Hyder's remarkable adult debut... skilfully juggles the many threads, never slowing the momentum of her propulsive plot, and by blending realistic and fantastic elements, she perfectly captures the era's uneasy attempts to marry faith and science. This memorable outing has special appeal for fans of fantasy-inflected historicals such as Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent.
Publishers Weekly (US)
a remarkable, unpredictable tale of ambition, faith and survival, a blend of historical fiction and fantasy from a deft storyteller.
Brimming with historical detail and beautifully written, the soulful prose soars. It's an insightful mysterious read celebrating female friendship and solidarity.
Impressive - an imaginative extraordinary flight of fancy firmly grounded in the grim realities of Victorian England.
a stirring tale of female empowerment, full of vivid imagery and evocative settings… The Gifts' scope is impressive and sure to win Hyder new fans
An extraordinary weaving together of the lives of four women. For any who loved The Essex Serpent, this is one that will sing to your soul. For myself, I found it to be a dream of a book, one that I could lose myself in and escape from these curious times we live in. There's a darkness to it also, but also a fierce light, passion. It is utterly absorbing.
Jackie Morris, co-creator of The Lost Words
Fierce and touching, this extremely compelling novel follows its female protagonists through 19th century London where a surgeon struggles with the dark lure of scientific ambition while his marriage crumbles, a journalist pursues the mystery of the angel fished from the Thames and two young women find themselves inexplicably transformed in the depths of despair. Beautiful and riveting.
Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne
I loved this. Brilliant storytelling, magical realism, historical fiction that discusses feminism, religion, art, motherhood and it's romantic too.. Shades of Angela Carter, and fans of Elizabeth MacNeal will enjoy it too.
Kate Sawyer, author of The Stranding
The Gifts instantly became one of my all-time favourite books. It was everything I want in a novel: full, flawed characters, a hint of something magical, angst, the filth and strangeness of Victorian Britain, that ruthless consideration of the female body and who has agency over it. I just loved everything about it.
Rebecca F John, author of The Empty Greatcoat and The Haunting of Henry Twist
I devoured The Gifts, eager to find out the fate of its wonderfully drawn characters. A wonderful, atmospheric book that immersed me in the dirty streets of nineteenth century London and swept me away to the hills of Shropshire. A real gem.
Louise Hare, author of This Lovely City
From the moment the Thames gave up its astonishing secret, I was transfixed by this fantastical tale of winged women and their quest for liberation in the face of science turned into dark obsession. A deliciously intriguing mix of moral bankruptcy and resilience, with a captivating female friendship at its heart.
Sonia Velton, author of Blackberry and Wild Rose
An extraordinary novel — resonant, propulsive, and utterly absorbing. Once I'd picked it up, I truly couldn't put it down — I didn't want to leave Liz Hyder's vividly realised world, and I cannot wait to follow wherever she takes us next.
Katie Lowe, author of The Furies
Lovers of neo-Victorian fiction will be spellbound by this story of ambition and desire in the worlds of science and medicine combined with myth and magical realism. A gritty feminist 'fairy tale'… taking flight on the wings of Hyder's addictive words.
Essie Fox, author of The Somnambulist
Haunting, magical, wonderful. At once a dark cautionary tale of unchecked ambition, and a sparkling story of love, loyalty and friendship. Pacy and immersive, this multifaceted novel is sure to do well.
Joanne Burn, author of The Hemlock Cure
Stunning. A compulsive page turning adventure packed with everything I love in a book. Intrigue, adventure, rich descriptions, and difficult women.
Ericka Waller, author of Dog Days
Full of rich historical detail, magic and romance, The Gifts is simply delightful. Engrossing and fresh and unusual in the best possible way, I really, truly adored it.
Kirsty Capes, author of Careless
A hugely satisfying read. Wonderfully imagined. Deep reading pleasure. So many people will love this book.
Nicola Davies, author of The Song that Sings Us
Amanda Mason, author of The Hiding Place