Like the love child of Dickens and Conan Doyle, but funnier than both
Like George Eliot, Paraic O'Donnell takes the bombastic and the sincere and throws them together for comic contrast; like Dickens, he does it in deliciously dark Victorian style. The House on Vesper Sands is an eerie, raucous novel, packed with pathos and wit. Read it!
Engrossing ... The narrative canters from high-society soirees to East End tenements, infused with menace both earthly and supernatural
Some of the funniest lines of dialogue I've read in ages ... I liked Vesper Sands a lot. It's a clever Gothic mystery, evocative and meticulously faithful to its time and setting
A rollocking romp through the dark alleys and gaslit streets of Victorian London ... Spine-tinglingly spooky with a touch of Dickens and also properly funny, this is the perfect Halloween read
An atmospheric, moving, creepy and very funny story with one of the great fictional detectives
Mysterious, unsettling and eerily lovely ... Perfect for fans of The Wicked Cometh and The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock. I adored it
Moves effortlessly as the story needs between pacy dialogue, gripping drama and an elegiac, other-worldly mournfulness...creates a deeply satisfying world, where tone and language and character combine to provide a rich, credible texture. A comic delight
Reading this terrific Victorian-set mystery was the most fun I've had in ages. It unfolds so thrillingly and cleverly. Do not miss
A mash-up of Victoria Gothic and fantasy, this is huge fun
A lush, shape-shifting Victorian mystery, full of ghostliness, humour and chiaroscuro with satisfying detective and romance flavours added to the batter
A compelling, darkly funny portrait of late Victorian London, and focuses on crimes with a supernatural flavour
Witty, immersive, chock full of atmosphere and setting (hello Victorian London), three-dimensional characters, an addictive plot and snappy dialogue, The House On Vesper Sands has everything you want it in a novel. If you're stuck for a book to buy this Christmas, then this could well be it.
Not since Sarah Waters has a modern novelist played with Victorian language and mores with such wit and skill ... This mastery of voice wouldn't be half as satisfying, of course, if the story were not a properly ripping yarn ... Liz Nugent compares The House on Vesper Sands to Dickens and Conan Doyle, but the novel's depiction of young women who are both physically and psychologically tormented by shadowy male forces in the 1890s suggests one of the most iconic books of that decade, Bram Stoker's Dracula. The appealing characters, however, are more complex than Stoker's, and there's a real humanity to the novel that will leave the reader hoping that O'Donnell returns to the gaslit streets of fin de siècle London for more sinister, beautifully told stories.
An immersive and darkly entertaining story of love, loss and lies set in a vividly realised Victorian London
I am giddy with love for The House on Vesper Sands. It is spooky and atmospheric and superbly drawn, absolutely jammed with brilliant characters and so funny
The House on Vesper Sands had everything - elegance, humour and shady supernatural foreboding, all wrapped up in a Victorian detective novel
The most vivid and compelling portrait of late Victorian London since The Crimson Petal and the White
I'm not completely sure what the word 'rollicking' means, but I can personally guarantee that The House on Vesper Sands is a rollicking good read. For a novel about grief, estrangement, and the literal stealing of vulnerable young women's souls, this book is a lot more fun than it has any right to be. Paraic O'Donnell's sheer love of his characters is exuberant and infectious; the dialogue crackles with verve and wit, and the plotting is as intricately satisfying as a heavy pocket watch. The setting may be Victorian , but in modern parlance this novel is an absolute banger
O'Donnell's talent truly shines ... O'Donnell's style can be likened to Charles Dickens on steroids and The House on Vesper Sands sits comfortably with the likes of Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent or Francis Spufford's Golden Hill as recent period-set page turners. Like those two, a gorgeous prose elevates this ... An expertly crafted and uproariously entertaining novel, spun by a writer approaching his peak
A gloriously unorthodox confection, part Wilkie Collins, part Conan Doyle, with a generous handful of police procedural and a splash of Stella Gibbons's Cold Comfort Farm. Both disquietingly eerie and impossible to read without laughing out loud ... A cracking good read.
The House on Vesper Sands is tremendously good - and tremendously good fun
Clever and funny and exquisitely disturbing, an utter joy
A hugely entertaining read, spry of pace, funny, beautifully descriptive and satisfyingly sinister. A perfect book to read by winter candlelight
Charles Dickens is whirling enviously in his grave ... Brilliantly written, compelling and satisfying in so many ways. It demands to be read by a fire on a cold winter evening (but make sure the doors are locked before you begin). I only wish it had been twice as long.
A vivid and enjoyable romp
O'Donnell writes wittily and well
The House on Vesper Sands is a rare combination of chilling, delicate and funny