The Burial Plot

The bewitching, seductive gothic thriller from the author of The Doll Factory

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Pub Date 6 Jun 2024 | Archive Date Not set

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Description

'I genuinely could not put this down' – Stacey Halls, author of Mrs England
'A tour de force of a gothic thriller. I devoured it' – Gillian McAllister, author of Wrong Place, Wrong Time
'Taut, propulsive, beautifully done' – Susan Stokes-Chapman, author of Pandora

From Elizabeth Macneal, the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Doll Factory, The Burial Plot is a spellbinding Gothic thriller about murder and manipulation.

London, 1839. With the cemeteries full and money to be made in death, tricksters Crawford and Bonnie survive on wicked schemes and ill-gotten coin. But one blistering evening, their fortunes flip. A man lies in a pool of blood at Bonnie’s feet and now she needs to disappear.

Crawford secures her a position as lady’s maid in a grand house on the Thames. As Bonnie comes to understand the family – the eccentric Mr Moncrieff, obsessively drawing mausoleums for his dead wife, and their peculiar daughter Cissie, scribbling imaginary love letters to herself – she begins to question what secrets are lying behind the house’s paper-thin walls and whether her own presence here was planned from the beginning.

Because Crawford is watching, and perhaps he is plotting his greatest trick yet . . .

'Ingenious' - The Sunday Times

'I genuinely could not put this down' – Stacey Halls, author of Mrs England
'A tour de force of a gothic thriller. I devoured it' – Gillian McAllister, author of Wrong Place, Wrong Time
'Taut...


Advance Praise

'I genuinely could not put this down' Stacey Halls

'A tour de force of a gothic thriller. I devoured it' Gillian McAllister

'Taut, propulsive, beautifully done' Susan Stokes Chapman

'You know the books everyone loves? Wuthering Heights, And Then There Were None, I Capture the Castle? The Burial Plot deserves a spot right alongside them' Nina de Gramont

'Dark, clever, with a twist worthy of your attention' Kiran Millwood Hargrave

'I genuinely could not put this down' Stacey Halls

'A tour de force of a gothic thriller. I devoured it' Gillian McAllister

'Taut, propulsive, beautifully done' Susan Stokes Chapman

'You know the books...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781529090949
PRICE £18.99 (GBP)
PAGES 336

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Featured Reviews

Elizabeth MacNeal knocks it out of the park again. She is a very good, and very interesting writer - this is a terrific novel, and well worth reading.

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Since reading Elizabeth's first book The Doll Factory, she became one of my favourite historical fiction writers. Circus of Wonders is still my favourite with its cast of the weird and the wonderful and eccentric, but the wonderful thing about her writing is the detailed research that has gone into them.

The Burial Plot is another great historical story that you can lose yourself in. The stark difference between the lives of the poor and wretched and the rich and powerful is highlighted again in its pages.

Young Bonnie escapes an arranged marriage to an old lecherous minister by running away to London where she falls under the spell of a charming, manipulative con man. From the outset you know poor Bonnie is headed for trouble as she believes herself in love with him. Cajoled into taking a job as a maid in a rich household to escape a robbery gone wrong, she is thrust into the world of the rich. But of course she is a pawn in her lover's plans she knows nothing about.

Woven into their story is how the building of the beautiful big cemeteries that appeared during Victorian times came about.

Sure to be another success for Elizabeth, especially with the stunning artwork on the cover which is sure to make readers want to pluck it off the shelves!

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The Burial Plot tells the story of Bonnie, a young woman who works with her lover Crawford and his friend Rex to fleece wealthy gentlemen. When their plans to target one man go terribly wrong, Crawford finds Bonnie a position as a lady's maid to young Cissie Moncrief, a 16 year old girl whose mother died 18 months ago. This will allow Bonnie to lay low until the dust settles, but Crawford soon comes up with a plan to fleece Cissie's father in his biggest plan yet - Bonnie could marry the widower and take his estate.

Mr Moncrief is still deep in grief for his late wife Josephine and young Cissie is struggling to cope with the loss of her mother and appears to suffer from delusions. Bonnie decides she can help them, with a plan to build a mausoleum to Josephine, alongside a new cemetery to alleviate the pressure on burial sites in London and make a fortune for the Moncriefs. Soon, Crawford is also involved in this endeavour but of course his intentions are only ever self serving, whereas Bonnie feels really affection for this small family and her loyalties are torn between them.

