Related to: 'Green Dolphin Country'

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 Middle Window

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge
Hodder Paperbacks

The Castle on the Hill

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge

Amid the chaos of the Second World War comes a charming story of courage and friendship, from the author of Green Dolphin Country and A City of Bells.In the summer of 1940, as the darkest days of the Second World War approach, a chance encounter on a train leads Miss Brown to become housekeeper at the Castle.Hidden in a quiet, rural corner of England, the crumbling castle is home to lonely historian Mr Birley and his nephews, fighter pilot Richard and fair, peace-loving Stephen. With young evacuees Moppet and Poppet, and mysterious violinist Jo Isaacson, this unexpected family of strangers come to rely on each other as the devastations of war rage on.

Hodder Paperbacks

The Dean's Watch

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge

A rich and beautiful story, set in a quiet cathedral city.When cathedral dean Adam Ayscough encounters clockmaker Isaac Peabody, their unlikely friendship touches the lives of the entire community. Behind the dean's fearsome reputation lies a humble man crippled by shyness. Desperate to leave behind a lasting legacy of goodness, his only wishes are to serve God and his parishioners, and to be loved by his young and dissatisfied wife.Haunted by the memories of a miserable childhood, gifted clockmaker Isaac Peabody has spent a lifetime perfecting his craft and rejecting all belief in God.Despite their fundamental differences, both men find a common understanding, and discover that faith can come in many different guises.What readers are saying about THE DEAN'S WATCH'Goudge in the class of Victor Hugo, or Dickens' - 5 STARS'Beautifully written, simply couldn't put it down' - 5 STARS'An unforgettable book' - 5 STARS'Just plain delightful' - 5 STARS'A wonderful book, full of atmosphere' - 5 STARS'A must for all Goudge fans' - 5 STARS

Hodder Paperbacks

The Rosemary Tree

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge

Michael Stone was once a famous author. That was before he went to prison. Now, recently released, Michael needs a new beginning. Weighed down by failure and despair, the town of Silverbridge seems too offer him a quiet, rural escape from the past. Kind, gentle vicar John Wentworth takes Michael under his wing, and introduces him to his family and friends. At the vicarage, John's inexplicably discontented wife Daphne brings up their daughters. Bedridden Harriet, John's former nanny, deals impatiently with a world to which she cannot actively participate. At the family home, Belmaray, Aunt Maria is burdened by the worry of a failing estate. And at the grim little town school is fiery teacher Mary O'Hara, determined to foster change. A story of courage and community, set in the beautiful Devonshire countryside.

Hodder Paperbacks

Gentian Hill

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge

Unable to bear the prospect of a life at sea, young Anthony O'Connell deserts his ship at Torquay and escapes into the Devonshire countryside under a new name. When Stella Sprigg, adopted daughter of a local farmer, encounters 'Zachary', the pair instantly know they are destined to be together. Intertwined with the local legend of St. Michael's Chapel, Stella and Zachary's story takes them from the secluded Devonshire valley to the perilous Mediterranean seas and finally to the poverty and squalor of eighteenth-century London.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Bird in the Tree

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge

Lucilla has spent a lifetime making the Hampshire estate of Damerosehay a tranquil haven for the Eliot family. When her favourite grandson, David, falls in love with an unsuitable woman Lucilla feels is unsuitable, she sees her most cherished ambitions put at risk. But can she persuade David and Nadine to put duty before love?

Hodder & Stoughton

A City of Bells

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge
Hodder & Stoughton

The Heart of the Family

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge

The third in the classic family saga about the Eliots of Damerosehay.Despite the success and acclaim he has found as an actor, David Eliot struggles with the demands of his career. His brittle conversation and seeming arrogance earn him the dislike of his new secretary, Sebastian Weber.But when Sebastian visits David's family home, he discovers a different side to his employer. As Damerosehay and its inhabitants weave their magic, Sebastian slowly begins to lay his own demons to rest.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Herb of Grace

