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 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

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

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

A City of Bells

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge
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

The Herb of Grace

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

Towers in the Mist

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge
Hodder & Stoughton

The White Witch

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge

Local squire Robert Haslewood is gripped by the prospect of war. Following his boyhood hero, he leaves his family and travels away from their Oxfordshire village to fight for the Parliamentarian cause. Wise Froniga, Robert's cousin, is caught between two worlds. Divided between her Puritan family at the manor house and her relatives in the Romany community, she works to heal those in need. Left behind with her brother, Robert's daughter Jenny grows up under the shadow of conflict. When she encounters mysterious royalist Francis Leyland, she must choose between family loyalty and her own heart. As their lives entwine, the villagers struggle to stay true to their beliefs as war threatens to tear their community apart.

Adélaïde de Clermont-Tonnerre

This is Adélaïde de Clermont-Tonnerre's second novel. Her first, Fourrure, won five literary prizes in France. Le Dernier des Nôtres was the winner of both the Académie Francaise Grand Prix du Roman and the 2016 inaugural Filigranes prize, awarded to the book with the widest general appeal. It was on the longlist for the 2016 Renaudot prize, on the shortlist of four for the 2016 Landerneau prize, longlisted for the Prix de Flore.

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.

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.

Jake Arnott

Jake Arnott was born in 1961, and lives in London. He is the author of THE LONG FIRM, published by Sceptre in 1999 and subsequently made into an acclaimed BBC TV series. His second novel, HE KILLS COPPERS, was also made into a series by Channel 4. He has since published the novels TRUECRIME, JOHNNY COME HOME, THE DEVIL'S PAINTBRUSH and THE HOUSE OF RUMOUR.

Jean M. Auel

Jean M. Auel is one of the world's most esteemed and beloved authors. Her extensive factual research has earned her the respect of renowned scientists, archaeologists and anthropologists around the globe, culminating in her being made an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture and Communication in 2008.

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-four internationally bestselling novels, including My Sister's Keeper, The Storyteller and Small Great Things, and has also co-written two YA books with her daughter Samantha van Leer, Between the Lines and Off the Page. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and children. Jodi's UK website is www.jodipicoult.co.uk and she can be found on Facebook and Twitter at facebook.com/JodiPicoultUK and twitter.com/jodipicoult, and on Instagram at instagram.com/jodipicoult.

Laini Taylor

Hi! I write fantasy books. My latest is STRANGE THE DREAMER, about a young librarian, a mythic lost city, and the half-human children of murdered gods. Check it out :-) Before that I wrote the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE trilogy, which has been translated into 32 languages. It's about a blue-haired art student raised by monsters, a broken angel, and a war that has raged for 1000 years in another world. I also wrote LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES, which was a National Book Award finalist, and the DREAMDARK books. As well as various short stories and novellas. Thanks for reading!! www.lainitaylor.com; @lainitaylor

Laura Carlin

Laura Carlin left school at 16 to work in retail banking and it was only after leaving her job to write full-time that she discovered her passion for storytelling and exploring pockets of history through fiction. She lives in a book-filled house in beautiful rural Derbyshire with her family (and a very naughty cat). When she's not writing she enjoys walking in the surrounding Peak District. The Wicked Cometh is her first novel.

Lucy Worsley

Lucy Worsley is an historian, author, curator and television presenter. Lucy read history at New College, Oxford and worked for English Heritage before becoming Chief Curator at the charity Historic Royal Palaces. She also presents history programmes for the BBC, and her bestselling books include Jane Austen at Home, A Very British Murder: The Curious Story of how Crime was Turned into Art, If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home, Courtiers: the Secret History of the Georgian Court and Cavalier: The Story of a 17th century Playboy.

Mary Stewart

Mary Stewart was one of the 20th century's bestselling and best-loved novelists. She was born in Sunderland, County Durham in 1916, but lived for most of her life in Scotland, a source of much inspiration for her writing. Her first novel, Madam, Will You Talk? was published in 1955 and marked the beginning of a long and acclaimed writing career. In 1971 she was awarded the International PEN Association's Frederick Niven Prize for The Crystal Cave, and in 1974 the Scottish Arts Council Award for one of her children's books, Ludo and the Star Horse. She was married to the Scottish geologist Frederick Stewart, and died in 2014.

Mike Gayle

Mike Gayle was born and raised in Birmingham. After graduating from Salford University with a degree in Sociology, he moved to London to pursue a career in journalism and worked as a Features Editor and agony uncle. He has written for a variety of publications including The Sunday Times, the Guardian and Cosmopolitan.Mike became a full time novelist in 1997 following the publication of his Sunday Times top ten bestseller My Legendary Girlfriend, which was hailed by the Independent as 'full of belly laughs and painfully acute observations,' and by The Times as 'a funny, frank account of a hopeless romantic'. Since then he has written thirteen novels including Mr Commitment, Turning Thirty and Wish You Were Here. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages.You can find him online at mikegayle.co.uk and on Twitter @mikegayle.