The Observations

The Observations

Written by:

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780143112013
  • 416 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


The Observations is a hugely assured and darkly funny debut set in nineteenth-century Scotland. Bessy Buckley, the novel?s heroine, is a cynical, wide-eyed, and tender fifteen-year-old Irish girl who takes a job as a maid in a once-grand country house outside Edinburgh, where all is not as it seems. Asked by her employer, the beautiful Arabella, to keep a journal of her most intimate thoughts, Bessy soon makes a troubling discovery and realizes that she has fled her difficult past only to arrive in an even more disturbing present.


A deliriously captivating tale of sex, ghosts, lies, and mysteries. (Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love)

By turns funny and sad, but always true to the ear. And the sprightly, profane Bessy is a joy. (Entertainment Weekly)

ItÆs a rare feeling to be swept up by a book in the childhood way, but when it happens, itÆs extraordinary: deeply familiar and strangely unsettling. (London Review of Books)

The Observations combines the best qualities of literary fiction with page-turning accessibility. (The Observer, London)