The Absence Of Nectar

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First-person narrator Alice is a precocious eleven-year-old growing up in rural East Texas with one wish on her mind: Get rid of Simon Jester. Simon is the man who saved her mother from drowning. Simon is her mother's hero, her savior-and her new husband. He's an enigmatic man whose own family, he says, mysteriously drowned.

But soon it becomes apparent that Simon's family did not drown. Alice and her brother become convinced that Simon intends to poison them. Their mother, Meg, tells her children that they have wild imaginations. Until she comes to kiss them one night, and instead of her usual endearments, whispers a single word: Run.

The Absence of Nectar is a finely wrought and suspenseful coming-of-age novel that confirms the promise of Hepinstall's highly praised debut, The House of Gentle Men.


A compelling, tense read from first page to last. –Booklist

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