Catherine Jones: WONDER GIRLS

Wonder Girls tells the story of Ida Gaze, the first woman to swim the Bristol Channel, and her friend Freda Voyle. Seen partly through the eyes of the elderly Ceci, it is an exploration of the span and course of women’s lives and friendships, in the context of the changing times […]

On Writing

I was recently invited to talk to some people about how I moved from journalism to fiction, and wrote a piece to try and gather my thoughts. Here follows my longest-ever blog post – a personal account of what led to the publication of The Painted Bridge in 2012 and this […]

Bluebell Line


The characters in my new novel make two railway journeys, including one from London to Southampton at the start of their journey to Egypt. Wanting to experience riding on a steam train, to have a better feeling of what it might have been like for them, I went for a […]

‘Be very persevering…’

Charles Dickens' desk and chair

Gad’s Hill is the name of the house in Kent where Charles Dickens lived at the end of his life, where he wrote works including Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities and the unfinished Mystery of Edwin Drood - and where he died in the year 1870. As a boy, Dickens had […]

Squatter’s Cottage

squatter's cottage

This cottage, part of the Blists Hill Victorian town museum in Shropshire, is a reconstruction of a real squatter’s cottage, using the original materials and design. Victorian squatters were typically people who’d come from other parts of the country looking for work in the coal and clay pits, the brick […]

Sarah Whittingham’s FERN FEVER


Sarah Whittingham’s book on the Victorians’ passion for ferns – FERN FEVER The Story of Pteridomania, is a readable, beautiful and authoritative hardback. Thoroughly researched, wonderfully illustrated with period photographs and illustrations, and some contemporary images, the book immediately convinces as a classic text on the subject. Dr Sarah Whittingham, better […]

Writing Retreat


I have left London for a week and come here to mid-Wales, to be with my new book, Magic for the Living. I say ‘be with’ because I have found that although writing is part of what books require, they also need other forms of attention. Magic for the Living […]

Independent Bookshops


It’s Independent Booksellers Week from 30th June to 7th July. Thanks very much to my local bookshop for supporting my book.     And to Goldsboro Books in Cecil Court, off the Charing Cross Road (still famous for its bookshops, even if the one called ‘Author’ actually only sells shoes), for […]

The Painted Bridge out in the world


The Painted Bridge, the book that I spent two years writing, in this room, has – after a further year in the production process – gone out in to the world. Publication day was last Thursday, 24th May. Part of the role of the writer is to try and bring […]

Dr Diamond’s Photographs

Photograph of a patient at Springfield county asylum by Dr Hugh Diamond.  By kind permission of the Royal Society of Medicine.

The Painted Bridge is now out in paperback, in a beautiful new jacket. I first posted this piece on the inspiration behind the novel last year, but am putting it up again to mark the paperback publication. One of the themes of The Painted Bridge is learning to see. The heroine, Anna […]