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Susan Fletcher was our Guest Editor in March 2010 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing.
Susan Fletcher was born in 1979 in Birmingham. She studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and lives in Stratford-upon-Avon. Her first novel, Eve Green won the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Betty Trask Prize and Author's Club Best First Novel Award. Her second novel Oystercatchers was published in 2007 to great acclaim.
Author photo © Graeme Cornes
This soulful portrait of a woman’s friendship with Van Gogh, imagined from letters exchanged between the artist and his brother, is a richly-rewarding reverie about longing, loneliness and renewing life. Jeanne is an outsider in her Provencal village. She and her husband, Charles, live in the warden’s cottage of a psychiatric hospital, which renders her “too close to lunacy” for the other wives to feel safe, while she also feels invisible to Charles. Jeanne had loved the joy of discovering “new, small pleasures”, but she and Charles have slept apart for twenty years, and life is “ordered, disciplined”. Then a Dutchman arrives, the asylum’s first new patient in years, and Jeanne is immediately drawn to him, to this red-haired artist who is “not like other men”. Disobeying her husband, Jeanne watches Vincent paint, and his presence, his art, his “strong unwashed smell” heighten her restlessness. “Where is my wife?” Charles wonders, noticing a change in Jeanne, and yet there she is, dressed in the dazzling sunshine-yellow dress she last wore in her youth, radiating the promise of being seen anew, and of living life afresh. The descriptions of Van Gogh’s familiar works (“yellow swirled stars...that seem to move above the little sleeping town”), and the Provencal landscape are glorious, while the unsettled landscape of Jeanne’s heart is evoked with affecting poignancy. Truly a novel to pore over and savour. ~ Joanne Owen
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Eponine tells the heart wrenching story of her own life of suffering and cruelty in this emotional roller coaster taken from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Brought up in poverty, from the youngest age possible Eponine has been sent out to steal and to lie and to cheat. But somehow, deep inside her, she knows there are better ways of living a life and higher human values to hold onto. Eponine’s encounters with Cosette and Marius unlock the best emotions in her. Can she change despite the great cost to herself? A spell-binding story about one girl’s search for inner peace. ~ Julia Eccleshare A Piece of Passion from Publisher, Barry Cunningham Les Misérables literally takes your breath away. The passion and the peril in this massive story has inspired plays, TV shows, films and songs through the years. But sometimes it’s good to find the simple heart in the greatest works, which is exactly what Susan Fletcher does here with shy tragedy and hauntingly romantic beauty. It’s a simple, moving and brilliant retelling, showing what Victor Hugo himself said of his original novel – a progress from evil to good. A Note from the Author, Susan Fletcher ‘A Little in Love is my first novel aiming to appeal to both adults and young adults. But Eponine's story contains many themes I've always been interested in as an adult fiction writer – identity, survival, solitude, the natural world, different forms of love and the brevity of life – all told by a feisty protagonist. To write of these themes – and of Eponine herself – for a wider readership was a sheer delight.'
The new novel from Susan Fletcher, author of the bestselling 'Eve Green' and 'Oystercatchers'. It is a tale of passion and courage, magic and betrayal, and the difference that a single heart can make to the great events of history.
A sweeping historical drama based around the massacre of the MacDonald clan in 1692 and told from the perspective of a young girl, now imprisoned, accused of being a witch. Rich in historical detail and wonderfully descriptive of the landscapes of the Highlands this is a book to immerse your self in and enjoy page by page.
From the winner of the 2004 Whitbread First novel award comes a beautifully written novel about love, about trust, loss and loneliness with a profound darkness at its core. The story unfolds at the bedside of a girl in a coma, as her sister confesses to her past selfishness, her bitterness and her anger and savagery towards her family and most of all towards her sister. Fletcher’s writing is wonderfully lyrical and beguiling, and an utter joy to read despite the sadness and bitterness of the story.
Reviewed on Richard and Judy on 6th July 2005 and voted most enjoyable book by viewers.This was, in my mind, the surprise winner of the Whitbread First Novel award. I had got my money on Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, but this is certainly a very worthy winner. Written in two parts, the first an eight-year old grieving the loss of her mother as she is packed off to Wales and the second, reflecting. As she awaits the birth of her first child, she relives that agony and the sad mystery that followed it. Comparison: Alice Sebold, Kate Atkinson, Esther Freud.Similar this month: Andrew Greig, Muriel Spark
I had a curious sense of being watched. June 1914 and a young woman - Clara Waterfield - is summoned to a large stone house in Gloucestershire. Her task: to fill a greenhouse with exotic plants from Kew Gardens, to create a private paradise for the owner of Shadowbrook. Yet, on arrival, Clara hears rumours: something is wrong with this quiet, wisteria-covered house. Its gardens are filled with foxgloves, hydrangea and roses; it has lily-ponds, a croquet lawn - and the marvellous new glasshouse awaits her. But the house itself feels unloved. Its rooms are shuttered, or empty. The owner is mostly absent; the housekeeper and maids seem afraid. And soon, Clara understands their fear: for something - or someone - is walking through the house at night. In the height of summer, she finds herself drawn deeper into Shadowbrook's dark interior - and into the secrets that violently haunt this house. Nothing - not even the men who claim they wish to help her - is quite what it seems. Reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier, this is a wonderful, atmospheric Gothic page-turner. A deeply absorbing, unputdownable ghost story that's also a love story; for readers who love Sarah Waters's The Little Stranger; Frances Hodges Burnett's The Secret Garden; Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace; Jane Harris's The Observations.
This powerful novel from the award-winning author of Richard and Judy pick 'Eve Green' is a tale of love and the lore of the sea. The islanders of Parla are still mourning the loss of one of their own. Four years since that loss, and a man - un-named, unclothed - is washed onto their shores. Some say he is a mythical man from the sea - potent, kind and beautiful; others suspect him. For the bereft Maggie, this stranger brings love back to the isle. But as the days pass he changes every one of them - and the time comes for his story to be told... Tender, lyrical and redemptive, 'The Silver Dark Sea' is the dazzling new novel from the author of 'Eve Green' (winner of Whitbred First Novel award). It is a story about what life can give and take from us, when we least expect it - and how love, in all its forms, is the greatest gift of all.
Mitra and her little brother, Babak, are beggars in the city of Rhagae, scratching out a living as best as they can with what they can beg foror steal. But Mitra burns with hope and ambition, for she and Babak are not what they seem. They are of royal blood, but their fathers ill-fated plot against the evil tyrant, King Phraates, has resulted in their fathers death and their exile. Now disguised as a boy, Mitra has never given up believing they can rejoin what is left of their family and regain their rightful standing in the world.Then they discover that Babak has a strange gift: If he sleeps with an item belonging to someone, he can know that persons dreams. Soon Babak and his abilities come to the attention of a powerful Magusone who has read portents in the stars of the coming of a new king and the dawn of a new age. Soon Mitra and Babak find themselves on the road to Bethlehem . . .The acclaimed author of Shadow Spinner returns to ancient Persia in this spellbinding sagaa tale filled with the color of the caravansaries and the heat of the desert, a tale that reimagines the wonder and spirit of a lost age.