The Safekeep (Hardcover)

The Safekeep By Yael van der Wouden Cover Image

The Safekeep (Hardcover)


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“A suspenseful story of two women forced to stay in a house in the Dutch countryside. This novel gives tremendous insight on how the Dutch handled the repercussions of the Holocaust, and how a generation lost affects those who survive.”
— Josie Williams, Invitation Bookshop, Gig Harbor, WA

An exhilarating, twisted tale of desire, suspicion, and obsession between two women staying in the same house in the Dutch countryside during the summer of 1961—a powerful exploration of the legacy of WWII and the darker parts of our collective past.

A house is a precious thing...

It is 1961 and the rural Dutch province of Overijssel is quiet. Bomb craters have been filled, buildings reconstructed, and the war is truly over. Living alone in her late mother’s country home, Isabel knows her life is as it should be—led by routine and discipline. But all is upended when her brother Louis brings his graceless new girlfriend Eva, leaving her at Isabel’s doorstep as a guest, to stay for the season.

Eva is Isabel’s antithesis: she sleeps late, walks loudly through the house, and touches things she shouldn’t. In response, Isabel develops a fury-fueled obsession, and when things start disappearing around the house—a spoon, a knife, a bowl—Isabel’s suspicions begin to spiral. In the sweltering peak of summer, Isabel’s paranoia gives way to infatuation—leading to a discovery that unravels all Isabel has ever known. The war might not be well and truly over after all, and neither Eva—nor the house in which they live—are what they seem.

Mysterious, sophisticated, sensual, and infused with intrigue, atmosphere, and sex, The Safekeep is a brilliantly plotted and provocative debut novel you won’t soon forget.
Yael van der Wouden is a writer and a teacher. She lives in Utrecht, Netherlands, and The Safekeep is her first novel.
Product Details ISBN: 9781668034347
ISBN-10: 1668034344
Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 28th, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English
“A beautifully realized book, nearly perfect, as van der Wouden quietly explores the intricate nuances of resentment-hued sibling dynamics, the discovery of desire (and the simultaneous discovery of self), queer relationships at a time when they went unspoken, and the legacy of war and what it might mean to have been complicit in its horrors. . . A brilliant debut, as multifaceted as a gem.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Moving, unnerving, and deeply sexy.” —Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl with the Pearl Earring
“A masterclass in dramatic tension.” —The Bookseller

‘‘The Safekeep is Portrait of a Lady on Fire if Hitchcock had directed it. A stealthy, simmering novel about complicity and the lies we live by.” —Clare Pollard, author of Delphi

"An accomplished debut. . . Van der Wouden’s sensuous writing and flair for drama make this a winner.” —Publishers Weekly

The Safekeep is a dream of a novel—mesmerizing and shockingly good—it lulls you with the lyrical beauty of its words and then slams you awake with its raw passion and rage. Part silent scream, part breathless love story—I was utterly blown away.” —Miranda Cowley Heller, author of The Paper Palace

The Safekeep is thrilling: a riveting historical reconciliation and an impossible yet inevitable love story. Superbly wrought—serious, elegant, sexy, devastating.” —Julia May Jonas, author of Vladimir

"The Safekeep does not pull a single punch. This novel is equal parts filth, fear and fury. A narrative that draws you down its spiral until you’re dizzy, and characters that tackle you to the floor and leave you sweating."  —Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta, authors of The View Was Exhausting

"An astonishingly skillful debut, The Safekeep manages the rare trick of being both gripping and intimate. A twisting, elegant, intriguing story about the secrets we hide in our homes and hearts—and how it only takes one person to unlock the past." —Joanna Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Whalebone Theatre

The Safekeep is a beautiful book, highly charged, tense, shocking and heartbreaking in equal measure. . . One of those rare books that feels as if it’s been there all along, waiting to be given a voice. And what a voice this is.” —Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

“Surprising, chilling, and electric. The Safekeep is simply a fantastic work of literature.” —Alice Winn, author of In Memoriam

The Safekeep is a slow-burning, deceptively austere novel, whose subtle, crafty questions and lovely, lyric style will follow the reader long after its conclusion.” —Shelf-Awareness

“Haunting and exquisitely poignant. . . A wonderful novel.” —Claire Fuller, author of Unsettled Ground