Jane, who was shortlisted for the 2013 Bristol Short Story Prize, won last year’s Historical Writers’ Association’s (HWA) Debut Crown Award for The Animals at Lockwood Manor and early reviews of her new novel suggest more awards may be on the cards. Emma Stonex, author of The Lamplighters, says: “This is a potent, mesmerising portrait of girlhood desire, betrayal, beauty and death, sensuously written and passionately told”, while Anna Bailey, bestselling author of Tall Bones, says: “This is a vivid, sensuous novel that captures the feelings of passion and devastation of girls on the brink of womanhood and life itself, and I can’t recommend it enough”
From the publisher’s (Mantle Books) website:
“In the summer of 1973, teenage Ruth and her four friends are obsessed with pre-Raphaelite paintings, and a little bit obsessed with each other. They spend the scorching summer days in the river by Ruth’s grand family home, pretending to be the drowning Ophelia and recreating tableaus of other tragic mythical heroines. But by the end of the summer, real tragedy has found them.
“Twenty-four years later, Ruth is a wife and mother of three children, and moves her family into her still-grand, but now somewhat dilapidated, childhood home following the death of her father. Her seventeen-year-old daughter, Maeve, is officially in remission and having been discharged from hospital can finally start acting like a ‘normal’ teenager with the whole summer ahead of her. It’s just the five of them until Stuart, a handsome photographer and old friend of her parents, comes to stay. And there’s something about Stuart that makes Maeve feel more alive than all of her life-saving treatments put together . . .
“As the heat of the summer burns, how long can the family go before long-held secrets threaten to burst their banks and drown them all?
“Set between two fateful summers, The Ophelia Girls is a visceral, heady exploration of illicit desire, infatuation and the perils and power of being a young woman.”
We wish Jane huge success with the novel and hope it brings her many more readers and awards.
Jane Healey was shortlisted for the 2013 Bristol Short Story Prize for her story, Pool Boy, which is published in our Volume 6 anthology by Tangent Books.