“With The Second Bell, Houston’s debut novel, Slavic mythology is on full display as a young striga gives in to her true nature to survive.”
Striga. A child born with two hearts. In this mountain community, such a child is considered a curse, a demon that must be abandoned to the forest to protect the people. The mother has two choices: leave the child, or leave the community and live in the woods.
Miriat chose to live with her child. Her daughter Salka is nineteen now, and their lives are full of desperate hardships. Salka is forbidden from giving in to her impulses … it’s the only way they can survive.
Headstrong and stubborn, Salka faces losing everything she holds dear, and is forced to examine her true dark nature, pushing the bonds between mother and child to breaking point.
Why we’re excited about this book:
After moving to London to complete her undergraduate and Masters degrees at Royal Holloway, University of London, Gabriela Houston worked in publishing for a while before moving back with her family and following her passion of storytelling. Co-host of the upcoming Bookish Take on Youtube, along with Caroline Hardaker (Composite Creatures) Houston takes a deep dive into her writing process in a weekly writing craft series. With The Second Bell, Houston’s debut novel, Slavic mythology is on full display as a young striga gives in to her true nature to survive. Tyler Hayes (The Imaginary Corpse) says: “Prose that scintillates, characters that captivate, and a world that is at once enchanting in its magic, horrifying in its realism, and vice-versa. Houston has gifted us with a folktale that is both mythically resonant and all too human.”, and Tracy Fahey (The Girl in the Fort, The Unheimlich Manoeuvre) calls The Second Bell “a coming-of-age tale set in a lavishly detailed backdrop drawn from the writer’s native Slavic mythology”
Forthcoming 9 March 2021 from Angry Robot, The Second Bell by Gabriela Houston is available for pre-order now.