glinting wilderness of water whose whispering reeds guard ancient secrets. Maud is a lonely child growing up without a mother, ruled by her repressive father.

When he finds a painted medieval devil in a graveyard, unhallowed forces are awakened.

Maud’s battle has begun. She must survive a world haunted by witchcraft, the age-old legends of her beloved fen – and the even more nightmarish demons of her father’s past.

Spanning five centuries, Wakenhyrst is a darkly gothic thriller about murderous obsession and one girl’s longing to fly free.

Selection panel review

The book was selected with the help of a panel of library staff from across the UK. Our readers loved Wakenhyrst – here are some of their comments:

“I really enjoyed this book. It’s a bit of a twist on a ‘whodunnit’; an Edwardian drama filled with mysterious twists and turns. The Suffolk Fens provide a brooding backdrop to the story, with hints of the supernatural. The characters are finely drawn and Maud is a fantastic heroine – complex and driven.”

“Like her previous books, this is full of dark, brooding atmosphere, set in Edwardian Suffolk on the edge of a marshy fen – a place of fear for some and solace for others. This has a real gothic feel to it and is full of suspense, interwoven with tales of witchcraft, devilry and folklore. You could easily get fully immersed and read this in one sitting.”

“From the start I found this book really intriguing, it is not something I would usually choose but I found the whole concept of the book really gripping and wanted to get through to find out the answers to some of the mysteries which it refers to. I found it very atmospheric and the descriptions of the setting of the book in the fens of Suffolk were very engaging. It was a book that got into my head and I would be thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it and looking forward to the time I could sit down and read more.”

About the author

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Michelle Paver was born in Central Africa but came to England as a child. After gaining a degree in Biochemistry from Oxford University she became a partner in a city law firm, but eventually gave that up to write full time. She is the bestselling author of the adult gothic novels Dark Matter and Thin Air and the prizewinning, million copy selling children’s series Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.

A word from Michelle

“I’ve been going to our local library in Wimbledon for over fifty years. When I was a child, the library helped me through some tough times at school, and each armful of books became friends. I loved the library so much that I tried to imitate it. In those days, each library book had a paper ticket in a little cardboard pocket glued inside, so I did the same for my own small collection of paperbacks. For each one I made a little ticket and fitted it inside a sellotaped pocket, which I stamped “M” I had no intention of lending my books to anyone, I just wanted to be like a library!

I’m absolutely delighted that Wakenhyrst has been chosen for the Radio 2 Book Club. It means a lot to me because books for the Club are chosen by the people who really matter: the readers and librarians. May libraries and reading groups go from strength to strength.”

Get involved

Tune in to Jo Whiley’s show on Monday 1 April to hear a live interview with Michelle.

Have you read Wakenhyrst? You can share your thoughts with us on Twitter using #Wakenhyrst, and you can also follow Michelle.

See what other readers thought or add the book to your group’s reading list.

Planning to buy Wakenhyrst for your group? Buy books from Hive and support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no extra cost to you.

Want to make sure you get the latest news? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

You can join the Radio 2 Book Club Facebook group, and also follow Jo Whiley on Twitter.


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