Outside London behind a stone wall stands Lake House, a private asylum for genteel women of a delicate nature. In the winter of 1859, recently-married Anna Palmer becomes its newest arrival, tricked by her husband into leaving home, incarcerated against her will and declared hysterical and unhinged. With no doubts as to her sanity, Anna is convinced that she will be released as soon as she can tell her story. But Anna learns that liberty will not come easily. The longer she remains at Lake House, the more she realises that -- like the ethereal bridge over the asylum's lake -- nothing is as it appears. She begins to experience strange visions and memories that may lead her to the truth about her past, herself, and to freedom - or lead her so far into the recesses of her mind that she may never escape...Set in Victorian England, as superstitions collide with a new psychological understanding, this elegant, emotionally suspenseful debut novel is a tale of self-discovery, secrets, and search for the truth in a world where the line between madness and sanity seems perilously fine.
I grew up in Kent, in England, and have spent my adult life in London. I worked first as a photographer, then for many years as a feature writer. My journalism led to my two non-fiction books - Daughter of Dust (Simon & Schuster 2009) and Oranges and Lemons (Routledge 2005). In 2001, I was Education Journalist of the Year.
I have now turned to writing fiction, which had always been my dream. The Painted Bridge, the story of a woman tricked into a Victorian asylum in the year 1859, is my first novel. My second, The Sacred River - about three women who leave a fog-bound London in 1882 for the light and heat of Egypt - appears in 2013, also published by Simon & Schuster..
I've been greatly helped and encouraged in my writing by my family, my agent and my writing friends. My two grown up sons are sources of inspiration. As well as enjoying company and solitude, reading and writing, I am an enthusiastic swimmer in the women's pond on Hampstead Heath.
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