Born firmly in the last century, too late to make the most of the swinging
sixties, I was an 'Essex girl.' But I have lived in the north for so many years
now, my loyalties and ties are here.
I have come late to taking my writing seriously. After teaching English in secondary schools for long enough, I decided something had to be done while there was still time. In my work, I'm a Jekyll and Hyde, veering between the lightness of stories for children, which I enjoy hugely, (my inner child is about four, I reckon) and fiction for adults, in which I seem to produce atmospheres of menace and unease.
Photo credit Jonathan Bean photo (litfest)
August 2010 Book of the Month. This is an incredibly eerie and chilling story of 16 year old Meriel Garland who is trapped in her grandfather’s strict regime of study and silence. It’s a narrow, solitary existence, yet Meriel doesn’t always feel alone for someone is reaching out to her from beyond the grave…This deliciously atmospheric tale of a young girl in Victorian London hides a terrible secret and as Meriel begins to search for the truth about her past she uncovers something too terrible to contemplate and realizes there is no one she can really trust…dead or alive. Jane Eagland’s first novel, Wildthorn, which was inspired by true stories of women who were incarcerated in asylums in the nineteenth century was hugely successful and brilliantly reviewed.
Set in Victorian England, this is a thought-provoking and shocking debut story for teenagers and adults of how a young woman with an ambition to become a doctor (at a time when it was frowned upon for women to have such thoughts) is sent away and incarcerated in an asylum for mentally ill women. In Wildthorn Hall Louisa is stripped of all she knows, including her own name. But refusing to be cowed by the regime, she uses her time to recall and record the story of how she was betrayed by those around her. And, surprisingly, she also finds great friendship and love. Louisa tells her story in intertwining strands from the past and the present.