Jiangxi Province, China, 1941
Atop the fabled mountain of Lushan, celebrated for its temples, capricious mists and plunging ravines, perches a boarding school for the children of British missionaries. As her parents pursue their calling to bring the gospel to China’s most remote provinces, ten-year-old Henrietta S. Robertson discovers that she has been singled out for a divine calling of her own.
Etta is quick to share the news with her dorm mates, and soon even Big Bum Eileen is enlisted in the Prophetess Club, which busies itself looking for signs of the Lord’s intent. (Hark.) As rumours of war grow more insistent, so the girls’ quest takes on a new urgency – and in such a mystical landscape, the prophetesses find that lines between make believe and reality, good and bad, become dangerously blurred. So Etta’s pilgrimage begins.
“Infused with a delicate, melancholy note of nostalgia, Mackenzie's depiction of a bygone world is vividly realised.” - Lucy Scholes, Independent
“Mackenzie is a self-assured, poetic storyteller... This is a wonderful, special book. I inhaled it.” - Red
“An evocative and involving novel with a wonderful setting.” - Woman & Home
“Such a wonderful voice, very funny and hugely moving.” - The Bookseller (Anna James)
“Really enjoyed In A Land of Paper Gods - a dreamlike tale, like a cross between Picnic at Hanging Rock and Empire of the Sun... lovely prose and a great setting.” - Stav Sherez
“A beautifully poignant book... a story full of adolescent verve, young girls coming of age as the world around them falls apart, that remains somehow delightful, both playful and tender, as it breaks your heart. I loved it.” - Lindsay Hawdon, author of Jakob’s Colours
“Rebecca Mackenzie's vigorous prose is original and highly evocative. The untameable beauty of China's Lushan mountain and the dangers that lie beyond are echoed in the dramatic landscapes that Etta must navigate within herself. Her fate will linger in your thoughts long after the story ends.” - Claire King, author of The Night Rainbow
“Henrietta S. Robertson is a beguiling, wilful and wonderfully realised creation whose humour, imagination and yearning will captivate readers... This is a wonderful debut.” - Jackie Copleton, author of A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding