Fairy tale and history, wilderness and civilisation collide in this brilliant and magical new novel from the author of Little Exiles.
In the depths of winter in the land of Belarus, where ancient forests straddle modern country borders, an orphaned boy and his grandfather go to scatter his mother’s ashes in the woodlands. Her last request to rest where she grew up will be fulfilled.
Frightening though it is to leave the city, the boy knows he must keep his promise to mama: to stay by and protect his grandfather, whatever happens. Her last potent gifts – a little wooden horse, and hunks of her homemade gingerbread – give him vigour. And grandfather’s magical stories help push the harsh world away.
But the driving snow, which masks the tracks of forest life, also hides a frozen history of long-buried secrets. And as man and boy travel deeper among the trees, grandfather’s tales begin to interweave with the shocking reality of his own past, until soon the boy’s unbreakable promise to mama is tested in unimaginable ways.
Praise for Gingerbread: -
”'Gingerbread is a novel of perfect balance, where past reaches into present, cruel history into fable, and the land itself, the forests of old, into vulnerable human hearts. With each turn of the page the atmosphere intensifies…” - ALI SHAW, author of The Girl With Glass Feet
‘Matches the rigour of Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD but as if the Brothers Grim had hijacked it … gripping’James Long, author of Ferney -
Praise for Little Exiles: -
”'A superb novel” - DAILY MAIL
”'A heartbreaking story, very powerfully dramatised” - THE TIMES
‘LITTLE EXILES … it's knockout - Robert has his own unique voice and his own angle on an extraordinary period of history. It's just beautifully written and told with such emotional precision, with a character in Jon Heather who is completely beguiling and so worth fighting for. I really, really loved it. If I hadn't made Oranges and Sunshine I would definitely be thinking about its potential for screen' Jim Loach, Director of Oranges & Sunshine -