I have been writing books from the age of six, not expecting or trying for publication till I took a creative writing course. I had a short story accepted by the BBC and another by Chambers' Journal.
Many short story prizes later and a non-fiction book published about my mother with dementia, I submitted a novel to the LitIdol national competition in 2000 and made the longlist. I was advised by one of the judges that I had only just missed the short list and she thought the story would work better as an historical novel. I rewrote it and it was published. I was away!
Before that I taught for 4 years and my husband and I raised 5 children which is certainly the most important of our lovely duties, since encompassing 12 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. More joy! But gestating and finishing another novel is still a delight.
A summary of my historical novels published by Knox Robinson Publishers
The Hordens of Horden Hall Quartet follows the fortunes of the Horden family on their estate near Newcastle upon Tyne in the turbulent years from 1640 - 1715.
Bel Horden grows up under a cloud of guilt over the death of an innocent man.
The man’s brother, Nathaniel Wilson, is faced with exacting vengeance on the Hordens which he is desperately reluctant to carry out.
Read their story against the turbulent background of the Civil War.
Buy this book on Amazon here
Daniel Wilson Horden, heir to the Horden baronetcy, is in London on the day of Charles II’s return. His delight is dampened when his mother tells him that the three cousins he has come to meet are all eager to marry him after he has been to Cambridge University. He wants neither study nor marriage but to enter the King’s navy.
When he at last gets his wish England is at war with Holland and he is embroiled in a horrific sea battle, while the one cousin he could love is struggling to survive in the London of plague and fire. Read their story to discover what is to be their destiny.
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Deborah Horden is born when Horden Hall is on fire. The disaster overhangs her childhood but she proves phenomenally clever, as well as unusually tall.
These characteristics spell doom in the marriage stakes and she contemplates a spinsterhood of study at home while her young brother John runs away to seek adventure and is caught up in a Jacobite rebellion.
Read how he fares and how his adventure brings unexpected love and tragedy into Deborah’s life.
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Height of Folly
This final part of the Horden Quartet continues the story of Deborah as the new century dawns. It is 1700 and England is at war with France but the fighting is mostly outside the French borders and travel abroad is becoming popular.
Coal has been found on Horden land and Sir Daniel Horden can afford to let his son John take his French wife back to visit her family and Deborah may go with him. She is thrilled at the prospect of travelling but at six feet tall has little hope of finding a husband.
Read how John is again caught up in Jacobite plots and how his folly almost scuppers Deborah’s hopes of requited love.
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Set in Yorkshire and London in the 1760’s.
A mystery surrounds Castle Kirby which intrigues Olivia Beattie, the daughter of the architect employed in building a new wing.
She arrives with her father from London expecting little excitement and sees from portraits that the heir is a handsome officer away in the army. She plans to captivate him but meanwhile amuses herself by reading Shakespeare with the gardener and his crippled brother.
When the young heir returns she succeeds in her plan but her father falls out with Sir Langley Kirby and is dismissed. She fears she will never discover the secret which the brothers’ grandmother has hinted at, believing her to be the future bride of the heir.
Through poverty and tragedy she finally uncovers it in a triumphant climax.
Available on Amazon
The Memory of Rory-Beag
Published in 2014
There are only three survivors of a shipwreck off the Scottish island of Stroma following one of the clearances of a highland glen in 1819.
They are two very new babies and an eleven-year-old boy, Rory-Beag, sharp of memory but unable to speak because of a deformity from birth. He is cared for by a minister in Caithness while the babies, assumed to be twins are sent away and adopted by a couple in distant Northumberland who pass them off as their own children.
Rory-Beag is the only person alive who knows they are not even brother and sister but he can tell no one till the minister teaches him to read and write. Find out if he ever succeeds in his desperate quest to discover the whereabouts of ‘his babies’.
Available on Amazon
The Rossimon Trilogy follows the story of two boys of very different backgrounds growing up in Hexham, Northumberland (Brynford) These books can also be obtained direct from the author in paperback.
Rossimon is the name invented from their names, Ross and Simon. Ross dominates and leads shy Simon into adventures he would never have imagined and which alarm his close Christian family. They struggle to be friendly with Ross's wayward parents but finally, to their relief, Ross is removed from Simon's life.
