Reviews of The Summer of Secrets

Reviews of The Summer of Secrets

to everyone who has been kind enough to read The Summer of Secrets and say such lovely things. I keep getting all overwhelmed! I’m just going to put them here for when I’m stuck in the middle of writing #2… ‘Sarah Jasmon’s debut The Summer of Secrets is an evocative and atmospheric coming-of-age story. Set in idyllic countryside, this novel is a meticulous rendering of young friendship.’ CARYS BRAY, author of Costa-shortlisted A SONG FOR ISSY BRADLEY Read full review here   ‘A lovely coming-of-age story about one long hot summer in 1983, when Helen, bored and lonely, meets the bohemian and eccentric Dover family and is immediately cast under their spell especially the capricious Victoria. A wonderfully atmospheric...

Top Ten Summers in Fiction

Top Ten Summers in Fiction

It is a truth universally acknowledged that wherever there is a ‘best of’ list, there are also an infinite number of alternatives just waiting to prove that they are better. Recently, Naomi Frisby (who writes the excellent blog The Writes of Woman) shared a link on Twitter. It was from The Guardian, and featured Tim Lott’s top 10 summers in fiction. To be honest, my first thought was, ‘Damn, he’s beaten me to it!’. Once I got my head out of my own navel, however, I noticed the rest of Naomi’s tweet: ‘Apparently no women write scenes set in summer…’ Well, two women do make it in for the last two slots on Tim’s list, although one of them – Tove Janssen – has been chosen for The Summer Book, which Tim admires but doesn’t love. So, in the interests of...

The Summer of Secrets

The Summer of Secrets

THE SUMMER OF SECRETS is the story of Helen, a shy sixteen-year-old whose life is changed forever in the summer of 1983 when the bohemian Dover family moves into an abandoned cottage on the banks of the nearby canal. Helen is infatuated, especially with the petulant and charming Victoria, and the Dovers instantly make Helen’s lonely world a more thrilling place. Even her morose father is affected, and with the help of Victoria’s uncle Piet he begins to renovate his long-neglected boat. But the idyll of their long, sultry summer is shattered by a terrible tragedy and Helen never sees the Dovers again. That is, until one day thirty years later when Victoria reappears. Now Helen must finally confront what happened that summer. She has always wanted to be part of the...

Happy Birthday to me (and Rosemary Higgs)

Happy Birthday to me (and Rosemary Higgs)

This week, it’s all been about covers and copy edits, which have both been exciting, if in different ways. They mark a real staging point on the publication journey: it’s not about a pile of manuscript pages any more. Before long, now, I’ll have a proper book… Talking about the edits led to one of my favourite threads ever on Facebook, with writer friends sharing the overused words they’d had to cut out pre-publication. We all had our own: my characters are always ‘looking’, and spend a lot of time pushing themselves up on to their elbows. (nb. see how I now know that it’s ‘on to’ and not ‘onto’…). Everyone’s pet words were different: some that came up were ‘only’ and...

Listening to War and Peace on New Year’s Day

Listening to War and Peace on New Year’s Day

I woke up this New Year’s Day morning and didn’t really feel like getting up. The night before had been a late one, natch, and the outside world was both cold and wet. My phone was out of power, so Facebook and Twitter were out. I had a book handy, but that was too much effort. So I put on the radio and reached for the headphones. I didn’t want to disturb the sleeping dogs on the bed, after all. Or the sleeping Graeme, come to that. But the radio was strange. None of the normal programmes were on. The radio world had become War and Peace. Funny how these things work out. A bare three weeks ago, I read War and Peace for the first time since I was a teenager. (*Disclaimer: I didn’t actually read all of it in the run up to Christmas. I caught...

Meet My Main Character: Helen from The Summer of Secrets

Yay, another blog tour! I think I’m subverting its course, actually, because it started off as a chain created by historical fiction authors. Most of the story in The Summer of Secrets takes place in the early Eighties, though, and as Eighties clothes are now officially vintage, I think I’ll get away with it…   What is the name of your main character? She’s called Helen. We meet her as a teenager in the summer of 1983, and also as an adult looking back at the events of that summer. (As an aside: I was on a writing week during the early stages of the novel, and we were given an exercise which involved writing a letter to ourselves from our main character. One of the other characters, Victoria, kept pushing her way into my letter,...