Out 28th October 2021 and available for pre-order now: The Girl in the Maze explores the complex relationship between four generations of women – Betty, Margaret, Emma and her teenage daughter Libby – torn apart by familial sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy and the challenge of both mothering and being mothered.
While sorting through her dead mother’s effects, Emma Bowen discovers a birth certificate for a baby her mother gave birth to as a teenager – a sister she never knew about. The clues her mother left behind will lead Emma on a journey from sleepy Sussex to rural Lancashire, through 1950s London, where she is forced to confront her family’s darkest secrets.
I was inspired to writeThe Girl in the Maze came when I was clearing out my late mother’s house in 2016. I didn’t discover anything which helped to explain our difficult relationship (and the one that she’d had with her own mother) although I wish I had. But writing the story was a form of therapy in itself. I’ve always been fascinated by books about family secrets and intrigue.
Out November 2022:The Fortune Teller's Daughter is also about the uncovering of family secrets and is set partly in Edwardian England and in 2004.
When Rosie returns home from university to finish her dissertation on the First World War, her mother suggests she talks to her great-grandmother Edith. Rosie reluctantly visits the old lady but is quickly drawn in by her vivid recollections of the start of the war and her father and brothers joining up to fight. But when Edith repeatedly slips up on dates and locations, Rosie starts to wonder whether her memory is beginning to fail her, or if their family history is not what it seems.
I studied the First World War at university and loved it, so it's been wonderful to revisit some of that literature again and do more research. But the story was also inspired by our family history. My late grandmother was engaged to be married to a man who was killed in the Great War. She, along with thousands of other women of her generation, ended up marrying someone more than 20 years older than her.
Out 2023:I'm currently researching and writing a third novel exploring the issue of port-partum psychosis and the impact on mothers and their children.
I'll share more soon.