The House on Vesper Sands

The House on Vesper Sands

Tin House (US), W&N (UK and Ireland), Hachette (elsewhere).

A Guardian and Observer book of the year.

Selected by Time, Newsweek, Library Reads and Indie Next for “best of” lists, January 2021.

Selected Praise

Ensconced in the rich, Gothic embellishments of Mr. O’Donnell’s prose . . . . The House on Vesper Sands performs a . . . kind of enchantment, transforming a chronicle of sordid crimes into an enjoyably eerie ghost story.

The Wall Street Journal

A thrilling gothic mystery.


That rare mystery that’s at once gripping, elegantly written and very funny.

The Seattle Times

Stellar. . . . Fans of Sarah Perry (not to mention Dickens and Wilkie Collins) will be captivated by this marvelous feat.

Publishers Weekly, starred review

‘The House on Vesper Sands manages to do a hundred marvelous things at once: funny, eerie, tender, haunting and unsettling, smokily atmospheric, and fantastically enjoyable.

Helen Macdonald, author of Vesper Flights

Riveting. . . . Positively bursts with inventiveness.

Benjamin Dreyer, author of Dreyer’s English

Ladies and gentlemen, the darkness is complete.

It is the winter of 1893, and in London the snow is falling.

It is falling as Gideon Bliss seeks shelter in a Soho church, where he finds Angie Tatton lying before the altar. His one-time love is at death’s door, murmuring about brightness and black air, and about those she calls the Spiriters. In the morning she is gone.

The snow is falling as a seamstress climbs onto a ledge above Mayfair, a mysterious message stitched into her own skin. It is falling as she steadies herself and closes her eyes.

It is falling, too, as her employer, Lord Strythe, vanishes into the night, watched by Octavia Hillingdon, a restless society columnist who longs to uncover a story of real importance.

She and Gideon will soon be drawn into the same mystery, each desperate to save Angie and find out the truth about Lord Strythe. Their paths will cross as the darkness gathers, and will lead them at last to what lies hidden at the house on Vesper Sands.

#vespersands | 1.12.21