Celebrating Lesley Pearse’s 25th novel, today I am providing you with a fact about Lesley’s novel Belle (part of Lesley’s only trilogy) as well as a review of her latest and 25th novel The Woman in the Wood.
Many thanks to Darran at ED Public Relations for inviting me on the tour!
Fifteen-year-old twins Maisy and uncan have always had each other. Until that fateful day in the
1960: Maisy and Duncan Mitcham are woken one night to find their mother is being committed to
an insane asylum. Soon after, their father packs them off to ‘Nightingales’, their grandmother’s
country house in the New Forest. Cold and distant, she leaves them to their own devices to explore;
a freedom they have never experienced before and which they love. That is, until the day Duncan
doesn’t come home from the woods.
When the bodies of other young boys are discovered in the surrounding area the police appear to
give up hope of finding Duncan alive and with Grandmother Mitcham showing little concern, it falls
to Maisy to discover the truth. And she knows just where to start. The woman who lives alone in the
woods. A woman called Grace Deville.
I am a massive fan of Lesley Pearse thanks to my Gran who absolutely adores her. Lesley Pearse has a unique writing style that sucks me in every time, she creates tension and drama and all of the elements she’s renowned for; romance, friendship and crime.
We met fifteen year-old twins Maisy and Duncan Mitcham who’s mother has gone into an asylum, are thrust into the countryside with their grandmother who is cold and distant towards the twins and leaves them to their own devices. One day Duncan goes into the woods and doesn’t return. The Woman in the Wood is set in the 1960s postwar England, which added to its charm and interest for me.
Grace Deville who is known locally as ‘The Woman In The Wood’ is a recluse and very much suspicious of others. When Maisie makes friends with a local girl called Linda. Duncan who is left to his own devices eventually befriends Grace and begins to visit her regularly in the woods. With Duncan’s disappearance we learn that its linked to other boys in the area who have also been reported missing, and some have been murdered. Grace is automatically suspected but could this recluse woman who is wary of other people commit such a crime?
I was taken aback by how dark this book got, and there are some serious issues brought up and a couple of horror scenes that I wasn’t anticipating since for me at first it appeared quite like a fairy-tale- Hansel and Gretel comes to mind and is even mentioned in the book. A very emotional read.
After writing this amount you would think Lesley would be running out of ideas and characters, but oh no her brilliance continues to be original and addictive to read. I would definitely say that The Woman In The Wood is the darkest book due to the subject matter, but its definitely in my top five. I simply couldn’t put it down!
A fact about the book Belle.
“My sister believes I must have some experience of prostitution to write Belle. I told her I had never been good at asking men for money. I got the idea while in New Orleans in which some of the seamier scenes happen.”
Lesley Pearse was told as a child that she had too much imagination for her own good. When she
grew up she worked her way through many jobs – from corsetry sales in Cooks of St. Pauls (featured
in Dead to Me), to bunny girl to nanny; from gift shop owner to dressmaker – finally finding her true
vocation when she became a published author age 49. Since then Lesley has become an
internationally bestselling author, with over 10 million copies of her books sold worldwide.
A true storyteller and a master of gripping storylines, there is no set formula for a Lesley Pearse
novel although strong heroines and difficult circumstances are pervasive. Whether historical
adventures such as Gypsy or Never Look Back or the passionately emotive Trust Me, Lesley is
inspired by stories of courage and adversity and often gives voice to women lost in history. She is
passionate about her research and her stories have taken her far and wide; from Alaska to the
Crimea. Lesley now lives just outside Torquay in Devon where she loves to spend time walking on
the beach with her grandchildren and dogs.
A fantastic speaker and committed and passionate fundraiser for the NSPCC, Lesley is a much sought
after guest at literary lunches, library events and festivals up and down the country. Lesley was also
selected as the first Ambassador for National Libraries Day in 2014.
What is your favourite Lesley Pearse novel? If you haven’t read any of her delightful books then I strongly suggest you do because you’re missing out big time!