An Unknown Woman
by JANE DAVIS
Publication Details: Published 9 March 2015
Publisher: Jane Davis
Book Type: Paperback and e-book
Book Format: Paperback, Kindle, e-pub mobi
ISBN: 13: 978-1508578826
Kindle ASIN: B00UIKZTQC
‘I just adored it!’ Liza Perrat, author of Spirit of Lost Angels
New Fiction from an Award-winning Author
At the age of forty-six, Anita Hall knows exactly who she is. She has lived with partner Ed for fifteen years and is proud of all they’ve achieved. They go out into the world separately: Ed with one eye on the future in the world of finance; Anita with one foot the past, a curator at Hampton Court Palace. This is the life she has chosen – choices that weren’t open to her mother’s generation – her dream job, equal partnership, freedom from the monotony of parenthood, living mortgage-free in a quirky old house she adores. The future seems knowable and secure.
But then Anita finds herself standing in the middle of the road watching her home and everything inside it burn to the ground. Before she can come to terms with the magnitude of her loss, hairline cracks begin to appear in her perfect relationship. And returning to her childhood home in search of comfort, she stumbles upon the secret that her mother has kept hidden, a taboo so unspeakable it can only be written about.
The reflection in the mirror may look the same. But everything has changed.
Authentic and heartbreaking, Davis’s intoxicating new novel is an exploration of identity, not as a fixed point, but as something fragile, shape-shifting and transient.
Award-winning author of Half-truths and White Lies, I Stopped Time, These Fragile Things, A Funeral for an Owl, An Unchoreographed Life and An Unknown Woman.
Life imitating art. The novel is very personal to me. In 2013, I took the decision to cut back on paid work, which meant selling the car and ridding myself of a lot of material baggage along the way. The book is in part an exploration of how our material possessions inform our identities. It begins with a couple standing in the road outside their house watching it burn to the ground. It is very recognisably my house. Then in February 2014, life repeated fiction when my sister lost her house and everything in it to the winter floods. This event changed the shape of the book I was writing and took it in a new direction.
When the mother/daughter bond is absent: It is also personal because my elderly neighbour gifted me his story and gave me permission to write about it. His wife had very much wanted a child, but when their daughter was born, his wife was unable to bond with her. This wasn’t post natal depression, but an active dislike which worsened over the years. They never acknowledged it, never spoke about it, but it was always there. My neighbour spent his married life trying to compensate, being both mother and father to their daughter. I thought that I was telling the story of one family, but several of my beta readers responded with details of very similar experiences, either relating to their relationships with their children or their mothers, and they were glad that it had been written about. (Possibly not one for Mother’s day!)
Praise for the Author
‘When a story pulls you into it so you care about the characters and believe in every moment you’re with them, and in addition the quality of writing enriches your experience, you’ve found something special. That’s how I feel about Jane Davis’ work.’ Jean Gill, Author and Photographer
‘That Jane Davis is an important new writer is a given.’ Grady Harp, reviewer
‘Davis is a phenomenal writer, whose ability to create well rounded characters that are easy to relate to feels effortless.’ Compulsion Reads
‘Jane is not afraid to get stuck into some meaty themes and present her characters with thought-provoking emotional dilemmas.’ Sharon Avidreader
‘I read all Jane’s novels and I could not pick my favourite. They are all different, but they hold one similarity, namely the author’s gift of storytelling.’ Anna from Poland
‘This author never fails to make you think about wider issues.’ MIF
‘Clever stories, brilliantly told.’ Sarah Diss
‘Jane Davis has the insight and sensitivity of a great writer.’ Awesome Indies.
‘Davis has an incredible knack for making everything count.’ Amie McCracken
‘Davis really does bring characters to life, mothers, fathers, friends, teachers are all perfectly described along with their actions and reactions to events.’ Cleo Bannister