Wanderers and Writers: The Inspiration for To The Fair Land
I am delighted to welcome Lucienne Boyce
as she talks about who inspired her to write To The Fair Land
The question is not so much what inspired me to write To The Fair Land, as who. It was my literary heroine, novelist and diarist Frances Burney (1752–1840).
To The Fair Land grew out of my fascination with the secrecy surrounding the publication of Burney’s first novel, Evelina. Burney’s motives for keeping her authorship secret are not entirely clear. Perhaps she feared hostile criticism, or losing respectability, or was anxious not to draw attention to family scandals (her brother had just been sent down from Cambridge University for theft). Whatever her reasons, she wrote in secret and published anonymously (although the truth came out eventually).
I began to wonder what would happen if a book was published anonymously with more at stake than a reputation. I imagined the possibility of a publication that meant real danger to people connected with it. But what could be so important? Again, I found the clues in Burney’s novels and diaries. Her brother James served in the Resolution on Captain Cook’s second voyage in search of the Great Southern Continent, a landmass which many believed existed in the southern hemisphere.
What could be more exciting than the quest for new lands? At stake are lives, fortunes, even the fate of a nation…so Ben Dearlove, the hero of To The Fair Land, is in peril because of his obsession with an anonymous book about a voyage to the Great Southern Continent. The heroine, Sarah Edgcumbe, is a homeless wanderer who has to conceal the truth about her past – like the heroine of Burney’s novel The Wanderer. She’s also named, incidentally, after Frances’s step-sister Sarah, and like her namesake is a writer.
It was Frances Burney’s writing that first interested me in the eighteenth century. Now I’m so hooked I’m writing my own novels set in the period. She truly is my inspiration!
To The Fair Land Book Blurb
A thrilling eighteenth-century mystery about a map, an author, and a vicious killer.
In 1789 struggling writer Ben Dearlove rescues a woman from a furious Covent Garden mob. The woman is ill and in her delirium cries out the name "Miranda”. Weeks later an anonymous novel about the voyage of the Miranda to the fabled Great Southern Continent causes a sensation. Ben decides to find the author everyone is talking about. He is sure the woman can help him – but she has disappeared.
It is soon clear that Ben is involved in something more dangerous than the search for a reclusive writer. Who is the woman and what is she running from? Who is following Ben? And what is the Admiralty trying to hide? Before he can discover the shocking truth Ben has to get out of prison, catch a thief, and bring a murderer to justice.
Good Luck in the giveaway !!