Magnetic North – Critical acclaim

‘I like it when women novelists are bold and make demands on themselves as well as their readers, and Sue Prideaux could be judged to be over-ambitious in Magnetic North. This is her third novel but it reads as though her others were only practising for this one. She gives it a huge backcloth, almost Russian in scope, and indeed her heroine, Katya, is originally from Moscow. She marries a Norwegian and goes to live in Oslo. Landscape descriptions dominate the story, from the forests where Katya’s family have been massacred by the Bolsheviks (the novel opens in 1917) to the snows of Norway and the warmth and colour of the south of France. There is plenty of period detail but what is more unusual is the development of Katya’s character. She abandons her child to free herself from a marriage she has outgrown and the novel takes on all kinds of moral debates. It is perhaps over-packed with meaning but it has a sweeping strength to it which justifies her ambition.’
Susan Hill in Books and Company.

‘A gothic novel in the best sense…and even a romantic one in the way Tolstoy is romantic.’
Margaret Forster

‘Only women novelists seem able to invent truly nasty, yet utterly believable, fictional women, and Sue Prideaux has created a trio of perfectly credible horrors. Katya, whose family has been wiped out by the Bolsheviks, her sinister Troll-like companion simply known as the Tëtka, reduced to sub-humanity by her love for her charge and Katya’s daughter who speaks (a brilliant touch) in the language of Damon Runyon but has been irretrievably wounded by her mother’s defection…The book is highly satisfying. The minor characters are as colourful as the main players, the multi-lingual writing is enriched by the author’s Anglo-Norwegian blood and when evoking the Norwegian countryside it verges on the stupendous.’
Leslie Geddes-Brown in Country Life.

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