Kay Langdale

Away From You


Away From You

Ursula sat at her dressing table and looked at herself in the mirror. She brushed her hair – which she wore in a smooth, jaw-length bob- and applied a little moisturiser. She had eschewed cosmetics long ago. She fastened the strap of her watch and ran her fingertips along the length of her cheekbones. They remained resolutely high, even though the flesh around her jaw, her mouth, had softened a little. Her face, she felt, reflected an air of surprise. Perhaps, more accurately, one of unexpected ambush. Her grey eyes looked dark; some days, darker. The skin beneath them retained a bruised, blue quality. She rubbed a little Carmex into her pale lips, and pressed them softly together.

This would be only the third job interview she had ever attended. Was that ridiculous, aged forty nine, to have only three times presented herself for selection?

The second interview had been with Rose, who had interviewed her, characteristically, in the garden, early in July. There had been a riffling breeze, and the petals of the almost-spent iceberg roses were caught on its breath so that she and Rose talked in a soft drizzle of white petals like two slightly stiff, recalcitrant brides.Rose had made scones, and rhubarb jam, and Geoffrey, in navy blue corduroys, waved cheerily from the herbaceous border, soil ridged to his knees.


Ursula would prefer not to work with children, but when she is offered a job as a housekeeper which involves childcare, she reluctantly accepts. Kind, attentive, and perceptive, she quickly brings routine and security to Ruby’s and Luca’s lives. But what is the secret that she is hiding, and why does she choose to make herself as unobtrusive and invisible as possible?

A novel about a particular, contemporary anguish, and about a past too terrible from which to ever fully emerge, Away From You is about one woman’s desire to remain true to those she loves, and to live her life as a means of bearing witness to theirs.


Langdale’s  psychological intelligence informs every angle of a thoroughly contemporary tragedy.The Times