Bestselling author Lesley Pearse has a career that has spanned 25 years. In fact her latest novel, The Woman in the Woods, is her 25th book and was published by Penguin on 29th June 2017.
Fifteen-year-old twins Maisy and Duncan Mitcham have always had each other. Until the fateful day in the wood . . .
One night in 1960, the twins awake to find their father pulling their screaming mother from the house. She is to be committed to an asylum. It is, so their father insists, for her own good.
It’s not long before they, too, are removed from their London home and sent to Nightingales – a large house deep in the New Forest countryside – to be watched over by their cold-hearted grandmother, Mrs Mitcham. Though they feel abandoned and unloved, at least here they have something they never had before – freedom.
The twins are left to their own devices, to explore, find new friends and first romances. That is until the day that Duncan doesn’t come back for dinner. Nor does he return the next day. Or the one after that.
When the bodies of other young boys are discovered in the surrounding area the police appear to give up hope of finding Duncan alive. With Mrs Mitcham showing little interest in her grandson’s disappearance, it is up to Maisy to discover the truth. And she knows just where to start. The woman who lives alone in the wood about whom so many rumours abound. A woman named Grace Deville.
The Woman in the Wood is a powerful, passionate and sinister tale of a young woman’s courage, friendship and determination from one of the world’s favourite storytellers.
Read more on the Penguin website.
To celebrate the milestone Lesley has provided a factoid about one of Lesley’s previous novels.
So here’s something you may not have known about Dead to Me:
Dead to Me : I set this one in Hither Green South London because it was where I lived between 11 and 16, hating every minute of it. And Babbacombe near Torquay where I live now and love. Set before and during WW2 it’s a story of friendship, of hardship, and the bad things a person can do when they have no choice.
Spring 1935. Two girls meet by chance on Hampstead Heath. To an outsider, they could not appear more different. Verity is well-mannered and smartly dressed, living with her parents in a beautiful house close to the heath. Ruby is dishevelled and grubby, used to a life of squalor where she is forced to steal to survive. Yet there’s an instant affinity between them, and when their fortunes are shockingly reversed, it is the strength of their friendship that keeps them resilient to the challenges and hardships they face.
As Britain prepares for war, Ruby finds herself in Devon with the world at her feet and enjoying her first taste of romance. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, Verity is forced to leave behind everything she has ever known and a shadow from the past threatens her chances of a new beginning. But through it all, the girls are always there for each other. Until the day Verity does the one thing that will break Ruby’s heart.
In a country torn apart by fighting, will Verity and Ruby survive long enough to find a way back to each other? Or do some betrayals go with you to the grave . .
You can read more about Dead to Me and more about Lesley in this Q&A.