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Diane Chandler was born and bred in Derby, England. After graduating in Modern Languages, she worked at the European Commission in Brussels for several years. There, she managed European social regeneration programmes in coal and steel regions, and then overseas aid programmes in Ukraine just after the fall of communism. Ukraine soon worked its way into her heart, and she travelled there extensively. Back in London, when Diane married and her daughter was born, she was able to pursue her passion for writing in those few hours she could snatch, and she chose Ukraine as a setting. The Road to Donetsk is her first novel. Her second, Moondance, about a career woman going through the trials of IVF, will be published in November.
It is 1994 and an idealistic Vanessa Parker enters the world of international aid, bringing with her youth and passion to do good in the ‘Wild East’ of Ukraine after the sudden collapse of communism. The country and its people completely win her heart. As does Dan, a jaded American Deputy Bureau Chief of USAID. Older, wiser, Dan laughs at Vanessa’s naivety. Corruption is rife. The mind-set of the Ukrainian people is at times impenetrable. Her efforts to coordinate millions of dollars worth of aid are met with ridicule, whilst the British aid experts throw up smoke screens. At times thwarted, Vanessa’s determination to help is set when she meets the resourceful, magnificent wives of a Donetsk mining village threatened with pit closures. But then Dan springs a bolt from the blue, which throws her into turmoil... In a world where millions of dollars can either wash away in a moment’s corruption, or turn around the lives of the neediest, Vanessa is then forced to pit her own naive desire to make a difference against the chaos of a country and people in transition.
An idealistic Vanessa, 26, enters the world of international aid, bringing with her youth, beauty and passion to do good in the 'Wild East' of Ukraine after the sudden collapse of communism. The country and its people completely win her heart. As does Dan, a jaded American Deputy Bureau chief of USAID. Highly charged and turbulent, Vanessa and Dan's love for each other is passionate and unyielding. Their romance unfolds in the beautiful lilac-filled city of Kiev, on frequent working trips to the coalfields of Donetsk and on weekend visits to the sparkling seas of Odessa, to the pristine ski runs of the Carpathians, and even to the chilling spectacle of Chernobyl. Older, wiser, Dan laughs at Vanessa's determination to change the world, but helps her navigate the political minefield of overseas aid. He admires her achievements, not least the micro-credit scheme she sets up for the resourceful, magnificent wives of the Donetsk coal miners - her beloved Divas - but warns against her deep-felt passion and idealism. At the age of just 26, Vanessa has landed her dream man as well as her dream job. But then Dan springs a bolt from the blue, which throws her into turmoil...In a world where millions of dollars can either wash away in a moment's corruption, or turn around the lives of the neediest, Vanessa is then forced to pit her own naive desire to make a difference against the chaos of a country in transition.
Bittersweet, at times funny, and always emotionally raw, this is by far the most moving and honest novel you'll ever read about infertility, IVF and its impact on a marriage. By the winner of The People's Book Prize for Fiction 2016. How can you long for someone who doesn't exist? London career woman Cat has always been in control of her life. Happily married to Dom, but flying high as a political lobbyist, she dismisses his desire to start a family ...until she herself is ready. But what if it is then too late? Complex and selfish, intelligent and open, if she is to succeed in having that elusive child, Cat must battle through gruelling fertility treatment and the emotional strain it places on her marriage. By her side, Dom, easygoing and ever the optimist, finds that he too risks being run ragged by their journey. Both are forced to come to terms with their longing for a baby against the blitz on a relationship tested like never before. A rare, raw, engaging fictional account of the traumas of infertility told with frankness and humour.