To the dismay of Simon's parents Ross at fifteen comes back to Brynford and finds 'digs' close by, pretending his parents are coming north too. He discovers a remote empty cottage where he and Simon can 'hole-up' when they like but a sinister mystery lurks there. Simon has his own reasons for not co-operating in looking for clues to it and Ross heads into dangers which will change his whle way of life.
Ross and Simon go to university together and find themselves nicknamed Wintertree from their surnames Winterton and Tree. Ross is dedicted to studying Law but hopes for two things: that his troublesome parents will not interfere with his life and that Simon's sister, Joanna, will return his passion when she returns from teaching in Uganda. Simon finds his best thrill in running for his college but would love to overcome his shyness and find a girlfriend.
The pursuit of these hopes puts them both under strain till they find larger issues reshaping their lives after graduation.
This novel is available in electronic form as 'The Love of Jessie' set in the 1990's in a tiny fishing hamlet in Galloway but with a different ending.
'Jeanie's Destiny' can be obtained as a paperback direct from the author and this version is set in the early 1870's.
It is the heart-warming story of a young girl's struggle to keep her family together after the death of her mother and also find love for herself, but the love comes from dangerous men and brings sorrow until Jeanie eventually finds her destiny.
This novel is available on-line and from the author in paperback. It tells the story of five generations of women from 1915-1990.
At fifteen Karen Curry treasures memories of visits to Cullercoats to her great-great-grandmother. These ended abruptly when Grandpa died. Now she has only her ill-tempered Mam and the comfort of sweets and books in their attic flat above Nan's corner shop in Hexham. She wonders who the mysterious Lady Muck is who calls briefly from a posh home in Newcastle at Christmas.
Then suddenly they are all to visit Great-great-grandma on her 94th birthday, 5 generations of women and the local press.
As Karen unravels their stories she longs to channel Great-great-grandma's legacy of love to the 3 generations above her.
Also published on-line only are Hand in the Dark, a volume of short stories, The White Sash a novel for seven-twelve year olds. The electronic publisher is e-b Shop.
<< New text box >>My latest novel, The Unloved Child is published by SilverWood Books on December 11th 2020. Set in the Tyne Valley coalfield from 1802-1824 it tells of the dire consequences that follow a childhood lacking love. The older brother will seek vengeance on a much loved younger one. The novel can be ordered through bookshops or from Amazon Kindle or from Prue direct. firstname.lastname@example.org
<<The Unloved Wife follows on April 28th 2021 when Billy, the unloved child reappears with a new identity of Sir Ralph Barnet and hopes to transform his family's lives by means of his new wealth. He brings a wife fron the Spanish aristocracy and a son whom he loves passionately.
It is not the triumph he hoped. His wife doesn't know of his mining background and his mother Dee worries about 'this barrier of lies.' New text box >>
<He becomes engrossed in business and his wife feels neglected. Then his past comes to light and her reaction is catastrophic.< New text box >>
The Pembleton Myth is available to order. Official launch date is Sept 8th 2017.
Endorsed by Ann Widdecombe the novel takes place in one day in the life of Paul Pembleton, an Area Planning Officer for the lovely rural area of imaginary Northshire, which is very like Northumberland where Prue lives. The offices are in Midcaster, strangely reminiscent of Newcastle upon Tyne.
The Pembleton Myth tells the story of one day in the life of a planning officer in the late 1950's. There is an array of characters - his colleagues and their families, and among the applicants one who is truly desperate.
The morning is full of frustration for Paul Pembleton who revels in his reputation as fast, efficient and unflappable. Number 3 in the hierarchy would like to undermine him and an error by his assistant, which he had hoped to cover up, comes to light at the worst possible moment.
He escapes into his rural area in the afternoon to visit sites in the peaceful countryside of Northshire, but more problems await him, even physical danger. He must shed 'The Pembleton Myth' and be Paul the man. Exhausted at the end of the day he loses his temper with his young daughter. He has let himself down and the 'Myth' is finally exploded.
The story is told with great insight and plenty of humour. The world of the late fifties is truly authentic since the novel was originally written then
and has only now been edited for publication.
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<< New text box >>The latest news is that a new edition of 'Lesson of Love' is to be published in January 2019 by SilverWood Books.
'Lesson of Love' tells the story of my mother's dementia and what I learnt on my Christian journey through caring for her over several years.
<<Today is the day of publication of 'Lesson of Love' New text box >>
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