The Child's Child

The Child's Child

A Novel

When their grandmother dies, adult siblings Grace and Andrew Easton inherit her sprawling London home. Rather than sell it, they move in together, splitting the numerous bedrooms and studies. The arrangement is unusual, but ideal for the affectionate pair—until the day Andrew brings home a new boyfriend, a devilishly handsome novelist named James. When he and Andrew witness their friend’s murder outside a London nightclub, James begins to unravel, and what happens next changes the lives of everyone in the house.

As turmoil sets in, Grace escapes into reading a manuscript—a long-lost novel from 1951 called The Child’s Child—never published because of its taboo subject matter. The book is the story of two siblings born a few years after World War One. This brother and sister, John and Maud, mirror the present-day Andrew and Grace: a homosexual brother and a sister carrying an illegitimate child.

The Child’s Child is a brilliantly constructed novel-within-a-novel about family, betrayal, and disgrace.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476704272 | 
  • October 2013
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Read an Excerpt


THE BOOK was on the table in front of us, along with the teapot, the two cups, and a plate of mince pies. It was a book and not the manuscript I expected and, if I’m honest, feared.

“Privately printed, as you see,” Toby Greenwell said.

“Your father had that done himself?”

“Oh, yes.”

He picked it up and handed it to me. Like many such books, it had no jacket but a shiny cover with a picture of a young girl with pigtails and wearing a gymslip. She was standing in a green meadow and the title of the novel had been amateurishly done in black letters by someone... see more

WHILE TEACHING at a university in West London, I had been working for a PhD on a subject with which no one among my family and friends seemed to have any connection: single parents or, in the phrase Toby Greenwell had used, unmarried mothers. As my supervisor remarked after I chose the subject (and she reluctantly approved), it would be a bit absurd in a climate where nearly half of women remain unwed. So “Single Parents.” Such women in English literature was the idea, but I was still asking myself—and Carla, my supervisor—if this should be extended into life. Into reality. Would this make it too much like a... see more

About the Author

Barbara Vine

Barbara Vine is a pseudonym for Ruth Rendell, who has won numerous awards, including three Edgars, the highest accolade from Mystery Writers of America, as well as three Gold Daggers, a Silver Dagger, and a Diamond Dagger for outstanding contribution to the genre from England’s prestigious Crime Writer’s Association. A member of the House of Lords, she lives in London. Ruth Rendell's newest novel is No Man's Nightingale.




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