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The Unwitting

UK Publisher: Picador

Betrayal comes in many forms…

At the height of the Cold War, words are weapons and secrecy reigns. These are challenging times to be a writer and a wife, as Nell Benjamin knows only too well.

One bright November day in 1963, the dazzling young president arrives in Texas and Nell receives a phonecall that overturns the world as she knows it. In the shocking aftermath, whilst America mourns, Nell must come to terms with both a tragedy and a betrayal, one that shatters every illusion of the man she thought she knew better than anyone else.

Resonant, illuminating and utterly absorbing, The Unwitting is about the lies we tell, the secrets we keep and the power of both truth and love.


“A deep and disarming book about politics, human relationships, and love, from a writer renowned for her historical novels (Next to Love; Scottsboro; Lucy) that fans of literary fiction will enjoy.”

Library Journal

“The novel is brilliant on the cruelty of grief … For a writer this bold and dexterous, this is fertile ground.”

The Independent