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.

Hodder Paperbacks

Mr Gandy's Grand Tour

Alan Titchmarsh
Authors:
Alan Titchmarsh

Timothy Gandy has kept his lifetime's ambition secret for forty years.Now, suddenly (if tragically) released from the hen-pecked tedium of his ordinary existence, he is unexpectedly free to realize his dreams.He will embark on a Grand Tour of Europe, following in the footsteps of the aristocrats of the eighteenth century.He anticipates high art, culture and pleasant weather. He never expected to encounter new friendships - and possibly even love - along the way. It seems that Mr Gandy has embarked on the journey of a lifetime...

Hodder Paperbacks

Shining Threads

Audrey Howard
Authors:
Audrey Howard

When beautiful Tessa Harrison and her twin cousins take over their parents' Lancashire cotton mill, their luxurious upbringing has left them unprepared for their new responsibilities.For Tessa, there is an added but forbidden attraction at the mill. Foreman Will Broadbent, with his genuine understanding of the business and its workers, could not be more different from the dashing cousins. Yet, like the twins, he is hopelessly in love with this untameable girl.Their love for Tessa will lead one to death, one to the arms of another woman, a thrid too faint-hearted to take up his inheritance.And Tessa, the girl who could choose any man she wanted, is forced to shoulder more burdens than she could have imagined before she can be united with the one man she truly needs.

Hodder & Stoughton

What I Did On My Holidays

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

Sophie Sturgeon can't wait for her annual summer holiday. Not only will it be a week away from work, it will be a chance to reconnect with her boyfriend Callum. So this upcoming trip to Majorca is a big deal. Sophie's spent a lot of time getting ready. She's bought a new wardrobe. She's been waxed to within an inch of her life. She's determined she and Callum will have the best time ever. Then Callum dumps her, the night before they're due to leave. In a show of bravery and independence, Sophie says she'll go to Majorca alone - but in fact, she hides in her London flat. But when her friends, family, and even Callum seem so surprised and delighted at her single girl courage, Sophie decides to go all out and recreate the ultimate 'fake break' . . . with hilarious results.

Hodder & Stoughton

Writing for Love

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

Practical, inspiring, and filled with her trademark wit and charm, Chrissie Manby describes the writing process - from where she gets her ideas to a practical guide to planning the structure of a novel. A must-read for chick-lit fans and aspiring authors. EXCLUSIVE: contains chapters 1-4 of Chrissie's new novel WHAT I DID ON MY HOLIDAYS.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Ship of Brides

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes
Hodder & Stoughton

The Poison Tree

Erin Kelly
Authors:
Erin Kelly
Hodder Paperbacks

The Horse Dancer

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes
Hodder & Stoughton

Marrying for Money

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby
Hodder & Stoughton

Seven Sunny Days

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

When Rachel Buckley announces that she is going to tie the knot, her best friends Yaslyn and Carrie Ann organise a luxury 'hen week' in sun-soaked Turkey.It should be the perfect send off to single life. But her friends have packed more than just sun creams and bikinis - they've also brought with them a serious amount of emotional baggage.Add unlimited free cocktails, rampant reps and a nasty dose of sunstroke and suddenly seven sunny days puts even the firmest friendships to the test.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Shell Seekers

Rosamunde Pilcher
Authors:
Rosamunde Pilcher

Artist's daughter Penelope Keeling can look back on a full and varied life: a Bohemian childhood in London and Cornwall, an unhappy wartime marriage, and the one man she truly loved. She has brought up three children - and learned to accept them as they are.Yet she is far too energetic and independent to settle sweetly into pensioned-off old-age. And when she discovers that her most treasured possession, her father's painting, The Shell Seekers, is now worth a small fortune, it is Penelope who must make the decisions that will determine whether her family can continue to survive as a family, or be split apart.

Hodder & Stoughton

Second Prize

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

Dashing, dishy and utterly uninterested. No one else can compete. Lara Fenton is all washed up. Single at 25, she's desperate to find a man, especially since her best friend Julie got engaged. Salvation arrives in the divine form of Hugh Armstrong-Hamilton. Yes, Hugh has his faults, but who doesn't? So what if he never picks up the bill? Big deal if he cancels dates at the last moment. And who cares about a few insults from his snooty friends? Hugh is a God - her God, and any other man would seem like second prize in comparison. Or would they...?

Hodder Paperbacks

Night Music

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes

The 2008 novel Night Music by Jojo Moyes, the bestselling author of Me Before You and two-time winner of the RNA Novel of the Year award.'Warm, engaging and acutely observed.' - Woman and HomeIsabel Delancey has always taken her gifted life for granted. But when her husband dies suddenly, leaving her with a mountain of debt, she and her two children are forced to abandon their home and move to a crumbling pile in the country.With the house falling down around them, and the last of her savings fast disappearing, Isabel turns to her neighbours, not knowing that her mere presence there has stirred up long-standing obsessions.As she fights to make her house a home, passions and lives collide. Isabel will discover an instinct for survival she never knew she had - and that a heart can play a new song . . .

Hodder & Stoughton

Lizzie Jordan's Secret Life

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

Lizzie Jordan considers herself one of life's failures. Unlike her high-flying friends, Lizzie works as a typist, shares a grubby flat and 'makes do' with her accountant boyfriend.But she has a secret love - Brian, a handsome American that she dated at university, five years ago. In her emails she pretends her life is a whirl of extravagant parties and million-pound business deals.Then Brian announces he's coming to stay! Lizzie's secret life is about to be rumbled unless she comes up with a cunning plan . . .

Hodder & Stoughton

Running Away From Richard

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby

Just graduated from drama school, Lizzie Jordan is looking forward to a glittering career at the RSC. She's also looking forward to becoming Mrs Richard Adams (Lizzie just knows that her live-in artist boyfriend is about to propose any day now). So how come, just one month later, Lizzie finds herself sharing a cockroach-infested house in Venice Beach, California, working as a waitress in a notorious transvestite bar, and pretending to be the fiancee of one of the hottest directors in Hollywood; a man who just happens to be gay? Why does life never seem to work out the way Lizzie Jordan planned?

Hodder Paperbacks

Silver Bay

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes

The moving and romantic novel from the bestselling author of Me Before You and The Girl You Left Behind. Shortlisted for the 2007 RNA Novel of the Year award. 'Compelling tale' - HeatLiza McCullen will never escape her past. But the unspoilt beaches and tight-knit community of Silver Bay offer the freedom and safety she craves - if not for herself, then for her young daughter, Hannah.Until Mike Dormer arrives as a guest in her aunt's hotel, and the peace of Silver Bay is shattered. The mild-mannered Englishman with his too-smart clothes and disturbing eyes could destroy everything Liza has worked so hard to protect: not only the family business and the bay that harbours her beloved whales, but also her conviction that she will never love - never deserve to love - again.

Hodder Paperbacks

Sheltering Rain

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes
Hodder Paperbacks

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?

Hodder Paperbacks

The Peacock Emporium

Jojo Moyes
Authors:
Jojo Moyes
Hodder Paperbacks

Echo of Another Time

Audrey Howard
Authors:
Audrey Howard

Elizabeth Cobbs

Elizabeth Cobbs, historian, novelist, and documentary filmmaker, is the author of four books on American history and a winner of the Allan Nevins Prize. Her novel Broken Promises: A Novel of the Civil War won the San Diego Book Award. She holds the Glasscock Chair at Texas A&M. Her first PBS film, American Umpire, debuts fall 2016.