London, 1926. London is still recovering from the war, but the Bright Young People dance until dawn. Henry Twist is a single father in a world without single fathers, and decides to keep the baby a secret. Then, one evening, a strange man steps out of the shadows, saying his name is Jack. Henry is helplessly drawn to this man, who reminds him of his dead wife. As the two men grow closer, Henry has to ask: who really sent Jack?

The Haunting of Henry Twist captured our hearts from the moment we first read it. Atmospheric, gripping and with a surprising love story at its heart, it's an unforgettable debut from a hugely talented writer. 

About the book

Henry Twist's heavily pregnant wife Ruby leaves home to meet a friend. On the way, she is hit by a bus and killed, though miraculously the baby survives. Left a single father in a world without single fathers, Henry decides to keep the baby a secret. 

But one evening, a strange man steps out of the shadows, saying his name is Jack. Henry is helplessly drawn to this man; and the more time he spends with him, the more Henry sees echoes of his dead wife in this man. As the two men grow closer, Henry asks: who really sent him?

Set in a postwar London where the Bright Young Things dance into dawn at garden parties hosted by generous old Monty, The Haunting of Henry Twist is an evocative and gripping debut that you'll want to pass on to your friends *immediately* upon finishing.

The Costa First Book shortlist

Also on the First Book shortlist are The Clocks in this House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks, Montpelier Parade by Karl Geary and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

See the full shortlists over at Waterstones.com.

Read an extract from The Haunting of Henry Twist

Here's Rebecca F. John on writing The Bright Young Things