The Divines by Ellie Eaton
Genre: Coming-of-age story
Length: 320 pages
First Published: January 19, 2021
With the emotional power of Normal People and the reflective haze of The Girls,a compulsively readable literary debut set in a secluded boarding school, exploring the intoxicating, destructive relationships between teenage girls.
Can we ever really escape our past?
The girls of St John the Divine, an elite English boarding school, were notorious for flipping their hair, harassing teachers, chasing boys, and chain-smoking cigarettes. They were fiercely loyal, sharp-tongued, and cuttingly humorous in the way that only teenage girls can be. For Josephine, now in her thirties, the years at St John were a lifetime ago. She hasn’t spoken to another Divine in fifteen years, not since the day the school shuttered its doors in disgrace.
Yet now Josephine inexplicably finds herself returning to her old stomping grounds. The visit provokes blurry recollections of those doomed final weeks that rocked the community. Ruminating on the past, Josephine becomes obsessed with her teenage identity and the forgotten girls of her one-time orbit. With each memory that resurfaces, she circles closer to the violent secret at the heart of the school’s scandal. But the more Josephine recalls, the further her life unravels, derailing not just her marriage and career, but her entire sense of self.
Moving between present-day Los Angeles and 1990s Britain, The Divines is a scorching examination of the power of adolescent sexuality, female identity, and the destructive class divide. Exposing the tension between the lives we lead as adults and the experiences that form us, Eaton probes us to consider how our memories as adults compel us to reexamine our pasts.
About Ellie Eaton
Ellie Eaton is a freelance writer, whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Observer and Time Out. Former Writer-in-Residence at a mens prison in the UK, she holds an MA in creative writing from Royal Holloway, University of London and was awarded a Kerouac Project residency. Born and raised in England, she now lives in Los Angeles with her family. The Divines is her first novel. Visit the author’s website→