Although the premise of this dark, inventive novel is almost absurdly romantic--a brooding hero and a pink-haired heroine, both in mourning, are thrown together in a stark, windswept landscape that evokes the Yorkshire moors--Elizabeth Knox's astonishing gift for language and imagery lift Billie's Kiss above others in its genre. It is 1903, and Murdo Hesketh (a fair-haired Heathcliff) is returning to his cousin's remote Scottish island estate, where he is engaged to implement the many "improvements" his wealthy cousin is foisting on the unwilling islanders. Just as his ship reaches harbor, Billie Paxton, a young female passenger, jumps onto land, avoiding by seconds the explosion that destroys the ship. Is she responsible for the destruction of the Gustav Edda and the deaths of her sister Edith and just-born nephew, as well as of Hesketh's loyal servant and friend, Ian Betler? Knox's third novel takes a few pages to get going, and some will find its uneven pace disorienting. But it is hard to put down a book in which the heroine accidentally throws a bucket of bile at the hero, and in which some 20 people die within the first 130 pages. Eventful and lushly descriptive, Billie's Kiss has the atmosphere of Jane Eyre with the revisionist sensibility of Wide Sargasso Sea. --Regina MarlerIt begins with a kiss. And a leap across cold, dark waters.

In the spring of 1903, the sheltered Billie Paxton, her older sister, and brother-in-law are sailing to their new home on a remote Scottish island. But just as the ship draws into port, there is an explosion. Many of the passengers and crew drown in the icy waters of the harbor. Young, pink-haired Billie is among the few survivors - clumsy, illiterate, and suddenly alone.

Brooding and resolute, Billie's fellow passenger Murdo Hesketh has been robbed of many people he loved in life - and the ship's explosion takes one more. He is determined to see the guilty parties brought to justice. Billie falls under immediate suspicion, by refusing to explain why, moments before the explosion, she leapt from ship to shore.

As she attempts to come to terms with an uncertain future, Billie acquaints herself with the eccentric inhabitants of Kiss Castle: the enigmatic Lord Hallowhume, who owns the island; his beautiful wife and worldly children; Geordie Betler, a spinsterish gentleman's gentlemen; and the fierce, fair-haired Murdo Hesketh, who inspires in Billie equal amounts of rage and passion.

Beautifully written - and reminiscent of the work of Emily Brontë and Jane Austen - Billie's Kiss is a darkly romantic tale of love and loss, mystery and tragedy.


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Used availability for Elizabeth Knox's Billie's Kiss

Hardback Editions

February 2002 : USA Hardback
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Title: Billie's Kiss
Author(s): Elizabeth Knox
ISBN: 0-345-45052-3 / 978-0-345-45052-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

May 2009 : UK Paperback
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Title: Billie's Kiss
Author(s): Elizabeth Knox
ISBN: 0-09-954194-7 / 978-0-09-954194-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


April 2003 : UK Paperback
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Title: Billie's Kiss
Author(s): Elizabeth Knox
ISBN: 0-09-943754-6 / 978-0-09-943754-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


April 2003 : USA Paperback
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Title: Billie's Kiss (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
Author(s): Elizabeth Knox
ISBN: 0-345-45051-5 / 978-0-345-45051-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


May 2002 : UK Paperback
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Title: Billie's Kiss
Author(s): Elizabeth Knox
ISBN: 0-7011-7350-5 / 978-0-7011-7350-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


January 2002 : New Zealand Paperback
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Title: Billie's kiss
Author(s): Elizabeth Knox
ISBN: 0-86473-426-3 / 978-0-86473-426-6 (New Zealand edition)
Publisher: Victoria University Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Audio Editions

April 2003 : UK Audio Cassette

Title: Billie's Kiss
Author(s): Elizabeth Knox
ISBN: 1-84283-577-7 / 978-1-84283-577-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Soundings Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

June 2013 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: Billie's Kiss
Author(s): Elizabeth Knox
Publisher: Victoria University Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


March 2011 : Australia, UK Kindle edition
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Title: Billie's Kiss
Author(s): Elizabeth Knox
Publisher: Vintage Digital
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU