On Hampstead Heath
‘A mystery and an elegy for the death of old-fashioned journalism, it’s a book that will warm your heart.’
The Observer Fiction To Look Out For in 2021
‘Splendid read […] Funny, poignant, perceptive and plenty of sharp elbows along the way.’
Thorn Marsh was raised in a house of whispers, of meaningful glances and half-finished sentences. Now she’s a journalist with a passion for truth, more devoted to her work at the London Journal than she ever was to her ex-husband.
When the newspaper is bought by media giant The Goring Group, who value sales figures over fact-checking, Thorn openly questions their methods, and promptly finds herself moved from the news desk to the midweek supplement, reporting heart-warming stories for their new segment, The Bright Side, a job to which she is spectacularly unsuited.
On a final warning and with no heart-warming news in sight, a desperate Thorn fabricates a good-news story of her own. The story, centred on an angelic apparition on Hampstead Heath, goes viral. Caught between her principles and her ambitions, Thorn goes in search of the truth behind her creation, only to find the answers locked away in the unconscious mind of a stranger.
Marika Cobbold returns with her eighth novel, On Hampstead Heath. Sharp, poignant, and infused with dark humour, On Hampstead Heath is an homage to storytelling and to truth; to the tales we tell ourselves, and the stories that save us.
‘Marika Cobbold writes with such a light, witty touch, strewing the story with great one-liners, but she isn't afraid to tackle dark themes too, and manages to bring even minor characters to vivid life with just a few telling strokes. On Hampstead Heath is a deliciously romantic comedy of misunderstandings and misbehaviour – I loved it.’ Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures
‘With On Hampstead Heath, Marika Cobbold has rebooted the Hampstead Novel for the 21st century. Instead of focussing on its usual topics of middle-class adultery and delusions of grandeur, she has written about unexpected love, work and how truth can change even the most unprepossessing of situations. Like the heroine of a screwball comedy, her heroine Thorne is prickly, witty and memorably bonkers. A delightful novel.’ Amanda Craig
‘A heart-warming and at times hilarious tale about truth and honesty in this treacherous age of social media. I loved it.’ Josie Lloyd
‘A brilliant and brave take on fake news and its fallout. So of the moment. Witty and clever but with depth of emotion lurking at the centre.’ Elizabeth Buchan
‘Just finished and loved On Hampstead Heath by Marika Cobbold – clever and funny with a splinter of melancholy running through it. It’s a superb read.’ Frances Quinn, author of The Smallest Man
‘Few writers balance darkness and light as well as Cobbold. Her eighth novel features a prickly local journalist as its protagonist and is an engaging story of truth, lies and the tales we tell.’ Sarah Hughes, i paper, 75 of the best books for 2021
‘On Hampstead Heath was so refreshing and unexpectedly needed, like feeling the sun on your face in winter. Funny, astute, and aching in all the right ways, I was utterly charmed.’ Tor Udall, author of A Thousand Paper Birds
‘Marika Cobbold’s look on life is unique’ Katie Fforde
‘On Hampstead Heath is exactly what is needed at this time. A romantic story tempered with a sharp wit and written with knowledge and love of place in which it’s set. It also has a wonderful hero.’ Adèle Geras
'An absolute little gem of a book, On Hampstead Heath is entertaining, thought-provoking and extremely witty.' Michelle Ryles, The Book Magnet
'A fabulous read. It's wise and perceptive, honest and witty. [...] This is the sort of book that belongs on prize lists.' Short Book and Scribes
'Brilliant and funny and darkly surprising' Emma Stonex