Today, 30th April, is publication day for Small Eden, the tenth novel by award-winning author and publisher, Jane Davis. I'm delighted to welcome Jane to my blog to celebrate her latest release.
Let's start with the blurb:
A boy with his head in the clouds. A man with a head full of dreams.
1884. The symptoms of scarlet fever are easily mistaken for teething, as Robert Cooke and his pregnant wife Freya discover at the cost of their two infant sons. Freya immediately isolates for the safety of their unborn child. Cut off from each other, there is no opportunity for husband and wife to teach each other the language of their loss. By the time they meet again, the subject is taboo. But unspoken grief is a dangerous enemy. It bides its time.
A decade later and now a successful businessman, Robert decides to create a pleasure garden in memory of his sons, in the very same place he found refuge as a boy – a disused chalk quarry in Surrey’s Carshalton. But instead of sharing his vision with his wife, he widens the gulf between them by keeping her in the dark. It is another woman who translates his dreams. An obscure yet talented artist called Florence Hoddy, who lives alone with her unmarried brother, painting only what she sees from her window…
Small Eden has already received some great reviews and endorsements:
‘Life as it is, in all its terrible beauty. 5 stars and three hankies’ says Jean Gill, author of Historical Fiction series The Troubadours Quartet
‘With an eye for precise detail balanced by a sweeping imagination, this beautifully constructed book is built on deep foundations. Read it at least twice.’’ recommends JJ Marsh, author of the Beatrice Stubbs Series
So what inspired Jane Davis to write Small Eden?
Jane took as her inspiration the cottage she has called home for the past twenty-one years. Before she moved into the cottage, the vendors told her that it had been the gatehouse for an estate, but that didn’t feel right. Hanging in the hall was a reproduction of a woodcut, depicting Edwardian ladies playing a game of doubles on a tennis court, just in front of the cottage. She consulted a local historian, who was intrigued enough by what he saw to begin researching its history. What he had to tell her was far more interesting. It was built as the ticket office for pleasure gardens, which opened at the turn of the century and had closed by 1923. What led a man to embark on such an endeavour after the last of London’s pleasure gardens had failed isn’t written in any history books. The little that is known comes from Ordnance Survey maps and census records. Davis's instinct was that something from his past was driving him. Of course, had her research been more successful, there would have been no story to write.
EBook release date: 30 April 2022
Available for pre-order: 7 April 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction
Universal buy link: https://books2read.com/u/bPg68r
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60736777-small-eden
Paperback release date: To be confirmed.
Jane Davis’s first novel, 'Half-Truths and White Lies', won a national award established with the aim of finding the next Joanne Harris. Further recognition followed in 2016 with 'An Unknown Woman' being named Self-Published Book of the Year by Writing Magazine/the David St John Thomas Charitable Trust, as well as being shortlisted in the IAN Awards, and in 2019 with 'Smash all the Windows' winning the inaugural Selfies Book Award. Her novel, 'At the Stroke of Nine O’Clock' was featured by The Lady Magazine as one of their favourite books set in the 1950s, selected as a Historical Novel Society Editor's Choice, and shortlisted for the Selfies Book Awards 2021.
Interested in how people behave under pressure, Jane introduces her characters when they are in highly volatile situations and then, in her words, she throws them to the lions. The themes she explores are diverse, ranging from pioneering female photographers, to relatives seeking justice for the victims of a fictional disaster.
Jane Davis lives in Carshalton, Surrey, in what was originally the ticket office for a Victorian pleasure gardens, known locally as ‘the gingerbread house’. Her house frequently features in her fiction. In fact, she burnt it to the ground in the opening chapter of 'An Unknown Woman'. In her latest release, Small Eden, she asks the question why one man would choose to open a pleasure gardens at a time when so many others were facing bankruptcy?
When she isn’t writing, you may spot Jane disappearing up the side of a mountain with a camera in hand.
Find out more about Jane at:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JaneDavisAuthorPage
Grateful thanks to Jane Davis for visiting my blog to talk about Small Eden, which sounds like a fascinating and poignant read.