Books

The Eavesdroppers
NeWest Press 2018

The Eavesdroppers

When social attitudes researcher Bill Harcourt puts an advertisement in the newspaper for ‘listenersto work on an unconventional research project, he anticipates that his team of eavesdroppers will discover previously untapped insights into public opinion.

But as five eager listeners start eavesdropping in the cafes, dentist waiting rooms, public toilets, tube trains and launderettes of London, discretely noting the details of unguarded conversations, Bill starts to notice subtle changes in their behavior and realizes he has underestimated the compulsive nature of his group. His anxiety is compounded after he receives a number of anonymous letters warning him of the dangers of his experiment. As the group becomes increasingly intertwined in their subjects’ lives, eavesdropping descends into obsession and Bill has to find a way to rein in his increasingly unruly team before they are beyond help.

Informed by conversations collected over three years The Eavesdroppers is a dark, yet wryly humorous tale of present-day Londoners, living in a constant state of noise and crowds, and eavesdroppers.

“A creepy ambush of a novel, unsettling and profound in its ideas and fears. One feels the weight of history and of the future; one hears a warning.”

 Michelle Butler Hallett, author of This Marlowe.

“At an address somewhere between Bletchley Park and Franz Kafka’s house, Rosie Chard locates a curious and compelling tale about a group of life’s outsiders who find meaning – and much worse – when they’re tasked with listening in. Part spy-thriller in miniature, part fable for our disconcerting times, The Eavesdroppers is funny and haunting and achingly human.”

Ian Weir, author of Will Starling and The Death and Life of Strother Purcell.

“The third novel from Rosie Chard is a potent but entertaining commentary on our modern surveillance society.”

Quill & Quire.

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The Insistent Garden
NeWest Press 2013

The Insistent Garden FC web

Edith Stoker’s father is building a wall in their garden. A very high wall – a rickety, brick bulwark in his obsessive war against their hated, neighbour, Edward Black.

It is 1969, and somewhere far away, preparations are being made for man to walk upon the moon. Meanwhile, in the Stokers’ shabby home in the Midlands, Edith remains a virtual prisoner, with occasional visits from her grotesque and demanding Aunt Vivian serving as the only break in her routine. But when shy, sheltered Edith begins to quietly cultivate a garden in the shadow of her father’s wall, she sets in motion events that might gain her independence… and threaten to bring her face to face with the mysterious Edward Black himself.

Rosie Chard’s follow up to her award-winning debut Seal Intestine Raincoat is an engrossing, often mordantly funny portrait of a shy, young woman who, as she silently digs in her garden, miraculously finds her path to freedom within the most stifling of environs.

 “The tension never falters; secrets, enigmatic neighbours, revulsion and fear surround a uniquely dysfunctional family. I do believe Rosie Chard has created a new sub-genre: Neo-Gothic Garden Mystery.”

 Betty Jane Hegerat, author of The Boy and Running Toward Home. 

 “A captivating, witty and beautifully written novel, which probes the quirks and foibles of the English psyche.”

Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, author of The London Square: gardens in the midst of town. Gardens Advisor, Historical Royal Palaces, London.

Blood feuds and family secrets boil under the respectable surface of 1960s small town England in Chard’s second novel … readers are rewarded with a satisfying and well-crafted dénouement.”

Publishers Weekly.  

With Rosie Chard’s The Insistent Garden, reviewers will inevitably hang upon some of the novel’s broader concepts: familial strife, mental illness, the death of a loved one, gothic mysteries, rebellion, and the list goes on. This is the stuff readers can really attach themselves to and The Insistent Garden has all of these elements and more—each one of them worth your price of admission—but for me, the novel’s selling point is a small, quiet moment during the novel’s crescendo, when its heroine, Edith Stoker, says, “Something was happening. But I did not know what it was’.”

Rick MacDonell, AnotherBookBlog. 

This is a quiet novel, restrained as its narrator, but it has many subtle pleasures.”

Margaret Thompson, The Coastal Spectator.

The Insistent Garden is, at first glance, a quiet, contained book, but it contains so much: Coming of age, sexual awakening, mental illness, poetry, and family secrets. Grab a blanket and a cup of tea – it’s a perfect read for the colder days ahead. Edith’s story eventually picks up into a murder mystery, and I found myself flipping ahead pages to make sure she was okay. The book has a timeless feel, and far from feeling cut off from culture, it suggests more connections every time I think about it. My complaints about The Insistent Garden are mostly related to wanting to know more.” 

Laura Frey, Reading in Bed.

“If you take nothing away from The Insistent Garden other than the desire to plant a bed of blue flowers and a feeling of deep unease, you will know the conflicted heart of Edith Stoker, and Chard will have done her job.” 

Angela Hickman, National Post

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Seal Intestine Raincoat
NeWest Press 2009

seal-intestine-raincoatbookcover.jpg

After a severe winter storm and extended power failure, thousands become trapped in their homes during one of the coldest weeks in living memory.

For one small group of people, thrown together by catastrophe, a state of claustrophobia follows as they discover no precautions have been made for a disaster of this magnitude. When the dark and cold continue, endurance turns to despair and survival plans begin to emerge as Fred, a fifteen–year-old boy newly arrived in Canada from England, is forced to take charge in unpredictable ways. Alongside its bleak portrayal of social instability during economic collapse, Seal Intestine Raincoat explores the Inuit survival philosophy and unearths the powerful human instincts that convert helpless fear into the desire to adapt.

A stunning drama of extreme weather, courage, cowardice, and one teenage boy’s urgent journey to manhood in a city turned death trap. Told in clear and thrilling prose, Rosie Chard’s debut is a gripping, tense, and deeply fulfilling story, which marks her as a writer to watch.”

Liz Jensen, author of The Rapture. 

 “Rosie Chard’s debut novel is an icy, tense page-turner. Writing with a brittle clarity that leaves no shadows for hiding, Chard has woven a starkly inviting tale of courage and desperation that demonstrates the oft-disturbing range of actions the human animal is capable of.”

Sue Karp, Vue Weekly. Edmonton.  

 “This timely novel, which focuses on our increasingly tenuous relationship with the environment is written from the eyes-open, fresh-gazed perspective of a newcomer to Canada. There is a fullness in Rosie Chard’s observations, a generosity toward her characters, and precision in her use of language. Seal Intestine Raincoat is a highly engaging first book.”

Meeka Walsh, editor, Border Crossings.  

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