This was a brilliantly told gothic tale, full of dark atmosphere and a cast of intriguing characters. I did guess one of the twists but there were so many it didn't matter! Definitely recommend this.

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Captivating Victorian-set fiction that tells of the evolving of the huge, park-like cemeteries and shows how women were little more than commodities to me. Bonnie escapes being married off for family profit to an old man only to fall into the clutches of a handsome con man who was considerably worse. It’s dark and twisted and a great read.

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4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ The Burial Plot is an historical thriller that is absolutely absorbing. The gothic vibes are present throughout creating a scenic backdrop for an engaging plot. At times my heart was thumping when lies and manipulation start to unravel. Also the focus on burial grounds made for interesting reading as this was a problem Victorian England had to address. This book definitely transports you into the past and the characters are all so believable. Overall a brilliant read with darkness at its core. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC. This is a voluntary review of my own thoughts.

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The Burial Plot takes place in London in 1839. It’s a historical fiction novel that follows Bonnie as she navigates life with a trickster/scammer named Crawford. Bonnie often helps Crawford with the scams but one night everything goes wrong and Bonnie has to disappear. Crawford secures her a position as a lady’s maid in a grand house. Bonnie starts work and begins to understand Mr Moncrieff and his daughter Cissie. They are both strange in their own ways and Bonnie begins to question what secrets are hiding within the house especially as Crawford watches from the shadows.

The Burial Plot was an absolutely amazing novel. I loved the setting and I easily got the historical vibes. It actually reminded me of To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn in the vibes of the house and the way it was isolated from everything. The writing was great and the story was very compelling. I read this in two settings and I loved the experience of it. Bonnie was an interesting character to follow especially seeing her dynamic with Crawford. I loved the gothic vibes of the house and the cemetery being built. There was a sweet bond built between Bonnie and Cissie and I loved seeing Mr Moncrieff develop as a character. I would definitely recommend this to historical fiction lovers as this is 5 stars and a new favourite. I’ll definitely read from this author again in the future.

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An absolutely fascinating delve into Victorian burial customs alongside a strong dose of Machiavellian goings-on! Elizabeth Macneal continues to conjure up fascinating characters and those at the centre of ‘The Burial Plot’ are desperate to escape the day-to-day drudgery and poverty of working class London, no matter how. As Bonnie, fleeing from a heinous crime to become a maid in Endellion, a grand house in Twickenham, imagines, ‘There, she might be a new girl again, fresh, unboxed, her shoes scoured clean of bold, the shaky feeling in her legs simply buffed away.’
Unfortunately for Bonnie, her real weakness is an attachment to the horribly alluring Crawford. There’s no doubt that Bonnie is a strong-minded, brave woman. Nevertheless, Crawford knows how to work on her insecurities and her desires. Whilst the reader can recognise his powers of manipulation better than Bonnie, it’s only towards the end of the novel that Macneal reveals just how clever and callous he really is.
Gothic would certainly be an accurate description of ‘The Burial Plot’ but it’s not the only adjective that comes to mind. Bonnie’s nurturing relationship with Cissie, the motherless daughter of Endellion’s owner is particularly moving and the novel’s conclusion reminds us that human nature is a force for good – mostly.
I would not be at all surprised if this story is optioned for the screen. Strong female characters (‘…a chain of women all reaching out a hand and feeling the graze of their fingertips’) and a wicked chameleon alongside the business of designing and building the perfect Victorian cemetery. Irresistible!
My thanks to NetGalley and Pan MacMillan for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

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Give me a Victorian gothic novel set in an old grand house with a maid/governess and I'm sold. Reading this reminded me of Jane Eyre and Rebecca (two of my favourites!)

I figured out what was going to happen at the end around the halfway mark, but this didn't lessen my enjoyment of the novel. I really relished watching everything come to a climax.

This was my first Elizabeth Macneal novel and won't be my last. She's a superb storyteller, and her writing is exquisite.

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A stunningly well researched and expertly crafted Gothic thriller from Elizabeth Macneal. Intelligently written and meticulously plotted, her story arc excites the imagination whilst remaining firmly rooted in the period.
The central figure of Bonnie, both victim and heroine, pulls at the heartstrings and has one rooting for her throughout. A palimpsest for societal expectations, her life is mapped out from an early age but time and again she succeeds in writing her own story.
Macneal’s emotional intelligence and vast intellect have created another compelling Victorian cliffhanger embedded in the female experience. An absolute ‘must read’!

