The Observations

Jane Harris

Scotland, 1863. In an attempt to escape her not-so-innocent past in Glasgow, Bessy Buckley – the wide-eyed Irish heroine of The Observations – takes a job as a maid in a big house outside Edinburgh working for the beautiful Arabella.

Bessy is intrigued by her new employer, but puzzled by her increasingly strange requests and her insistence that Bessy keep a journal of her most intimate thoughts. And it seems that Arabella has a few secrets of her own – including her near-obsessive affection for Nora, a former maid who died in mysterious circumstances.

Explore the other winners

Winner announced - 9th September

Stay in the loop

Enter your email to be the first to know the latest news from the Women's Prize For Fiction

VOTE

Vote for your favourite #WomensPrize winner

Cast your vote for your favourite #ReadingWomen book and decide who will be our Winner of Winners in our 25th year.

Favourite book Live

  • A Spell of Winter
    4% 136 / 2.8k
  • Fugitive Pieces
    1% 50 / 2.8k
  • Larry's Party
    1% 40 / 2.8k
  • A Crime in the Neighborhood
    0% 22 / 2.8k
  • When I Lived in Modern Times
    0% 23 / 2.8k
  • The Idea of Perfection
    0% 16 / 2.8k
  • Bel Canto
    3% 113 / 2.8k
  • Property
    0% 12 / 2.8k
  • Small Island
    8% 254 / 2.8k
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin
    7% 209 / 2.8k
  • On Beauty
    3% 101 / 2.8k
  • Half of a Yellow Sun
    20% 577 / 2.8k
  • The Road Home
    2% 61 / 2.8k
  • Home
    2% 76 / 2.8k
  • The Lacuna
    2% 74 / 2.8k
  • The Tiger's Wife
    1% 39 / 2.8k
  • The Song of Achilles
    11% 341 / 2.8k
  • May We Be Forgiven
    1% 36 / 2.8k
  • A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
    2% 76 / 2.8k
  • How to be Both
    4% 120 / 2.8k
  • The Glorious Heresies
    2% 65 / 2.8k
  • The Power
    5% 148 / 2.8k
  • Home Fire
    5% 171 / 2.8k
  • An American Marriage
    5% 163 / 2.8k
Win a set of our 2020 shortlist!

Sign up for the Women's Prize for Fiction newsletter and win a stack of this year's six shortlisted books.

(We will send you occasional emails full of author interviews, extracts and audio, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Please read our privacy policy for more information).