Related to: 'Legacy of Silence'

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 & Stoughton

After the Fire

Belva Plain
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Belva Plain
Hodder & Stoughton

The Sight of the Stars

Belva Plain
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Belva Plain

The Sight of the Stars chronicles four generations of the remarkable Anring family as they journey across a teeming canvas of history, through world wars and the close of a century, through years of love, loss, sacrifice and unimaginable betrayal. It is about what happens when we dare to dream, and the moments that can change families forever.

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Crossroads

Belva Plain
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Belva Plain
Hodder & Stoughton

Looking Back

Belva Plain
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Belva Plain
Hodder & Stoughton

Her Father's House

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

Donald and Lillian were never a match made in heaven, but they have a child, Tina, and she is the love of Donald's heart.For her he would give up everything: his home, his work and even his freedom. When his marriage fails, he does just that.A chance meeting with a stranger on a train changes his life - and his daughter's - in ways he could never have imagined.From her earliest years Tina is exceptional, a brilliant student and a joyous person with a loving spirit. At university she falls in love with Gilbert who, three years older than she, graduates from law school just as she is about to enter medical school. Together they go to New York, where they learn a truth about Donald that shatters Tina's regard for the father who has for so long protected and cherished her.When a terrible lie has been told for love, can it be forgiven?

Hodder & Stoughton

The Carousel

Belva Plain
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Belva Plain
Hodder & Stoughton

Promises

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

With three children, a beautiful home and her loving husband Adam, Margaret Crane is a woman many would envy. When Adam begins working late at the office, Margaret is sure it's just the rumoured takeover of his company - until she meets Randi, the other woman.As the life Margaret knows comes crashing down, her adopted daughter Nina revels in New York. Nina is sure she's found Mr. Right in Keith, a brilliant investment banker. But Keith has a secret he hasn't told Nina.As Nina clings to stolen weekends with Keith and Margaret plays the dutiful wife, a rift develops between the two women. Keith is not welcome in Margaret's home. And Nina herself is the other woman...

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Daybreak

Belva Plain
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Belva Plain

Laura and 'Bud' Rice share an elegant home and two children; brilliant, handsome Tom and cherished, chronically ill Timmy. But after nineteen years of marriage, Laura's respectable husband is a stranger - and the reason behind Tom's escalating involvement with a group of campus bigots. Suddenly the Crawfields enter their lives and shatter the Rice's fragile world. As their quiet Southern town explodes with hate and violence, the two families must embrace the shattering truth, or risk being destroyed by it.

Hodder & Stoughton

Evergreen

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

A magnificent story of courage and ambition. Born into poverty and fear, Anna Friedman is desperate to leave her native Poland. Determined to make something of herself, Anna takes a journey that will change her life forever. Crossing the ocean, she moves to into a cramped New York slum and finds a job in a sweatshop. When two very different men fall in love with her, Anna is torn in love and loyalty.

Hodder & Stoughton

Random Winds

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

From a quiet turn-of-the-century village in upstate New York to war-torn London, from the bedsides of the rural poor to the life-and-death urgency of a New York hospital, comes a powerful epic of three generations of doctors in one family. The Farrell family are dedicated, brilliant... and driven to the edge of destruction by a love no force can suppress.

Hodder & Stoughton

Fortune's Hand

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

Rob McDaniels, a schoolteacher with noble intentions, comes into a little money, enabling him to go to law school. Upon graduation he goes to work for a fine honourable firm and marries the daughter of the senior partner, leaving behind the hometown girl he had planned to marry. From then on his career brings him enormous successes but then takes a shocking turn that changes his life and the life of his family, and reverberates into the next generation.With the magic of a born storyteller, bestselling author Belva Plain unfolds the devastating tale of a man whose dreams come true. Fortune's Hand is a novel of temptation, betrayal and greed - and of the redeeming power of love.

