Related to: 'Hero'

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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High Street

Anna Jacobs
Authors:
Anna Jacobs
Hodder & Stoughton

Ride a White Swan

Lesley-Ann Jones
Authors:
Lesley-Ann Jones

From mod folk artist to flower power pixie elfin to the king of glam rockers, Marc Bolan was the ultimate chameleon. His far reaching musical and stylistic influence is more relevant today than ever with hits such as 'Ride A White Swan', 'Children Of The Revolution', 'Get It On' and 'Hot Love' as fresh and exhilarating as when first released. At the peak of his popularity during his lifetime Bolan was outselling Jimi Hendrix and The Who, and yet relatively little is really known about the hypnotic, enigmatic 20th century boy turned 21st century icon. At last, in the 35th anniversary year of his tragic death, Marc Bolan represents the definite biography. Here rock biographer, Lesley-Ann Jones, paints a meticulous portrait of the T-Rex front man. From his childhood growing up in Hackney to his untimely death at the age of 29, Bolan's life was one of relentless experimentation and metamorphoses. Hallucinogenic drugs, wizardry and levitation, alcoholism, tax evasion and a spectacular fall from grace were to punctuate his short life, as he continued to strive to reinvent himself and his music over and over again. Lesley-Ann has been granted access to those who knew Bolan best, including his partner and the mother of his only son, Gloria Jones and his brother, Harry Feld.

Hodder & Stoughton

Freddie Mercury: The Definitive Biography

Lesley-Ann Jones
Authors:
Lesley-Ann Jones
Hodder & Stoughton

For The Love Of A Sister

Meg Hutchinson
Authors:
Meg Hutchinson

When Myra Brent's sister Eden visits her at Moorcroft House, instead of being welcomed, Eden receives a stinging slap. Eden is devastated by her sister's cruel behaviour. Myra is simply trying to prevent her beloved sister from catching the predatory eye of Ava Russell, the cruel mistress of Moorcroft House. But her action is to have dire consequences. Believing herself abandoned, Eden sets off, penniless, to make her way in the world alone. Eden will enjoy the kindness of strangers; but her path will also cross that of vicious evildoers, bent only on drawing innocents into their web of depravity and corruption. And in the meantime, Myra makes the greatest sacrifice of all -- for the love of her sister.

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Calico Road

Anna Jacobs
Authors:
Anna Jacobs

Calico Road runs through a tiny Lancashire hamlet up on the edge of the moors, miles from anywhere. Its folk are an independent breed - and in 1827 they are a thorn in the side of the vicious mill owner in the valley below.Toby Fletcher's father ignored his bastard son while alive. Now Toby is the new owner of the rambling old inn, an unwitting keeper of its secrets. Then Meg Staley comes to Calico, a woman who was strong enough to survive one tragedy, but found it harder to withstand a second blow. Toby finds her wandering the moors, cold and starving, and brings her back to the inn.Working there, Meg starts to rebuild her life and find a fragile happiness. But then the secrets of Calico Road come crashing down on her and those she has grown to love . . .

Hodder & Stoughton

Pauper's Child

Meg Hutchinson
Authors:
Meg Hutchinson

Increasingly desperate poverty after her beloved father's suicide forces a crisis for Callista Stanford, for vicious rent collector Oswin Slade will accept only the girl's body in payment for the rent due. Repulsed by his advances, Callista postpones the evil day until it is too late. Homeless and destitute, Callista finds refuge with Abigail and Daniel Roberts, a kindly couple, potters by trade. Taught by her father to appreciate beauty, Callista proves to have a feeling for the clay and with Daniel's help comes to be mistress of the Leabrook Pottery. But there is no happy ending yet; an unseen enemy, a depraved woman, lurks in the shadows, intent on harm to the pauper's child.

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A Pennyworth of Sunshine

Anna Jacobs
Authors:
Anna Jacobs

Bestselling saga author Anna Jacobs' novel of life in nineteenth century Lancashire and Australia.'Catherine Cookson fans will cheer.' - Peterborough Evening Telegraph Keara Michaels doesn't want to leave her family in Ireland, but fate sends her first to Lancashire, then across the sea to Australia, pregnant and penniless. And Theo Mullane, the man who loves her, is married, with an ailing baby son, so cannot follow her as he longs to.Mark Gibson leaves Lancashire to avoid marriage. But gold prospecting is a dangerous pursuit, and when his gentle young wife dies in childbirth, his father-in-law kidnaps the baby. So Mark runs away again, this time to Western Australia, where he employs Keara in his country inn.But danger threatens them all, even in the bush, as Keara searches for her lost sisters, Theo comes looking for the woman he loves, and Mark at last confronts his past.

Coronet

The Deverell Woman

Meg Hutchinson
Authors:
Meg Hutchinson

Maura Deverell is a young Irish peasant girl whose mother is dying of consumption. Their cruel landlord threatens to throw them out of their cottage unless Maura agrees to marry his young son, Liam Riordan. But before Maura can decide, she is brutally raped by Liam's brother Padraig, who gloats that once she is under their roof, Maura will be at his mercy - his sexual slave.Weak though she is, Maura's mother does not let this vicious act go unavenged. She curses the Riordans and then, on her deathbed, makes Maura promise to leave Ireland for good. Maura ends up in Birmingham, after many narrow escapes from rape and death. Even when she makes staunch friends, and discovers a protector in the shape of Aiden Shanley, she longs to go home, stopped only by her promise to her mother. Eventually the wicked Riordans meet a well deserved sticky end and Maura is persuaded to return and marry Liam after all.

