Related to: 'The Castle on the Hill'

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 Middle Window

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge
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

Green Dolphin Country

Elizabeth Goudge
Authors:
Elizabeth Goudge
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.

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh is known to millions through the popular BBC TV programmes British Isles: A Natural History, How to be a Gardener, Ground Force and Gardeners' World. But he started out in far humbler beginnings, in a rural childhood on the edge of Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire.After a spell at Kew he became a horticultural journalist, as an Editor of gardening magazines, before becoming a freelance broadcaster and writer.He has twice been named 'Gardening Writer of the Year' and for four successive years was voted 'Television Personality of the Year' by the Garden Writers' Guild. In 2004 he received their Lifetime Achievement Award.Alan has appeared on radio and television both as a gardening expert and as an interviewer and presenter, fronting such programmes as Points of View, Pebble Mill, Songs of Praise, Titchmarsh's Travels and Ask the Family, and since 1983 has presented the BBC's annual coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show. He now has his own daytime TV show on ITV, The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Alan has written more than forty gardening books, as well as seven best-selling novels, including his 2008 success, Folly, which have all made the Sunday Times Bestsellers List. Alan has published three volumes of memoirs; Trowel and Error sold over 200,000 copies in hardback when published in 2002, and Nobbut A Lad, about his Yorkshire childhood, was published in October 2006 with similar success, and his third volume of memoir Knave of Spadeswas a Sunday Times bestseller.He was made MBE in the millennium New Year Honours list and holds the Victoria Medal of Honour, the Royal Horticultural Society's highest award. He lives with his wife and a menagerie of animals in Hampshire where he gardens organically.

Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. He studied at the universities of Delhi and Oxford, has taught at a number of institutions and written for many magazines. The first novel in the Ibis trilogy, Sea of Poppies, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008. In 2015, Amitav Ghosh was named as a finalist of the Man Booker International Prize.

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller's first novel, Ingenious Pain, was published by Sceptre in 1997 and greeted as the debut of an outstanding new writer. It won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Grinzane Cavour Prize for the best foreign novel published in Italy.It has been followed by Casanova, Oxygen, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award in 2001, The Optimists, One Morning Like A Bird, Pure, which won the Costa Book of the Year Award 2011, and The Crossing.Andrew Miller's novels have been published in translation in twenty countries. Born in Bristol in 1960, he currently lives in Somerset.

Annabel Abbs

Annabel Abbs lives in London with her husband and four children. Her bestselling debut novel, The Joyce Girl, won the Impress Prize for New Writers and was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award, the Waverley Good Read Award and the Caledonia Novel Award.

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

Callie Bates

Callie Bates is a writer, harpist and certified harp therapist, sometimes artist, and nature nerd. When she's not creating, she's hitting the trails or streets and exploring new places. She lives in the Upper Midwest. THE MEMORY OF FIRE is the sequel to her debut fantasy novel, THE WAKING LAND. She occasionally writes nonfiction. Her essays have appeared in Shambhala Sun, The Best Buddhist Writing 2012, All Things Girl and online journals.

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.

Dominick Donald

Dominick Donald was brought up in Britain and the US before studying at Oxford University. Stints as a soldier, a lecturer, a UN official and an editorial writer, plus a War Studies PhD, led eventually to political risk analysis for a large London firm, which he left in 2016 as its Head of Geopolitics. He has written editorials for The Times and US business magazine Red Herring, and reviews for the Guardian and the TLS. Now a freelance writer and political risk advisor, he is married with three children and lives on the Oxfordshire-Wiltshire border.