Eliza and Lister have never been this wide-awake in their lives, and the Slope, with its curtains drawn wide, is bright with starlight. They talk in whispers, not to disturb the maids who lie sleeping on the other side of the box room.
The question Eliza's been needing to ask swells like a great berry in her mouth, and all at once she's not scared to let it out, not scared at all, not scared of anything . . .
In 1805 fourteen-year-old Eliza Raine is a school girl at the Manor School for Young Ladies in York. The daughter of an Indian mother and a British father, Eliza was banished to this unfamiliar country as a little girl. When she first stepped off the King George in Kent, Eliza was accompanied by her older sister, Jane, but now she boards alone at the Manor, with no one left to claim her.
She spends her days avoiding the attention of her fellow pupils until, one day, a fearless and charismatic new student arrives at the school. The two girls are immediately thrown together and soon Eliza's life is turned inside out by this strange and curious young woman.
Learned by Heart, Emma Donoghue's mesmerising new novel, tells the heartbreaking story of the tangled lives of two women whose intense, and unlikely, relationship will change them for ever.
One of BBC's Books of 2023.