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

The Sight of the Stars

Belva Plain
Authors:
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.

Hodder & Stoughton

Crossroads

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

Gwen Wright has grown up in a world of privilege and opportunity as the adopted daughter of a powerful woman. Jewel Fairbanks has grown up with nothing. From the moment they meet, beautiful, conniving Jewel envies Gwen, who seems to have everything Jewel wants. The two couldn't be more different, but their lives will soon become inextricably intertwined. Both will marry - but to profoundly different men. For Gwen, it is honest, hardworking Stan who steals her heart; Jewel will set her sights on Jeff, a shrewd businessman who owns the company where Stan works. But when Stan makes a shocking discovery on the job, relationships begin to shift and change and soon a tangled drama of greed, jealousy, and betrayal will encircle both couples, as a chain reaction of unexpected events changes four lives forever in ways they never could have foreseen.

Hodder & Stoughton

Looking Back

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain

They are the most unlikely friends: rich, kind, Cecile; brave, talented Norma; and Amanda, the poor girl they met at college. Now Cecile has married her talented architect, Amanda has married Norma's brother and Norma has found a niche with her work as a teacher and her beloved music.But behind the façade of happiness and friendship lie secrets that threaten to tear the three friends apart. There will be the sorrow of one who wants a child and cannot have one; another has a child she does not want. As the three women's secrets and desires converge, there will be scandal, heartbreak - and the crime which will bring both justice and an unexpected happiness to three families . . .

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
Authors:
Belva Plain
Hodder & Stoughton

Secrecy

Belva Plain
Authors:
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...

Hodder & Stoughton

Daybreak

Belva Plain
Authors:
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
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 Paperbacks

After the Fire

Belva Plain
Authors:
Belva Plain
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

With unerring insight and emotional power, Belva Plain, in her extraordinary novel, tells the story of a family divided and of the proud matriarch who takes a bold last stand to unite her warring children in what may be their last Homecoming.It is a crisp December day when Annette Byrne walks to the end of her long, curving driveway and drops five sealed envelopes into the mailbox, quickly, before second thoughts stay her hand. Shortly thereafter, with the holidays approaching, her estranged family will be gathered at her country estate for the first time in years.The sons. . . two brothers embittered by a breach of ethics, honor, and trust. The grandchildren. . . one young couple on the verge of divorce; another, lovingly united against the parents who have tarnished their lives. As the ill-fated meeting hurtles toward a bitter and abrupt conclusion, not even Annette Byrne's indomitable will can heal the rift--until a shattering event alters the landscape forever.

Charles Frazier

Charles Frazier grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. COLD MOUNTAIN, his highly acclaimed first novel, was an international bestseller, selling over one million copies and winning the National Book Award in 1997. It was the inspiration for the Oscar-winning film directed by Anthony Minghella and starring Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, and Renee Zellweger.A second novel, THIRTEEN MOONS, was published by Sceptre in 2007 and NIGHTWOODS, Charles' latest novel set in a lakeside town in 1960s North Carolina, was published in September 2011. To find out more, visit Charles' Facebook page www.facebook.com/CharlesFrazierAuthor or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Charles_Frazier.

David Nicholls

David Nicholls is the bestselling author of US, ONE DAY, STARTER FOR TEN and THE UNDERSTUDY. His novels have sold over 8 million copies worldwide and are published in forty languages. David's fifth novel, SWEET SORROW, will be published by Hodder in July 2019. David trained as an actor before making the switch to writing. He is an award-winning screenwriter, with TV credits including the third series of Cold Feet, a much-praised modern version of Much Ado About Nothing, The 7.39 and an adaptation of Tess of the D'Urbervilles. David wrote the screenplays for Great Expectations (2012) and Far from the Madding Crowd (2015, starring Carey Mulligan). He has twice been BAFTA nominated and his recent adaptation of Patrick Melrose from the novels by Edward St Aubyn won him an Emmy nomination. His bestselling first novel, STARTER FOR TEN, was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club in 2004, and in 2006 David went on to write the screenplay of the film version.His third novel, ONE DAY, was published in 2009 to extraordinary critical acclaim, and stayed in the Sunday Times top ten bestseller list for ten weeks on publication. ONE DAY won the 2010 Galaxy Book of the Year Award. David's fourth novel, US, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2014 and was another no. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. In 2014, he was named Author of the Year at the National Book Awards.

Eleanor O’Reilly

Eleanor O'Reilly is a teacher of English and Classical Studies who has just completed an MA in Creative Writing, at Manchester Metropolitan University. Having first started writing five years ago, she has received several literary prizes, including the 2015 RTE Francis McManus Radio Short Story Award and the 2013 William Trevor International Short Story Award, and has been shortlisted for several others, including the 2016 Colm Toibin Literary Award. She lives in Ireland with her husband Brian Kelly, their daughter Ella Kelly, and a whole menagerie of pets. M for Mammy is her debut novel.

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.

Graeme Simsion

Graeme Simsion is the internationally bestselling author of The Rosie Project, The Rosie Effect and The Best of Adam Sharp. graemesimsion.comfacebook.com/GraemeSimsionAuthor@GraemeSimsion

J M Holmes

J.M. Holmes won the Burnett Howe prize for fiction at Amherst College, received fellowships at the Iowa Writer's Workshop and the Napa Valley Writers' Conference. He's worked in educational outreach in Iowa, Massachusetts and Pawtucket. His stories have appeared in the Paris Review and HOW Journal. How Are You Going To Save Yourself is his debut.