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

Bored with the distractions of London, Judy Cameron insists on taking herself, her parents and her fiance to remote Glen Suilag in the Scottish Highlands. Leaving behind the busy whirl of the capital, she becomes absorbed in an unknown and yet strangely familiar world. As Judy explores the house and glen, secrets begin to unravel and questions arise that she must find the answers to. Why does the strange house feel so familiar? How does she know the laird, Ian Macdonald? Why does she feel so terrified of the middle window in the parlour? And who is the mysterious Judith who haunts her dreams?

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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.

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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.

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.

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The Dean's Watch

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge
Hodder & Stoughton

A City of Bells

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge
Hodder & Stoughton

The Bird in the Tree

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

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 Herb of Grace

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge

The second in the classic trilogy about the Eliots of Damerosehay.War has left David Eliot a changed man. Returning to the family home, he slowly begins to put the pieces of his life together.Tormented by the failure of her love affair with David five years earlier, Nadine has misgivings about bringing her family to live in the enchanting old inn close to the Damerosehay estate.But as the tranquil Hampshire countryside casts its spell, both families come to discover a measure of peace and contentment.

Hodder & Stoughton

Towers in the Mist

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge
Hodder & Stoughton

The Rumour

Elin Hilderbrand
Authors:
Elin Hilderbrand
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Georgia

Claire Lorrimer
Authors:
Claire Lorrimer
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Ortolans

Claire Lorrimer
Authors:
Claire Lorrimer
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Last Year's Nightingale

Claire Lorrimer
Authors:
Claire Lorrimer
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Frost in the Sun

Claire Lorrimer
Authors:
Claire Lorrimer

Casilda Montero is the beautiful and hot-blooded daughter of a wealthy Spanish aristocrat. Sent from the family hacienda in Southern Spain to an English boarding school, she befriends Joscelin Howard, a shy, serious English girl. As both girls find themselves swept up in the dramatic events unfolding in 1930s Europe, this enduring friendship is the one constant in their lives. From the carefree glamour of London high society to the devastation of the battlefields in Spain, Casilda, Joscelin and their families are tragically linked by passion and bloodshed.

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Beautiful Day

Elin Hilderbrand
Authors:
Elin Hilderbrand

The Carmichaels and Grahams have gathered on Nantucket for a wedding. Plans are being made according to the wishes of the bride's late mother, who left behind The Notebook: specific instructions for every detail of her youngest daughter's future nuptials. Everything should be falling into place for the beautiful event - but in reality, things are far from perfect.While the couple-to-be are quite happy, their loved ones find their own lives crumbling. In the days leading up to the wedding, love will be questioned, scandals will arise, and hearts will be broken . . . In BEAUTIFUL DAY Elin Hilderbrand takes readers on a journey into the heart of marriage, what it means to be faithful, and how we choose to honour our commitments.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Black Stone

Nick Brown
Authors:
Nick Brown

AD 273. Obsessed by the solar religions of the east, the emperor Aurelian sets out to obtain every sacred object within his realm. But one - a mysterious rock said to channel the power of the sun god - lies beyond his reach. Warrior-priest Ilaha has captured the legendary stone and is using it to raise an army against Rome.For Imperial agent Cassius Corbulo and ex-gladiator bodyguard Indavara, stopping him constitutes their greatest challenge yet. Assisted by a squad of undercover soldiers and a Saracen chieftain, they trek south across the deserts of Arabia, encountering sandstorms, murderous money-lenders and a ruthless German mercenary. And when they finally reach Ilaha's mountain fortress, they face thousands of warriors who will give their lives to protect him ... and the black stone.

Hodder & Stoughton

Beatrice and Benedick

Marina Fiorato
Authors:
Marina Fiorato
John Murray

Hunter's Rage

Michael Arnold
Authors:
Michael Arnold