Hodder & Stoughton

Homecoming

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain
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Secrecy

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

First came the sin. Then the lies.He was handsome, charming, irresistable, and an eighteen-year-old lady-killer, her uncle Cliff's stepson, Ted. But in one terrible night he would shatter the life of fourteen-year-old Charlotte Dawes and nearly destroy her family. Years afterward, Charlotte would remember that night with fear and loathing, with pain that could be banished only by her work as a gifted architect, building a new world for others as she conceals her own.For Charlotte's family, prime employers in New England mill town, what happened to Charlotte was the beginning of the end. Her father is left shattered by his daughter's pain. Her troubled mother is unable to cope. And her distinguished family has fallen from grace, plunged into debt. The only rock that sustains them in their darkest hours is a woman whose own guilty secret has given her the power to ruin--or resurrect--the family to whom she owes her life.Belva Plain's searing novel cuts to the heart of a family ravaged by secrecy. But it is ultimately a story of redemption, the kind that grows when one person dares to tell the truth.

R. F. Delderfield

R. F. Delderfield was born in South London in 1912. On leaving school he joined the Exmouth Chronicle newspaper as a junior reporter, where he went on to become Editor. From there he began to write stage plays and then became a highly successful novelist, renowned for brilliantly portraying slices of English life. With the publication of his first saga, A HORSEMAN RIDING BY, he became one of Britain's most popular authors. Many of his bestselling novels were later adapted for television. He died in 1972.

Rob Parsons

Rob Parsons is the bestselling author of THE SIXTY MINUTE GRANDPARENT, TEENAGERS! and THE SIXTY MINUTE FATHER. He speaks internationally on family issues and is the Executive Chairman of Care for the Family, a charity committed to strengthening family life and helping others who are hurting due to family breakdown.Care for the Family, launched by Rob in 1988, is a registered charity and its work is motivated by Christian compassion. The resources and support it provides are available to everyone, of any faith or none.Rob lives in Cardiff with his wife Dianne. They have two adult children and four grandchildren.

Rosamunde Pilcher

Rosamunde Pilcher had a long and distinguished career as a novelist and short story writer, but it was her phenomenally successful novel, The Shell Seekers, that captured the hearts of all who read it, and won her international recognition as one of the best-loved storytellers of our time. It was voted one of UK's top 100 novels in the BBC's Big Read in 2003. Her bestselling novels, September, Coming Home and Winter Solstice were made into television films. She was awarded an O.B.E for services to literature in 2002 and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Dundee University in 2010. Rosamunde Pilcher died on 6 February 2019.

Ruth Hogan

Ruth Hogan is the author of The Keeper of Lost Things and The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes. A #1 word-of-mouth hit and Sunday Times bestseller with more than 800,000 copies sold, The Keeper of Lost Things was a Richard & Judy Book Club pick and a WHSmith Travel 'Fresh Talent' selection and is currently being published in over 30 countries around the world. Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel is her third novel. She lives in a chaotic Victorian house with an assortment of rescue dogs and her long-suffering husband.ruthhogan.co.uktwitter | instagram > ruthmariehoganfacebook > RuthHoganAuthor

Sadie Matthews

Sadie Matthews is the author of provocative, romantic novels that explore an intense and intimate side of life and relationships. The After Dark series was her first trilogy, and entranced readers with its sensual, engrossing story and unforgettable characters. The Seasons trilogy is her latest series, telling the story of the Hammond sisters.Sadie Matthews is married and lives in England. Find Sadie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/sadie_matthews.

Sally Hepworth

Sally Hepworth is the bestselling author of three previous novels, and a human resource professional. A graduate of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, Sally started writing novels after the birth of her first child. Sally has lived around the world, spending extended periods in Singapore, the UK, and Canada, and she now writes full-time from her home in Melbourne, where she lives with her husband and two young children.

Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown is the author of numerous New York Times bestselling thrillers. She lives in Arlington, Texas. Visit her website at www.sandrabrown.com and connect with her on Twitter: @SandraBrown_NYT