Related to: 'The Last Letter from Your Lover'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

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The Horse Dancer

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes

The 2009 novel The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes, the bestselling author of Me Before You and two-time winner of the RNA Novel of the Year award.'A tale brimming with tenderness and romance.' - Marie ClaireIn a hidden corner of London, Henri Lachapelle is teaching his granddaughter and her horse to defy gravity, just as he had done in France, fifty years previously. But when disaster strikes, fourteen-year-old Sarah is left to fend for herself.Forced to share a house with her charismatic ex-husband, her professional judgement called into question, lawyer Natasha Macauley's life seems to have gone awry. When her path crosses that of Sarah, she sees a chance to put things right.But she doesn't know that Sarah is keeping a secret, one that will change all their lives forever . . .

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Night Music

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes
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Silver Bay

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes
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Sheltering Rain

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes

From the bestselling author of Me Before You and two-time winner of the RNA Novel of the Year award.On Coronation night the ex-pat community in Hong Kong gathers for a celebration party, and while they strain to listen to the wireless, 21-year-old Joy falls in love at first sight. She is engaged within 24 hours, but will not see her fiance again for a year. In 1980, 18-year-old Patricia's rebellion is to run away to from County Wexford with her illegitimate child. Fifteen years later Sabine leaves trendy Hackney to visit the grandparents she doesn't know, and finds that time in Wexford seems to have stood still. When Sabine, her mother and grandmother are brought together, not only is a deeply buried family secret is discovered, but also some fundamental truths: about the conflict between love and duty, about women's choices, and about mothers and daughters.'Perceptive debut novel . . . Be sure that your bookmark is a hankie.' - Elle

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Foreign Fruit

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes

The spellbinding 2003 novel from Jojo Moyes, bestselling author of Me Before You and The Girl You Left Behind. Moyes evokes the strictures of time beautifully, as well as the enervating charms of a sleepy resort. - Good HousekeepingIn the 1950s seaside town of Merham, everyone knows their place. Lottie Swift, an evacuee living with the respectable Holden family, loves it, while the Holdens' daughter Celia opposes its constraints.When a group of bohemians move into Arcadia, a grand Art Deco house on the seafront, Lottie and Celia are tempted into their alternative lifestyle. What ensues at the house has tragic and long-lasting consequences for all.Now almost fifty years on, Arcadia and its past secrets return to life, prompting the question: can you ever leave your past behind?

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The Peacock Emporium

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes

The 2004 novel The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes, the bestselling author of Me Before You and two-time winner of the RNA Novel of the Year award.'A charming and enchanting read.' - Company Athene Forster embraced the Sixties like few others. Nicknamed the Last Deb, she was spoiled, beautiful, and out of control. And within two years of her marriage, the rumours had begun again.Thirty-five years on, Suzanna Peacock finds refuge from her mother's shameful legacy in her shop, the Peacock Emporium. Within its magical walls she discovers not just friendship, and an escape from her troubled marriage, but the first real passion of her life.But the spectre of her mother still haunts Suzanna, setting in place a series of dramatic events. Only by confronting the past will she finally be able to face the future . . .

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The Ship of Brides

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes

Alison Jean Lester

Alison Jean Lester was born to an American father and a British mother, and educated in the US, the UK, China and Italy. She spent twenty-five years working, writing and raising her children in Japan and Singapore before relocating to the UK in 2016. She is the author of the novel Lillian on Life and has had short stories published in Ecotone and Good Housekeeping.

Amy Engel

Amy Engel is the author of the YA novels THE BOOK OF IVY and THE REVOLUTION OF IVY. She lives in Missouri with her family. THE ROANOKE GIRLS is her first novel for adults.

Andrew Michael Hurley

Andrew Michael Hurley has lived in Manchester and London, and is now based in Lancashire. His first novel, The Loney, was originally published by Tartarus Press, a tiny independent publisher based in Yorkshire, as a 300-copy limited-edition, before being republished by John Murray and going on to win the Costa Best First Novel Award and Book of the Year at the British Book Industry Awards in 2016.

Anna Jacobs

Anna Jacobs grew up in Lancashire and emigrated to Australia, but still visits the UK regularly to see her family and do research, something she loves. She is addicted to writing and figures she'll have to live to be 120 at least to tell all the stories that keep popping up in her imagination and nagging her to write them down.She's also addicted to her own hero, to whom she's been happily married for many years.She is the bestselling author of over sixty novels and has been shortlisted for several awards. Pride of Lancashire won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2006, and The Trader's Wife is on the shortlist for the 2012 award.You can find out more on her website, www.annajacobs.com or on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Anna.Jacobs.Books.

