Hazel Barkworth

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book | Fiction | May 2020

It is too hot to sleep. To work. To be questioned time and again by the police.

At the beginning of a stifling, sultry summer, everything shifts irrevocably when Lily doesn't come home one afternoon.

Rachel is Lily's teacher. Her daughter Mia is Lily's best friend. The girls are fifteen - almost women, still children.

As Rachel becomes increasingly fixated on Lily's absence, she finds herself breaking fragile trusts and confronting impossible choices she never thought she'd face.

It wasn't supposed to happen like this.

Intoxicating and compulsive, Heatstroke is a darkly gripping, thought-provoking novel of crossed boundaries, power and betrayal, that plays with expectations at every turn.


Headline Publishing manages the translation rights for Heatstroke

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I burned through this scorching tale of obsession, betrayal and the wounds that mothers and daughters inflict on each other in the name of love.

Tammy Cohen

Heatstroke announces Hazel Barkworth as a stunning new voice in contemporary fiction. The events of one summer week rip away the surface of a mother’s relationship with her teenage daughter and Rachel’s bewildered grief as the physicality of early motherhood gives way to something approaching rivalry is raw, unsparing and almost unbearably tender. Perfect sentences swim gracefully across every page, overlaying a narrative that delights in wrong-footing the readers’ assumptions. I couldn’t tear myself away from it.

Erin Kelly

Stylish and sensual

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

A sticky, stifling story of boundaries and betrayal. I am addicted!... A gripping, dark and twisty read with beautiful, poetic writing

Emma Gannon

Sexy, sensual, difficult, provocative - I was hooked for every twist, turn and revelation. This is definitely one of the best reads of the summer. I was blown away

Laura Jane Williams

I gulped this whole thing down in one sitting. It's compulsive, sticky and full of gorgeous writing

Kirstin Innes

Pulls you into its sweaty interior and keeps you gripped to the end. Darkly atmospheric and so well written 

Renée Knight

Painfully real, and so beautifully written I wanted to stay within its pages forever. Heatstroke is unsettling, challenging and utterly immersive

Clare Mackintosh

Tense, sultry, unsettling, sweaty and evocative... A thrilling look at mothers and daughters, adolescence, sex, suburbia and secrets

Nell Frizzell

Barkworth is excruciatingly good at encapsulating that point in life where Mia and Lily stand — on the edge of growing up... An impressive first book.

Alison Flood
The Observer

Rachel makes for a flawed heroine in this gripping and intensely atmospheric debut novel, which beautifully explores the complicated relationship between mothers and teenage daughters. You may not be rooting for her, but you won't want to put this down until you find out what happens next.

Caroline Robb

This impressive first novel highlights the
often tricky relationships between mothers
and teenage daughters – and the secrets
they keep from each other. An unsettling,
addictive read that will keep you turning the
pages till dawn.

Charlotte Heathcote
Sunday Express S Magazine

A bold and beautifully written novel of desire and danger.

John Williams
Mail on Sunday
Full Review

A thought-provoking narrative and an atmospheric read that will draw you deep into its tangled web.

Zoe West
Woman's Weekly

Barkworth has a pinsharp eye for detail, perfectly catching the moment when girls transition to adults... propulsive, thought provoking and atmospheric. 

Fanny Blake
Daily Mail

Lucy Morris
+44 (0) 20 7393 4400
Email Lucy Morris