Finding the humour in a tragic life

Fiction is a branch of the entertainment industry, so even serious novels need to raise the occasional smile. But even though there were moments of comedy in my first two novels, I wouldn’t have thought humour was my strong suit.

That changed with my third novel, Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home, published in 2021. It tells the story of Matty who has been shut away in a long-stay psychiatric hospital for fifty years after giving birth to an ‘illegitimate’ child in 1939 …

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After half a century confined in a psychiatric hospital, Matty has moved to a care home on the Cumbrian coast. Next year, she’ll be a hundred, and she intends to celebrate in style. Yet, before she can make the arrangements, her ‘maid’ goes missing.

Irene, a care assistant, aims to surprise Matty with a birthday visit from the child she gave up for adoption as a young woman. But, when lockdown shuts the care-home doors, all plans are put on hold.

But Matty won’t be beaten. At least not until the Black Lives Matter protests burst her bubble and buried secrets come to light.

Will she survive to a hundred? Will she see her ‘maid’ again? Will she meet her long-lost child?

Rooted in injustice, balanced with humour, this is a bittersweet story of reckoning with hidden histories in cloistered times.

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