I’m the author of two historical novels, The Painted Bridge and The Sacred River, both published by Simon & Schuster in the UK and Scribner in the US. The Painted Bridge won the English first novel prize of the 2014 Festival du premier roman de Chambéry, France and was longlisted for the 2013 Desmond Elliott prize.
The Sacred River, my second novel, is the story of Harriet Heron, whose life is almost over before it has even begun. At just twenty-three years of age, she is an invalid, over-protected and reclusive. Before it is too late, she must escape the fog of Victorian London for a place where she can breathe.
Together with her devoted mother, Louisa, her god-fearing aunt, Yael, and a book of her own spells inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Harriet travels to a land where the air is tinged with rose and gold and for the first time begins to experience what it is to live. But a chance meeting on the voyage to Alexandria results in a dangerous friendship as Louisa’s long-buried past returns, in the form of someone determined to destroy her by preying upon her daughter.
As Harriet journeys towards a destiny no one could have foreseen, her aunt Yael is caught up in an Egypt on the brink of revolt and her mother must confront the spectres of her own youth.
Watch the two minute trailer below. The Sacred River is available from Amazon UK and from your local bookshop. It will be published in France and Germany in 2015.
The Painted Bridge, now available in paperback, is the story of Anna Palmer, incarcerated in a private asylum on the edge of London in the winter of 1859. Despite her recurrent visions, Anna is convinced of her own sanity. Her new husband is determined to keep her secluded.
Neither the ethereal-looking bridge nor the photographer conducting an experiment at Lake House will offer a way out of her plight. Instead, Anna must chart a more difficult route to freedom – one that means facing the truth about both her present and her past..