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We start with Bonnie and Crawford, petty criminals who have a nice little scheme going to trick gentlemen and relieve them of their coin. They are doing well for themselves until their luck runs out and Bonnie has to fight back a little too hard, leaving her target lying at her feet, blood pooling.
So she needs out of London asap. As luck would have it, Crawford finds an advertisement for a lady's maid in a big house where the mistress has not long since died, leaving a bereaved husband and young daughter. Cut to the chase and she secures the position, and the trust of her new master Mr Moncrieff and his daughter Cissie. As the coffers continue to dwindle, Moncrieff realises that he needs money and, annoyed at the fact that his deceased wife lies far away, coupled with the fact that he is an architect, takes on board Bonnie's suggestion to turn some unused land into a cemetery. This brings her "brother" Crawford to stay and advise.
And that's all I'm saying as you really need to discover all the rest of the delights of this book as the author intended for maximum impact! Suffice to say it sucked me in from the off, held me captive throughout, spitting me out at the end shocked but also completely satisfied.
It's chock full of secrets, lies, mis and dis-information and more than a healthy dollop of dysfunctional behaviour. Starring larger than life but also wholly credible characters, it's a slow burn that, after a bit of scene and character building becomes the gift that keeps on giving as more of the truth is laid bare.
This is the third book by this author that I have read and enjoyed and I would recommend it just as much as The Doll Factory and The Circus of Wonders. All that I left to do now is avidly await her next book... My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

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’But she wondered, as they sat side by side, if the same might occur to Mr Moncrieff, Bonnie echoing Cissie, who was echoing Josephine, a chain of women, all reaching out a hand and feeling the graze of their fingertips.’

Somehow ’The Burial Plot’ is my first experience with an Elizabeth Macneal book but it certainly won’t be the last. Her debut, ’The Doll Factory’ is a book that I’ve been meaning to read for a while and after devouring her latest offering I’m certainly going to have to make that book a priority on my to read list. If you want to get swept away in a gothic feeling historical thriller then ’The Burial Plot’ is undeniably the book for you.

Many of the gothic offerings that I’ve previously adored have walked the murky line between the natural and the supernatural yet this one has its feet planted firmly on the ground. If, like me, you tend to love those mystical elements please don’t let that fact deter you from picking this up though. With its elegant writing, unsettling atmosphere, complex characters and twisty plot this book has everything that you could possibly need to lose yourself within its world. It’s a book that is sure to delight fans of gothic and historical offerings alike.

One of this book’s standout features has to be its characters; an array of complex, differing individuals with complicated histories tying some of them together. Learning how Bonnie’s future had been mapped out for her turned my stomach and it’s all too easy to see how she could have fallen in with the wrong crowd. The relationship between her and Crawford felt unflinchingly real whilst her interactions with Cissie warmed my heart. Everything felt fleshed out in a believable manner and offered differing elements to the novel. There were some truly deplorable human antics too, proving that the mystical does not need to be involved to make a gothic offering noteworthy.

The writing was truly immersive and mesmerising, reeling me swiftly into the narrative. It’s a beautifully crafted book by an author that I truly wish I’d checked out sooner. The plot was wonderfully twisty too and kept me hooked. Admittedly I did wonder if certain routes were going to be taken but even when they did it ultimately never ended up playing out in quite the manner I’d have anticipated.

Truthfully it’s hard to single out any particular element of this novel above others as everything about it – the beautiful writing, the intriguing setting, the complex characters, the enticing plot – comes together to create a glorious tale that’s impossible to put down. If pushed to pick though I suppose I’d have to say its greatest strength is the characters and the bonds between them. It’s eerily unsettling to see just how despicable certain individuals can be and how highly one person can influence another.

So ultimately I certainly recommend checking out ’The Burial Plot’. Whether you’re a fan of gothic or historical fiction it’s an absolute must read, penned with beautifully immersive writing that you truly won’t want to put down. Needless to say I can’t wait to read more by this author.

Just as a final note to anyone whose intrigued by this book, it looks as though Forbidden Planet is offering a gorgeous edition of it. I can only judge by what I’ve seen on their website but it looks divine if the artwork is accurate.

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I suppose that I should not be surprised that Elizabeth Macneal has written another magnificent book. Full of gothic tension and a happy ending for the heroine (?). All of the characters were so believable , good and bad. Loved it !

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I really enjoyed this historical thriller. I mean who can possibly resist a book full of perfect gothic vibes? After I had read The Doll Factory I simply needed to get my hands on The Burial Plot as well and I was not disappointed. Two thumbs up!

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