Laura Beatty lives in the middle of Salcey, one of the very few remaining medieval hunting forests in England. The forest, she says, has provided us with food, forage, fuel, materials for builing and transport -- yet it is also the place where we keep our bogeymen, where witches live, and where characters go in and 'come out wiser or sadder of dead or different'.
Laura Beatty is married with three children. POLLARD is her first work of fiction which won the Author's Club First Novel Award and was nominated for the 2009 Ondaatje Prize.
DARKLING, Chatto & Windus, 2014
Mia Morgan, in the middle of her life, is a woman under siege: by memories of her late lover, by the relationship with her blind father, and by a family secret she can’t forget. She is also accused of living in the past: her days are spent amid the life and letters of Lady Brilliana Harley, who lived nearly four hundred years ago during the English Civil War.
Brilliana Harley is a Puritan, a lone Roundhead in a county of Royalists, and it is not long before her enemies sit down in siege around her. As cannon-shot rains down upon her castle, she alone must captain a garrison of men and defend her home.
Out of Brilliana’s words emerges a woman of courage and conviction, a loving mother and capable wife, dutiful even under duress. As Mia pieces her together, she finds that it is through Brilliana’s life, so different and yet so similar, that she can come to understand her own.
Darkling is a revolutionary undertaking: an echoing of two lives across the centuries, deftly weaving original seventeenth-century documents into the fabric of a modern fiction. The result is a book of voices, past and present, exquisitely observed and skilfully summoned.