The Novelist







My Name is Martha Brown

Based on a true story, a captivating tale of passionate love and violent death in 1850s Dorset. 

Though born in obscurity and dying publicly on the scaffold for the brutal murder of her husband in 1856, Martha Brown as a historical character remains tantalizingly elusive, and has long been an object of fascination to many people.  Not least of these was Thomas Hardy, who witnessed her execution.  After two years of original painstaking research into Martha’s life, Nicola Thorne attempts a fictional reconstruction of the story of a woman whose sad life and shocking death have much of the overtones of a Hardy heroine.

 HarperCollins (also Audio)


In Search of Martha


A documentary made for ITV about Nicola Thorne’s research into Martha’s life, containing some reconstruction of events.

Dashwood Productions

Produced and Directed by Nick Gilbey

In Search of Martha Brown (non fiction)

A tantalizing voyage of discovery revealing for the first time some surprising details of the life of this enigmatic woman.  This book reveals for the first time all that has been discovered up to now about Martha Brown.  It also contains a full report of her trial; a discussion of the relationship between Hardy and Martha Brown; a description of turning the research into a novel; a biographical note on Lady Pinney, and an intriguing chapter on Martha’s mind by psychiatrist Dr. Derek Steinberg.

 Dashwood Press £7.99



The Broken  Bough Saga (four volumes)

The Broken Bough

The first volume in The Broken Bough saga

In the early 1900s pretty Cathy Read is widowed when her husband, Bill, is killed in an accident.  She has three young children to feed and clothe.
Despite a new marriage to an old friend of Bill’s, Cathy’s hardships only increase with the addition of two more children and, eventually, the outbreak of war in 1914.
By the time of the Armistice, each member of the family finds his or her life radically changed in a world in turmoil, with strange new values.

Severn House (also Audio)


The Blackbird’s Song

The second volume in The Broken Bough saga

It is 1924 and twenty-one year old Peg Hallam has come to London from rural Dorset to carve a career for herself in the busy world of Fleet Street journalism.

She is sharing a flat with her eldest sister, Verity, a hospital nursing sister, who is determined to protect her young charge from the temptations offered from the big city. But Peg is pretty, spirited and adventurous, divided by her loyalty to her family and their strict, conventional morality, and a yearning to experience all that the vast and exciting metropolis has to offer.

Severn House (also Audio) 



The Water’s Edge

The third volume in The Broken Bough saga

In May 1926, Peg Hallam, a successful young reporter working in London, is an enthusiastic supporter of the General Strike which is crippling the country. She is engaged to Alan, a fellow journalist and socialist who has long admired her, but whom she is not quite sure she loves. On the picket line outside her employer's newspaper offices Peg unexpectedly bumps into Hubert Ryland, heir to Lord Ryland, on whose Dorset estate Peg's family lives. Under such dramatic circumstances the long-suppressed attraction between the two young people is reawakened, and Peg finds she can no longer deny her feelings.

Severn House (also Audio)



Oh, Happy Day!

The final volume in The Broken Bough saga

This opens in the summer of 1932 with Ed Hallam and the beautiful Maisie celebrating their marriage in great style at Ryland Castle. Peg Hallam, once the gardener's daughter, is now apparently secure in her new role as Lady Ryland, mother of the future heir. The bewitching Maisie, formerly a night-club dancer, also seems about to cross that class barrier and finally achieve respectability.

But will she? Or will her glamorous but dissolute past return to threaten not only her and Ed's new-found happiness, but also send shockwaves through the entire family?

 Severn House (also Audio)


A Friend of the Family

A contemporary novel which combines the intriguing subjects of surrogacy and obsessive love.

Tina and Steve seem like the golden couple: rich, good looking with everything they could want except a child of their own.

HarperCollins (also Audio)

Class Reunion


Deeply nostalgic story charting the rites of passage of three convent girls schoolfriends, their lives forever influenced by the confines of their Catholicism.


     HarperCollins (also Audio)

The Good Samaritan

An intriguing suspense story.

Wealthy woman tries to help a charming beggar who subsequently runs off with her sister, and is then the suspect in a particularly brutal murder.

