The Leap Year Gene

A Novel

by Shelley Wood

On Sale: 08/06/2024

The Leap Year Gene

Enlarge Book Cover

The Leap Year Gene

A Novel

by Shelley Wood

On Sale: 08/06/2024


About the Book

From the author of The Quintland Sisters, a sweeping, imaginative historical epic that follows the remarkable lives of the McKinleys, a family forever altered by daughter Kit's secret.

February 29, 1916. A baby girl is born—but as the months and years go by, Kit McKinley inexplicably ages just one year for every four.

Her mother Lillian, a fledgling botanist, fears that Kit's condition will catch the attention of Lillian's fellow suffragettes, who have embraced the eugenics craze sweeping North America targeting unfit, unwed mothers and “defective" children. For decades, Kit and her family must keep on the move to conceal her secret and protect her from the unwanted attention of Nazi scientists, nosy doctors, Big Pharma and the insatiable news media that is always hunting for the next sensational story.

When Kit finally reaches her teens and can pass for an adult, she must decide whether she wants to stay perpetually on the run or stay put and form lasting ties. The only problem is Will Katzen, whose life—first as a baby, then as a boy, and then as a man—keeps intersecting with hers, complicating every instinct she has to flee, or to love.

Part medical mystery, part love story, The Leap Year Gene is an unforgettable tour de force that traces the past century's burgeoning understanding of genetics, eugenics and what constitutes “normal" while exploring the tensions, losses, love and sense of duty that can bind families together or split them apart.

Critical Praise

The Leap Year Gene is an astonishingly beautiful, wonderfully unique, completely seductive novel about of a woman who ages one year for every four. It is also a sweeping and memorable portrait of the 20th century: eugenics, genetics, World Wars, feminism, politics, world travel and much more. Most of all, it is a novel about love and devotion — among families, friends and lovers — against the backdrop of a persistent violence against people who are judged to be born different. I could not put this novel down.” — Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes

The Leap Year Gene is a capriciously imagined historical epic that captures the essence of a century through the remarkable life of Kit McKinley. A skilled researcher, Wood deftly weaves genetic discovery and society's fascination with eugenics into a highly unique, engrossing tale of love and family.” — Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times bestselling author of The Painted Girls

"In The Leap Year Gene, Shelley Wood offers a deeply heartfelt account of the McKinley family's complex relationship with time and societal change. With an intriguing blend of scientific insight and emotional resonance, Wood's novel is a poignant portrayal of kinship and the perennial search for meaning and belonging." — Ellen Keith, author of #1 international bestseller The Dutch Wife

The Leap Year Gene is a marvel. Spanning decades and continents, it shines new light on the essential bond of human empathy, exposing the burdens and immeasurable blessings of love. A fresh and unforgettable novel about what we can’t help but lose in this life – and what lives on.” — Alissa York, author of Far Cry


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443473163
  • ISBN 10: 1443473162
  • Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers
  • On Sale: 08/06/2024
  • Pages: 384
  • List Price:25.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : FICTION / Historical
  • BISAC2 : FICTION / Family Life
  • BISAC3 : FICTION / Medical

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