Work in Progress

It doesn’t have a title yet. Or a contract. But here’s a taste from the middle of the story (I don’t want to give too much away!) A dual-time story set in East Sussex in 1821 and Brisbane in 2024.

The gravestones loomed like grey shadows in the moonlight as she set out down the terraced slope. Some of the stones were ancient, etched with lichen, faded memorials remembering only nameless ghosts. Others belonged to people she had once known: women who had perished in childbirth; babies taken by the cholera; old men dead of apoplexy. And one, the earth only newly grown over, belonged to a lad not much older than her — dead after stepping on a rusty nail while shovelling manure in his master’s stable. They had brought him to her mother when the surgeon could not be found, but by then he was wracked with convulsions and the poultice of dried puffball she applied was too late to save him. Philadelphia had stood at her mother’s elbow ready to fetch whatever was needed, but no one could fetch a miracle.

It was to poor John Cooper’s grave she headed. It rested halfway down the slope; a cherry sapling sheltering it to one side while his infant sister’s grave lay to the other. Reaching it, she halted several yards distant and paused to remember the living boy and summon her courage. He’d had brown eyes with a crescent shaped scar hooking the corner of one eye. Right or left, she could not recall. But she remembered the way his thick brown hair flopped over his forehead and how he would flick it away with the back of his hand. He had given her an apple once, too perfect for any horses, so he said. She hoped that he rested in peace and would understand her intent.

Cover Reveal — The Keepsake

The moment when your editor sends you a visual for your next book’s cover has to be one of the most fun parts of a writer’s job. And here it is, the stunning artwork for my next novel The Keepsake.

Saturday: Pot-au-feu for luncheon. Father willed away inheritance. Betrayed by Edward.

The Keepsake

1832. The morning after her father’s funeral, Prudence Merryfield wakes to the liberating thought that this is the first day of her new life. At thirty-five and unmarried, she is now mistress of her own fate. But a cruel revelation at the reading of her father’s will forces Prudence to realise that taking only the most drastic action will set her free. 

Present day. Eliza is gifted a family heirloom by her aunt – a Georgian pocket book, belonging to her ancestor, Prudence Merryfield, whose existence reverberates through the lives of generations of Eliza’s family, the Ambroses. Intrigued by what she reads inside, Eliza is drawn more and more into the infamous ‘Merryfield Mystery’. What happened to Prudence who so bravely dared to defy convention two hundred years ago – then disappeared?

Ebook and Audio available 29 September 2022.Hardback and trade paperback available January 2023. order now using the link below.

http://smarturl.it/TKJB

The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay

Two women set sail bound by a terrible truth but only one will arrive.

My latest novel The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay is a darkly gripping, dual-time novel, with a wealth of twists, turns and secrets.

England, 1919:

Rose and ivy board a ship for Australia. One is travelling there to marry a man she has never met. One is destined never to arrive.

Australia, 2016:

Amongst her late grandmother’s possessions, Molly uncovers a photograph of two girls dressed in First World War nurses’ uniforms, labelled ‘Rose and Ivy 1917’, and a letter from her grandmother asking her to find out what happened to her own mother Rose, who disappeared in the 1960s.

Compelled to carry out her grandmother’s last wish, Molly embarks on a journey to England to unravel the mystery of the two girls whose photograph promised they’d be ‘together forever’…

Out now in ebook, audiobook and print.

Praise for The secrets of bridgewater bay

I thoroughly enjoyed this immersive story which spans both generations and continents. The evocative details and impeccable research make for a delightful reading experience and I can pay it no greater compliment other than to say, I wish I’d written it‘ KATHRYN HUGHES

‘A sweeping tale of family secrets, betrayal, jealousy, ambition and forbidden romance . . . Fans of The Thorn Birds and Downton Abbey will love the epic scope of this novel’ ALI MERCER

‘This is an epic dual-time novel which draws the reader in right from the start and keeps you in thrall until the very last page. The writing is superb, the descriptions detailed, lush and evocative’ CHRISTINA COURTENAY

‘A gripping story full of family secrets: the price of love and loss within two generations . . . convincing and poignant’ LEAH FLEMING

‘Rich in evocative detail – the complex mystery kept me guessing right up to the last page’ MUNA SHEHADI

Revision

Revision…

Some writers hate revising but it’s my favourite part of the writing process. It means I’ve done the hardest part – conquered the blank page.

So here I am, at my final draft before I submit the manuscript for my next book to my editor, and I’m working with hard copy again. This time I’ve printed the manuscript on green paper to trick me into seeing it with fresh eyes. And it has caused me to rethink my first page completely. Actually, it has caused me to rethink the entire first chapter.

It has also prompted me to cut swathes of writing that I previously thought quite brilliant. I thought I’d already done a structural edit and a line edit so the story was dressed and ready to walk out the door. But no…

Re-reading in hard copy (aloud until my throat began protesting) can give the writer an entirely new perspective so that you see things you didn’t notice on the screen. I suspect that’s because it’s closer to the experience of reading a finished book. This is especially so if you don’t fiddle with the little things on that reading. Just consider the story’s pace and flow and mood.

And do put the manuscript aside for a couple of weeks before you begin the process.

Welcome

Welcome to the Julie Brooks website! I’m so excited to be launching The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay with Headline Review (UK) in 2021. I love reading historical fiction and I love a mystery so am doubly pleased to bring you both in this new story.

a darkly-gripping dual-time novel

Described as a ‘darkly-gripping dual-time novel’, The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay is inspired by my love of the stunning coastline of south-west Victoria, and the similarly wild coastline of North Devon. Set largely in these two regions in the early twentieth century and one hundred years later, it’s a story of betrayal, redemption and family secrets. I hope you like it.

The coastline of North Devon