For me life began in the attic of a manor west of Paris, a grand house with a sweeping stone staircase, fancy dormer windows and a parc. My first memories are of reading curled up in a worn leather club chair and picking dandelions for salad in the lawn. Our landlady, the beautiful Comtesse Brio-de-la-Crochet was a chic Parisienne and I adored her. The other woman in my life was my nursery school teacher, Mademoiselle Chardon (Miss Thistle.) Our school was an old town house wrapped around a small yard with a statue in the middle. My early childhood was magical.

I fell from this Eden the day the government gave my mother – a primary school teacher – ‘un appartement de function,’ a sterile eagle’s nest overlooking acres of concrete. On my fifth birthday, my schooling began and stretched out… grey and impersonal for twelve long years. One cannot put down roots in concrete, and I never knew where my school friends lived.

It was not all bad. When the A1 highway took shape below our balconies, our roller-skating track expanded. From our kitchen window, the Eiffel Tower was as big as my thumbnail, the Seine was not too far, and I could walk to Josephine’s chateau de la Malmaison. Small and intimate, it is a jewel you really must visit. 

I was only ten when my father sent me to Kent, ‘to build Europe.’ England! I loved everything about it. When I returned home at the end of the month, my future was sealed: I was going to be English. 

Looking back, I can see that roots, and a certain ‘longing for belonging’ pervade my writing. So does the thrill of being elsewhere, ‘ailleurs’, a word the French pronounce ‘ah-year…’ their dreamy gaze lost on the horizon. If your perfect ailleurs is France, pack your bags. Leave the world behind and come on a journey with me…


Le Larzac

The Larzac, a sparsely populated plateau in the department of Aveyron, came under public scrutiny in 1971 when the French army threatened to extend its

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In 1764, a young shepherdess was killed and maimed by a wolf which went on to attack 300 people and kill a hundred. The Ferocious

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The Bear and the Basque

In the Basque Country, Chloe realises that she does not miss Bletchley at all. ‘’I sat on a bench just below the church. Eyes closed,

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The Pecoïtz Hotel

I was half-way through writing The Bear and the Basque when we flew to the Basque Country for a research visit. We happened upon the

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Le Siège De Paris

Paris 1905. My grandmother’s parents owned a grocery store near the Porte Saint Martin in the 10th arrondissement. She is the girl in the middle. The

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….and get a free prequel to my new book, plus an additional short story and a ‘hamper’ with a traditional French cake recipe and songs linked to my novels!