Books and stories have always held a special place in my heart. One of my earliest memories is a birthday present from my grandfather. An illustrated copy of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales. I couldn’t read, I could hardly balance the book on my lap, but it opened a world beyond my drab existence in post war London. A world of fantasy and dreams, a world I’ve escaped to many times over the years. The stories I write always have a basis in fact. They spring from a titbit overheard, a person I met, a place I visited or they fill an unrecorded gap in history. They tell of secrets and memories, of mysteries and passions. Come, step into my world—you are most welcome.
out now! THE GIRL IN THE PAINTING
Ranging from the gritty reality of the Australian goldfields to the grand institutions of Sydney, the bucolic English countryside to the charm of Maitland Town, this compelling historical mystery in the company of an eccentric and original heroine is rich with atmosphere.
Maitland 1913 Miss Elizabeth Quinn is something of an institution in Maitland Town. For longer than anyone could remember she and her brother, businessman Michael, have lived in the impressive two-storey stone house next to the church. When she is discovered cowering in the corner of the exhibition gallery at the Technical College the entire town knows something strange has come to pass. Was it the prehistoric remains or perhaps the taxidermy exhibition that had reduced the whale-boned encased pillar of society to a quivering mess? Or is there something odd about a striking painting on loan from the National Gallery? Mathematical savant Jane Piper is determined to find out. Deposited on the doorstep of the local orphanage as a baby, she owes her life and education to the Quinns' philanthropic ventures and Elizabeth has no one else to turn to. As the past and the present converge, Elizabeth's grip on reality loosens. Can Jane, with her logical brain and penchant for puzzles, unravel Elizabeth's story before it is too late?
‘Boasts strong female protagonists, an infectious fascination with the past, and the narrative skill to weave multiple timelines into a satisfying whole…smartly edited, cleanly written…easy to devour.’ Sydney Morning Herald on The Woman in the Green Dress ‘Cooper is a welcome inclusion to the rising ranks of female-centred historical Australian novels.’ The Herald Sun on The Naturalist’s Daughter