The Most Difficult Thing (which is in fact writing up all the nice things that have been said about one’s book without sounding like a smug git) is published by Borough Press and saw me named as one of the Observer’s debut authors to watch in their New Voices selection for 2019. It was also Editor’s Pick on Radio 4’s Open Book, and the One to Watch in the Bookseller. Featuring on radio and TV from BBC One’s The One Show and Radio 4’s Loose Ends, to Sky Sunrise, The Most Difficult Thing was acclaimed in the Sunday Times, Guardian, FT, Observer, the ipaper, Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, Red, Prima, Good Housekeeping and more. Why not check it out!?

On the surface, Anna Witherall personifies everything the aspirational magazine she works for represents. Married to her university boyfriend David, she has a beautiful home and gorgeous three-year-old twin daughters, Stella and Rose. But beneath the veneer of success and happiness, Anna is hiding a dark secret, one that threatens to unravel everything she has worked so hard to create.

As Anna finds herself drawn into the dark and highly controlled world of secret intelligence, she is forced to question the safety of her family, and of herself. Only one thing is certain: in order to protect her children, she must leave them, forever.

And someone is watching. Someone she thought she could trust. Someone who is determined to make them all pay.

Stylish and assured, The Most Difficult Thing is an irresistible combination of contemporary espionage and domestic suspense, and a compulsive, highly charged examination of betrayal.

What the critics say

‘Philby manages to marry a quasi-spy novel and a psychological thriller with real aplomb.’
John Dugdale, The Sunday Times

‘Everyone has an agenda in this intriguing exploration of deceit and duplicity, as Philby rachets up the paranoia to Highsmithian levels.’
Laura Wilson, the Guardian

‘The Most Difficult Thing is a pacey thriller but it is also an entertaining skewering of privilege and a sharp tale of the horrors that can lurk behind the most perfect of domestic set-ups… deserves to on every sun lounger this Summer.’

Sarah Hughes, the ipaper

‘A compelling and emotionally resonant mixture of spy thriller and domestic suspense.’
Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph

‘Philby pulls it off and shows herself a writer of promise’
Adam LeBor, the FT

‘I devoured this beautifully written, intricately wrought and unique blend of spy thriller and domestic suspense: The Most Difficult Thing is The Night Manager set in a woman’s world. The twists keep coming, right down to that chilling last line.’
Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said

‘Charlotte Philby’s debut The Most Difficult Thing is an enigmatic and slippery beast, a cool new generation of spy novel. Just as the characters play cat and mouse with one another, so does the author with her readers – it’s a guessing game right to the end and I turned the last page with my heart pounding. Recommended’
Louise Candlish, author of Our House

‘Spying has been her inheritance and this brilliant, beautifully crafted debut novel uses it to the full – and so much more besides.’
Jon Snow, Channel 4 News

‘Compelling and complex – a compulsive read’
Harriet Tyce, author of Blood Orange

‘Treachery and deceit come in many forms and usually have their roots in dark experience. Charlotte Philby’s thrilling novel explores those links. A compelling and disturbing read.’
Baroness Helena Kennedy

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