cover image The Body Lies

The Body Lies

Jo Baker. Knopf, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-525-65611-1

Still traumatized three years after being assaulted during her pregnancy near her South London home, the unnamed novelist who narrates this lyrical suspense novel from Baker (Longbourn) leaps at the offer of a university lectureship in rural Lancashire, even though it means she and her toddler son will be separated from her husband, who can’t leave his teaching job in London. The move will indeed change everything—but hardly the way she hopes. For starters, their rose-covered rented house redefines remote. And then there are the unanticipated challenges presented by her creative writing students—in particular, the most talented but also most troubling one, Nicholas Palmer, whose seemingly autobiographical work in progress centers on a young woman who dies under mysterious circumstances. Though Nicholas starts pushing for an inappropriate personal relationship with the narrator, his writing skill makes her loathe to establish firm boundaries—a decision that backfires catastrophically after a Christmas party. Soon she’s fighting to save her job, her marriage, and even her life. All too plausible, Baker’s powerful tale is at times heart-rending to read—and impossible to put down. [em]Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Assoc. (June) [/em]