Genre: Fiction
Published: 21 May 2015
Publisher: Faber & Faber

In My House

by Alex Hourston

In the queue for the toilets at Gatwick, a teenage girl catches 57-year-old Margaret Benson’s eye in the mirror and mouths the world help. Margaret’s reaction leads to the dramatic rescue of the teenager from her trafficker and Margaret becomes a hero.

But when the story gets picked up by the papers, Margaret is panicked by the publicity, as well as the strange phone calls she begins to receive. Meanwhile Anja makes contact. She wants to thank her rescuer, but she also quickly inserts herself into Margaret’s lonely life. As their friendship develops, so do questions: who is Margaret hiding from, and what are Anja’s true motives? And what is the cost of living a lie?

"Full of the most dazzling observations which, as a writer, I wish that I'd had myself." - Allison Pearson
"The most original, well-observed and well-sustained first novel I’ve read in a long time. Alex Hourston has a really cool, unnerving way with words. It’s crammed full of small, terrifyingly honest details which you feel ought to be in novels but rarely are. I loved it!" - Julie Myerson
"What would you do if you were in a toilet queue at Gatwick and someone mouthed the word 'help'? So starts Hourston’s intriguing debut novel before grabbing your hand and running headlong to its unsettling finale." - Stylist
"In My House is an unsettling story about the friendship between a lonely older woman and an Albanian teenage girl she rescues from a trafficker at Gatwick airport. So accomplished, it’s hard to believe this is Alex Hourston’s first novel." - Good Housekeeping
"Delivers in a most satisfying way." - Fanny Blake, Woman & Home
"Wonderfully drawn characters and a compelling story, all wrapped up in beautiful prose." - Rebecca Whitney, author of The Liar’s Chair
"An unsettling but powerful story about family breakdown and urban loneliness." - Sunday Mirror
"In My House is reminiscent of Zoë Heller's Notes on a Scandal and Harriet Lane's books. However, it surprised me - and exceeded my expectations - by transforming into an elegant and thoughtful character study, with a subtle undercurrent of tension, going beyond a resurrection of character stereotypes already done perfectly in other books." - Learn This Phrase blog
"The type of novel you want to read in a single sitting, In My House is an intelligent debut from a writer I have little doubt we’ll hear much more from in the future." - Lucy Pearson, The Unlikely Bookworm
"With unflinching coolness and a voice vice-grip strong, you have no choice but to listen to Maggie as she tells her story" - Sainsbury's Magazine
“Involving and original, In My House is a book about betrayal and guilt; the smallness of our sins and the shattering enormity of their consequences… Hourston resolutely avoids the predictable, skilfully throwing the reader off-balance and creating a compelling sense of unease that shimmers unsettlingly beneath the ordinary lives she explores… a strikingly promising debut. Caustically perceptive, wryly funny, occasionally devastatingly tender, Maggie Benson is a terrific protagonist; like all the most satisfactory characters in fiction, she is both infuriatingly contradictory and entirely plausible.” - Clare Clark, The Guardian
“Hourston has a terrific sense of pace; this stunningly accomplished first novel whips along like a thriller, and presents the reader with one moral dilemma after another — what would you do? A must for the intelligent book group.” - Kate Saunders, The Times
"[A] taut exciting new kind of domestic noir." - Lucy Scholes, The Independent
"A less sensational novel than many recent thrillers in a similar vein, this tense debut still delivers plenty of twists, while Hourston demonstrates an impressively keen eye for small but telling details." - Stephanie Cross, The Lady, 5* review
“[An] extremely accomplished literary novel...This is Alex Hourston's first novel and she has been rightly listed among the crop of debut novelists destined to make a splash this year.” - Carla McKay, Daily Mail
“slyly compelling...low-key delivery with a very persuasive thread of menace” - Hephzibah Anderson, Observer

Other Books by Alex Hourston