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge
Hodder & Stoughton

Towers in the Mist

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge

An enchanting story of hope and fulfilment, set amid the Oxford colleges.Set in Elizabethan times, Faithful, a poor Londoner, heads for Oxford. He's bright, cheeky and good-looking, has a tremendous love of learning and hopes to be an Oxford scholar. When he is taken in by Canon Leigh and his family, Faithful begins to fulfil his dreams. In this coming-of-age tale, the excitement, squalor and beauty of the English Renaissance unfolds through the lives of two girls growing up, Oxford students approaching the threshold of distinguished careers, and their elders navigating the complicated waters of sixteenth-century England.What readers are saying about TOWERS IN THE MIST'A delight' - 5 STARS'One of the best' - 5 STARS'Brimming with life and charm; - 5 STARS'Absolutely magical' - 5 STARS'A novel which deserves to be read more than once' - 5 STARS

Hodder Paperbacks

The White Witch

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge

The White Witch is a story set at the time of the beginning of the English Civil War and the men and women drawn into it on both sides. Robert Haslewood, the local squire turns puritan and follows his boyhood hero to war leaving his children and wife behind him. His cousin Froniga, half gypsy and the White Witch of the title, a wise woman with the power of healing lives in danger. Her gypsy cousins sometimes camp near her but will always move on. They have befriended Yomen, who conceals a grand past but is now a tinker and royalist spy. He loves the puritan Froniga. A journey man painter, Francis, delights in painting the Haslewood children while spying too for the royalist cause. Their lives entwine until the bloodiness of war forces them to be loyal to their side whatever their personal ties, threatening to destroy friendships and humanity and kindness in the process.

Amor Towles

Amor Towles has written fiction which has appeared in The Paris Review. He lives in New York.www.amortowles.comwww.facebook.com/AmorTowles

Andrea Wulf

Andrea Wulf was born in India, moved to Germany as a child, and now lives in England. She is the author of several acclaimed books. The Brother Gardeners won the American Horticultural Society Book Award and was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Her book Founding Gardeners was on the New York Times bestseller list. Andrea has written for many newspapers including the Guardian, LA Times and New York Times. She was the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence 2013 and a three-time fellow of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. She appears regularly on TV and radio.

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 eighty novels and has been shortlisted for several awards, and Pride of Lancashire won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2006.You can find out more on her website, www.annajacobs.com or on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Anna.Jacobs.Books.

Anthony Riches

Anthony Riches began his lifelong interest in war and soldiers when he first heard his father's stories about World War II. This led to a degree in Military Studies at Manchester University. He began writing the story that would become Wounds of Honour after a visit to Housesteads in 1996. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and three children.www.anthonyriches.comwww.twitter.com/AnthonyRiches

Chrissie Manby

Chrissie Manby is the author of twenty romantic comedies including A PROPER FAMILY HOLIDAY, THE MATCHBREAKER and SEVEN SUNNY DAYS. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her novel about behaving badly after a break-up, GETTING OVER MR RIGHT, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award. Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London. Contrary to the popular conception of chick-lit writers, she is such a bad home-baker that her own father threatened to put her last creation on www.cakewrecks.com. She is, however, partial to white wine and shoes she can't walk in. You can follow her on Twitter @chrissiemanby, or visit her website www.chrissiemanby.co.uk to find out more.

Countess Of Carnarvon

Lady Fiona Carnarvon married the current Earl of Carnarvon in 1999, and they took over Highclere eight years ago.

Cristina Alger

Cristina Alger is a lifelong New Yorker. A graduate of Harvard College and NYU Law School, she worked as a financial analyst and a corporate attorney before becoming a writer. Her third novel, THE BANKER'S WIFE is a USA Today Bestseller. She's currently working on her fourth novel. She lives in New York with her husband and children.

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.

Gavin Extence

Gavin Extence lives in Sheffield with his wife and children. He has written two previous novels, the Richard and Judy bestseller, THE UNIVERSE VERSUS ALEX WOODS and THE MIRROR WORLD OF MELODY BLACK, which was described as 'a cross between Bridget Jones' Diary and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' by a Simon Mayo Book Club reviewer.