Belva Plain

Belva Plain's first novel, EVERGREEN, was published in 1978 and became an international bestseller. Over the course of a career spanning three decades she published over twenty bestselling novels in 22 languages. She died at the age of ninety five in 2010.

Chris Ryan

Former SAS corporal and the only man to escape death or capture during the Bravo Two Zero operation in the 1991 Gulf War, Chris Ryan turned to writing thrillers to tell the stories the Official Secrets Act stops him putting in his non-fiction. His novels have gone on to inspire the Sky One series Strike Back. Born near Newcastle in 1961, Chris Ryan joined the SAS in 1984. During his ten years there he was involved in overt and covert operations and was also sniper team commander of the anti-terrorist team. During the Gulf War, Chris Ryan was the only member of an eight-man unit to escape from Iraq, where three colleagues were killed and four captured. It was the longest escape and evasion in the history of the SAS. For this he was awarded the Military Medal. He wrote about his experiences in the bestseller The One That Got Away, which was adapted for screen, and since then has written three other works of non-fiction, over twenty bestselling novels and a series of childrens' books.

David Benioff

David Benioff is the co-creator of the HBO TV series Game of Thrones, based on the books from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. He is also the writer of the screenplays for the films Troy, Stay, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Kite Runner.He adapted his first novel, The 25th Hour, into the screenplay for Spike Lee's popular feature film of the same name. His historical fiction novel City of Thieves and short story collection When the Nines Rolled Over received critical acclaim. He lives in Los Angeles and New York City.

David Mitchell

Born in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Worcestershire. After graduating from Kent University, he taught English in Japan, where he wrote his first novel, Ghostwritten. Published in 1999, it was awarded the Mail on Sunday John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and in 2003, David Mitchell was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His third novel, Cloud Atlas, was shortlisted for six awards including the Man Booker Prize, and adapted for film in 2012. It was followed by Black Swan Green, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. Both were also longlisted for the Booker. In 2013, The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida was published in a translation from the Japanese by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida. It was an immediate bestseller in the UK and later in the US as well.

Davina Langdale

Davina Langdale studied Zoology at Bristol University, and worked with 93 chimpanzees and a hippo in Northern Zambia. She returned to the UK to take a postgraduate diploma in journalism at the London College of Printing, and after a brief stint in that field she realised that fiction was her true love. The Brittle Star is her first novel.

Dorothy L Sayers

Dorothy L Sayers was born in Oxford in 1893, and was both a classical scholar and a graduate in modern languages. As well as her popular Lord Peter Wimsey series, she wrote several religious plays, but considered her translations of Dante's Divina Commedia to be her best work. She died in 1957.www.sayers.org.uk

Dreda Say Mitchell

Born and bred in the East End of London, Dreda Say Mitchell has seen it all from the inside. After a string of jobs as a waitress, chambermaid and catering assistant she realised her dream of becoming a teacher. During this time she saw a new generation of East Enders grappling with the same problems she had but in an even more violent and unforgiving world. Dreda's books are inspired by the gritty, tough and criminal world she grew up in. She still lives in London's East End. Her debut, RUNNING HOT, was published in 2004 and won the Crime Writers' Association's John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for best first novel. She is the author of eight more novels and is currently writing the FLESH AND BLOOD series, set on 'The Devil's Estate' in Mile End. In 2016, she became a Reading Ambassador for the Reading Agency to promote literacy and libraries.Website: www.dredasaymitchell.com Facebook: /dredasaymitchell Twitter: @DredaMitchell

Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand grew up in Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, where she was a teaching/writing fellow. She now lives with her husband and their three children on Nantucket, Massachusetts, where her novels are set.You can follow Elin on Twitter @elinhilderbrand or find out more on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/ElinHilderbrand.

Elizabeth Goudge

Elizabeth de Beauchamp Goudge was born on April 24th 1900 in Wells, Somerset, where her father was Principal of Wells Theological College. Although she had privately intended writing as a career, her parents insisted she taught handicrafts in Oxford. She began writing in her spare time and her first novel ISLAND MAGIC, set in Guernsey, was a great success here and in America. GREEN DOLPHIN COUNTRY (1944) projected her to fame, netting a Literary Guild Award and a special prize of £30,000 from Louis B. Mayer of MGM before being filmed.In her later years Elizabeth Goudge settled in Henley-on-Thames. She died on April 1st, 1984.