Coronet

Down Weavers Lane

Anna Jacobs
Authors:
Anna Jacobs
Hodder & Stoughton

Peppercorn Woman

Meg Hutchinson
Authors:
Meg Hutchinson

'Throw it to the dogs! Do as I say or by Christ I'll do it myself and throw you in after it!'Tyler Cadell's cruel order spells heartbreak for his wife Garnet and their new-born baby. She flees to save herself, but cannot save her child and the memory of that tragic loss haunts her days.Taken in by a band of Black Country Romanies, Garnet is touched by the warmth and generosity of the gypsy people, even if not all of them offer her an equally charitable welcome. Although loved by their leader, Judah Kane, Garnet moves on once she has regained her strength and determines to take revenge on her husband. Meanwhile Tyler has assumed the role of grieving widower in order to ally his fortune with that of Lady Olivia Denton: the reappearance of his legal wife would be a major inconvenience. Indulging his voracious sexual appetite with the sensual gypsy girl, Marisa, Tyler learns of Garnet's whereabouts and determines to be rid of her once and for all.

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Lancashire Legacy

Anna Jacobs
Authors:
Anna Jacobs

At eighteen Cathie longs for more than life as a settler in the Australian bush. She accepts her uncle's offer to send her to England and runs away from her family, not realising he is using her to get revenge on his sister Liza. Attacked at the docks in Liverpool, Cathie takes refuge with the man who saved her, a man who has his own troubles. But as she slowly regains her memory and meets her Lancashire relatives, she must confront the legacy of her mother's past. And even in 1876, the same wealthy families who forced her mother to leave Lancashire are still powerful enough to threaten Cathie's happiness and safety, as well as that of anyone close to her.

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The Judas Touch

Meg Hutchinson
Authors:
Meg Hutchinson

The Number One bestseller.When Tam's brother Benjie is wrongly accused of theft, and locked in a prison cell, his sister makes a solemn promise that she will not let the little lad down. But Fate makes her break her word almost immediately: Benjie is transported to Australia and Tam must embark upon an epic journey to find him.Friendless and penniless, she makes her way to Bristol, finding employment as a lady's maid on board the Porpoise, a ship bound for the colonies. The voyage is long and perilous and Tam's life is threatened by two depraved seamen; though First Mate James Allen offers her his protection, she cannot return his love. For Tamar's heart already belongs to another seafaring man - Captain Nathan Burford, who, like Tamar, haunts the seas looking for lost loved ones.Under the blazing Australian sun, Tam must endure hardship and cruelty, but she also encounters generosity and friendship from unexpected quarters on her quest. Will one poor girl right a terrible wrong and rescue her brother from the Judas Touch?

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Our Polly

Anna Jacobs
Authors:
Anna Jacobs

Little Billy is the light of Polly's life - it's for her son's sake that she puts up with an unkind mother-in-law and an isolated farm. Then Billy is knocked down by a car, his father killed attempting to save his life, and Polly, cast off by her husband's family, is left with a child who may never walk or talk again. Polly's own family, the Kershaws, provide all the support they can, but they are unable to outmanoeuvre the malicious Dr Browning-Baker , who is determined to have Billy taken away from his mother, depriving him of the exercises and stimulation that are his only hope. Forced to flee to the Fylde coast, Polly and Billy find that their future may lie with another damaged family - an ex-Army captain whose First World War marriage was a terrible mistake, and his daughter, who has never recovered from the hostility of the mother she loves. But danger threatens their fragile happiness...

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Like No Other

Anna Jacobs
Authors:
Anna Jacobs

Rachel Smedling is not like the other women in her isolated Pennine village: she is taller, stronger and weaves cloth like a man. Without her, the household would fall apart, for her mother is ailing and her vicious drunkard father seems to hate her so much, he would happily offer money to any man who would wed her. When her mother dies, Rachel is at the mercy of her increasingly violent father. Her only escape is by marrying a kindly man with whom she finds happiness, if not passion, and her life begins to seem complete. Rachel's growing prosperity infuriates her father and his cronies, however, and they will stop at nothing to see her destroyed.

Hodder & Stoughton

Bitter Seed

Meg Hutchinson
Authors:
Meg Hutchinson
Hodder Paperbacks

No Place of Angels

Meg Hutchinson
Authors:
Meg Hutchinson

Carys Beddows has never understood why her mother hates her so much. Certainly jealousy plays a part: Maria believes that young Ryder Tempal would be hers with her pretty daughter out of the way, and throws Carys out of the house to fend for herself. Befriended by Alice, a young woman in domestic service, Carys herself takes a job as a housemaid and is lucky enough to find in the mistress of the house a friend and patron. Maria continues with her vicious schemes until fate intervenes to punish her wicked ways; but for Carys, the reward of virtue is lasting love.

Coronet

Freddie Mercury

Lesley-Ann Jones
Authors:
Lesley-Ann Jones

Hodder & Stoughton

Hallam Square

Anna Jacobs
Authors:
Anna Jacobs

Hodder Paperbacks

Ridge Hill

Anna Jacobs
Authors:
Anna Jacobs

Book threein the heartwarming Lancashire-based Gibson series by beloved saga author Anna Jacobs. It's 1848 and preparations are underway for Annie Gibson's wedding to Bilsden's wealthy millwoner, Frederick Hallam. But not everyone is as pleased as they are. Frederick's daughter, Beatrice, is horrified at the prospect of a new attractive stepmother arriving at the house on Ridge Hill. Even Annie's own family feels threatened. The only person who seems pleased is Tom, Annie's brother. Soon, however, real troubles begin to pile up for the Gibsons. Tom's happiness is jeopardised by the news that he is father to a child he never knew about. Annie's son, William, is devastated to find out that his real father is not the man who brought him up. And even Annie's joy cannot last. Because someone has uncovered the secrets she has fought so hard to keep hidden...

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Salem Street

Anna Jacobs
Authors:
Anna Jacobs