"Grief feels like love. Sometimes you press on that tender spot, because it’s as close as you can get to the person who is otherwise gone.” – Kate Brody
Posts tagged "historical fiction"
Connecting with lost souls

Connecting with lost souls

My third novel Hazardous Spirits is set in Edinburgh in 1923. The story follows Evelyn Hazard, whose husband Robert wakes up one day and announces that he can speak to the spirits of the dead. Like many strange tales, the idea for this novel originated during an unusual blind date. I arrived late to the...
Trials, trauma and women's tales

Trials, trauma and women’s tales

In winter 2017, I visited a sandstone cathedral in Orkney called St Magnus. I’d published two novels in as many years, with the next about to be released, and I was exhausted. This trip was meant to be a break from creating – I’d even left my laptop at home in Australia. I wandered the...
Catastrophe on the shore

Catastrophe on the shore

The boat had seemed large at the dock, but now that they’re rumbling away from Big Island, it seems flimsy and ludicrously small. Luda tries to think of the last time she’d been on a boat before coming to the islands. Years ago. Someone’s thirtieth birthday on the thick, marshy water of the Hopeturn River...
The water-god and the feathered snake

The water-god and the feathered snake

Another man is standing guard with the usual man who is standing guard. I have not seen this man before. He is slight, narrow-faced, with a shaven upper lip. All is well? I ask. I am not in the mood for talk but the question is a courtesy. All is well, says the usual man....
Gay love stories in historical fiction

Gay love stories in historical fiction

What was it like to be a gay man in Paris in 1870? While researching my novel The Beasts of Paris, I couldn’t find much in 19th-century writing about homosexual love, and even later there are strangely few literary, queer, period-set love stories (shout outs to Sarah Waters and Mary Renault), so I’m pushing the...
Spirited gatherings and random stacks

Spirited gatherings and random stacks

Lucy Barker’s debut novel The Other Side of Mrs Wood has been hotly anticipated since the manuscript-in-progess finished as runner-up in the inaugural Curtis Brown First Novel Prize back in 2019 – since gathering praise from literary luminaries including Marian Keyes, Sophie Irwin, Frances Quinn and Katie Fforde. The book whisks readers to the competitive...
A shower of stardust

A shower of stardust

It was long after nightfall, and a soft breeze played over Guillaume’s face. He had positioned his telescope to the portside and aft, to observe the constellations of Centaurus, Circinus, Volans and the Southern Cross. With a yellow glass disc placed over the end of the telescope, the image was more sharply focused. He was...
Into the darkest corners of the dark ages

Into the darkest corners of the dark ages

London, one of the greatest and oldest cities in Europe, is now nearly two thousand years old. Most people know that it began as a small Roman trading post on the north bank of the Thames around 43 AD, but few people know that, after the Romans abandoned Britain in around 410 AD, it lay empty for...
Roughly organised, somewhat scattered

Roughly organised, somewhat scattered

Cecile Pin’s exceptional debut novel Wandering Souls is a beautiful and haunting look at the plight of Vietnamese refugees in 1970s France. Partly based on her mother’s experience of coming to the country as a refugee, it’s about identity, loss and trying to find a feeling of belonging – a very human picture of the sacrifices and...
Celebrating the Year of the Witch

Celebrating the Year of the Witch

Some young girls are into sports, some are into fashion, and some spend their teenage years building altars in their bedrooms, summoning spirits and casting spells. At least up until recently, there were perhaps not that many of us – and we did run the risk of being branded as weird, but some of my fondest memories...
Wildness and wonder

Wildness and wonder

Franco-Mauritian author Caroline Laurent’s latest novel An Impossible Return is an epic love story set against the shocking injustice of the Mauritian government’s deal with Britain for independence – which resulted in the wholesale evacuation of the Chagos Islands to enable the US to set up a strategic military base on Diego Garcia. When independent, passionate Marie...
Winds of change

Winds of change

They sat around the plot, as peaceful as seabirds. Their hands plunged into woven baskets, pulled out coconuts that they set on their skirts. Always the same gestures: raise the machete, split the fruit with a sharp thrust, husk each half before putting it on the ground, the meat exposed to the sun. Then the...