WRITTEN IN WATER: BOOK TWO - BETTER STRANGERS
Having survived the sexual revolution of the sixties, Cordelia, Rosalind and Beatrice are all twenty-seven by the summer of 1975, ready to navigate their very different ways through the milestones and challenges of the following fifteen years.
Inevitably there are losses as well as gains, and this second book of the trilogy focuses on what it means for each of them to let go - not only of some significant people in their lives, but also of what they believed they knew about their own identity. For these three women the seismic shift between the ages of twenty and forty means steering a sometimes choppy path through uncharted waters.
They each discover unexpected gifts, and lessons of the heart they couldn’t previously have imagined. Meanwhile, the world they inhabit continues to experience the curse of exciting times, politically and culturally, as they live and breathe the changing landscape of the nineteen seventies and eighties.
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WRITTEN IN WATER: BOOK ONE - EXITS AND ENTRANCES
The swinging sixties – a time of peace, love, violence and revolution. In 1962, as the Cold War erupts in sudden crisis over Cuba, Cordelia, Beatrice and Rosalind are fourteen. Dubbed by their English teacher the three witches from Macbeth, they have already recognised one another as outsiders, with no idea that their alliance will turn out to be a lifelong friendship.
Their personalities and choices lead them along very different paths, but they never lose the strong thread of connection. Through the passions, disappointments, losses and triumphs of their lives the trilogy of novels follows them through the years, reflecting the many changes that have taken place for women over six decades.
Exits and Entrances chronicles the eventful era between 1962 and 1972 as they grow from girls into young women.
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THE GIRL HE LEFT BEHIND
"It’s interesting how the way you see someone initially sets the template for who you believe them to be – at least until you’ve amassed enough contradictory data to see them otherwise. Sometimes, even then, however compelling the reasons to revise your view of them, you cling to that first vision as if it is the truth.”
Kat’s passionate attachment to Alex spans twenty years and endures the many changes in both their lives. Annie’s love for Kat may or may not survive the journey. Sometimes the love of your life may turn out not to be the person you thought…
The Girl He Left Behind is a novel very much of our times, where identity can be as fluid as the choices we make about who we really are.
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THE OTHER TWIN
"Trying to define love was like chasing a ball of mercury with your finger: as soon as you thought you’d touched upon its truth, it skittered off again and divided itself into multiple tiny versions of itself.”
Since childhood, Verity has been haunted by the dream of meeting her twin soul. Is such a thing even possible? She thinks she might have found him in Ned, but is he all that he seems? No one and nothing in this novel is as straightforward as it first appears, including Verity. Sometimes it takes other people to help us discover who we truly are, and the lengths we will go to when pushed. A psychological mystery with the notion of true love at its heart, The Other Twin explores the noxious legacy of suspicion, hatred, revenge, and duplicity – and asks of the reader: just who can you trust?
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How well do people who have been friends for years really know each other? How often do they lie to themselves and to one another about their deepest desires and motivations? This comedy of manners has a serious message at its core. There are secrets that might wound, and old wounds that must be kept a secret. Jealousy drives a hard bargain in its passion to undermine the path of the heart.
Violet has much to learn about the nature of love, although she already understands the persuasive power of obsession. Lewis is everybody’s friend, and wants above all to be loved. Osborne is caustic, clever and caddish. Sophie believes in magic. Drew believes in karma. Imogen believes life is out to get her.
Beneath their urbane, artistic, middle-class exterior lurks something sinister, primal, dangerous. And how heavy is the hand of fate in deciding whether the effect they have on one another will bring triumph or disaster?
Follow this link to listen to an extract from the novel.
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THE DROWNED PHOENICIAN SAILOR
Written with humour, wit and insight, ‘The Drowned Phoenician Sailor’ is a quirky, thought-provoking psychological thriller, involving ghosts, the mystery of attachment, grief, forgiveness, intimacy, and the meaning of love.
Fynn is resolutely unromantic, a bit of a loner, and sceptical about life before death, never mind after it. And yet since she was fifteen her dead sister has been visiting her on a regular basis. Fynn doesn’t believe in ghosts so is she crazy? Three years after starting psychotherapy with Paul, she arrives for a session and finds him lying dead on the couch. But this is just the beginning... The same night she gatecrashes Paul’s funeral he turns up in his newly disembodied form and her dilemma takes a different turn... And when the enigmatic Jack is washed up like driftwood on a beach in Cornwall, Fynn begins to revise her jaded beliefs and expectations, discovering that life, and death, is far more mysterious and intricate than she imagined...
...I began this novel with the idea of exploring identity. Do we become a different person when we change our name, give up a role, or lose a significant relationship? ‘The Drowned Phoenician Sailor’ is partly an investigation into the complex resolution of grief, and asks whether if you are haunted by someone it matters whether or not they are objectively real. I also wanted to play with the notion of coincidence and throw in some philosophical questions about truth and reconciliation. But in the end, the characters took over and wrote the book without too much help from me. They turned up, much as Paul did after his funeral, and started asking questions of their own. They all had a strong sense of self and plenty to say. Some of them wanted a happy ending and some were determined by their characters to allow no such thing. Did any of them find answers? You will have to decide for yourself.
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A FIELD BEYOND TIME
Two people, a world apart, separated by time and grief, their lives destined to converge... but what happens when finally they meet? Almost forty years ago, on an ashram in India, a devastating series of events led to Daniel’s complete psychotic breakdown. Since then he has worked hard to remake his identity, keeping his history under wraps. Now a successful psychotherapist, but with his once happy marriage unexpectedly crumbling, Daniel wakes from an ominous dream, warning him that his past is coming back to haunt him.
Meanwhile, shocked by her mother’s deathbed revelations, Mira is hunting down her father. A lesbian artist, renowned for intimate, erotic photographs of women, she is determined to settle old scores. Love is not initially anywhere on Mira’s agenda, yet in meeting the enigmatic Luce she finds a startling twist in her search for truth.
Daniel’s tortured memories, recorded in his journal, connect the present with his mysterious past. What really did happen in India? Daniel’s wife Callie also has secrets, and her reasons for keeping them. Can their relationship survive? And what will happen when Mira confronts the realities of her own beginnings and the story that has sustained her whole identity?
This original and complexly layered novel reveals the shifting nature of truth, the indestructible depth of human connection, the power of negative enchantment, and ultimately the redemptive spirit of love..
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On a deceptively peaceful morning in rural Oxfordshire a bolt from the blue splinters the surface of Robin’s familiar world and pitches him into uncertainty. By the end of the summer holidays he will be eleven, and until now has been looking forward to starting secondary school in September. But a much greater change than he could have imagined is on the horizon.
It isn’t just Robin’s world that undergoes a radical transformation. No one in this novel remains untouched by the turbulent events that take place during the following six weeks. Love is questioned, lost and rediscovered as the characters find their way towards the novel’s ultimate denouement. Patrick, the surly bully of a headmaster, and Iris, his long-suffering wife, both face unforeseen life-altering challenges. Maddy and David are forced to review their relationship with one another and, more importantly, with themselves. Laura’s steadfast heart stands to be broken all over again. And Robin is the fulcrum around which each of them constellates. In one way or another he affects everyone. His own future hangs in the balance, and is largely dependent on other people’s choices on.
Wise, poignant, thought-provoking and at times even mordantly funny, ‘Round Robin’ will move you and stay with you long after the final chapters have been read.
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ALSO BY LESLEY HAYES
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