HarperCollins (also Audio)

Old Money


About old values and how society, in the supposed age of equality, still applauds class and class distinction.  Nick and Giles, public school friends from similar wealthy, privileged backgrounds both fall in love, when they go to university, with Laura a working class girl which shocks not only them but  their families.



     HarperCollins (also Audio)


World’s Apart


Anna, thirty-something, a busy and successful solicitor, is happily married to Peter and tries hard with her relationship with his two children by a deceased first wife. However just as she has decided not to have children of her own they turn against her, severely straining a love that is not based on a natural blood tie.

 HarperCollins (also Audio)


A chilling tale of psychic suspense which explores both explicable and inexplicable events that threaten to tear a family apart.

Following a job change, the Tempest family move to a remote village in Dorset, which, despite its beauty, seems somehow desolate. Even the odd behaviour of the family cat is disconcerting, so that their new home soon begins to fill them with dread…

Severn House


Trophy Wife

Rich, titled older man chucks wife for a younger woman. Family repercussions. 

Business tycoon Sir Matt Ransom is married to Elspeth, a woman who has aged well and gracefully.  She has skilfully kept the marriage together by a judicious blend of give-and-take and helped her husband in his climb up the ladder of success.  Then Matt meets Jenny, young enough to be his daughter.  Besotted by her he throws caution to the wind and is determined to pursue her whatever the price.   

 Harper Collins (also Audio)


Profit and Loss

A story of couples, of love, ambition, success and failure, which will strike a chord with anyone who has survived the good times and the bad.  A novel of contemporary life which is moving, relevant and totally absorbing.

The Binghams and the Townsends are attractive, privileged, fulfilled families.  Natalie and Hilary are best friends, their husbands rather more wary of each other – but that’s just male competiveness.  Then into their happy, smug lives erupts a new couple – a thrusting bank manager and his socially ambitious wife, and before long the taboo word ‘recession’ begins to have a meaning. 

Harper Collins (also Audio)


A novel which marries romance and suspense with all the shenanigans of big business and the glamour of the perfume industry.  It explores the lives and loves of the successful; the rich may be different, but their hearts are vulnerable too.

  Harper Collins (also Audio)


A Wind in Summer

Yorkshire Dales family saga.  The effect of a dominating father on the lives of his children.   

Geoffrey Blair is a doctor in the Yorkshire Dales, a widower with two sons, his life is comfortably settled until he is drawn to the lovely Catherine Wills, a girl of poorer background but great ambition.  Their life together and the lives of their children are the focus of a novel which shows a country in war and peace, a country and a family confused by shifting values, public and private turmo



The People of This Parish Saga (six volumes)

 The People of This Parish 

First volume in the People of this Parish saga. 

Sweeping saga over six novels covering the years 1880 to 1950, largely set in Dorset. The titled Woodville family intermarry with the yeoman Yetman family, and set off a train of events that weave in and out in a rich tapestry during the course of two world wars and a complete change in society. 

Heinemann (also Audio) 

The Rector’s Daughter

The Second volume in The People of This Parish saga.

Heinemann (also Audio)


In This Quiet Earth

The Third volume in The People of This Parish saga.

 Severn House (also Audio)


Past Love

The Fourth volume in The People of This Parish saga.

Severn House (also Audio)

A Time of Hope

The Fifth volume in The People of This Parish saga.


  Severn House (also Audio)





A Time of War

The Sixth volume in The People of This Parish saga

 Severn House (also Audio)


Bird of Passage

Set in Dorset about a mysterious woman returning to her home village. She has a past which she is trying to conceal from her family

 Grafton  (also Audio)



Saga about a Champagne dynasty. 

Unknown heiress Sandra O'Neill inherits an ancient marque of Champagne when the owner Georges Desmond is killed in an air crash.  She faces stiff opposition from the family of the dead man who feel she has stolen their birthright.  

Bantam Press


Champagne Gold

Continues the saga of the efforts of the disinherited and vengeful Desmond family to unseat Sandra, involving mayhem and attempted murder.



Pride of Place

 Saga from 1951-1980.

The Prynne family are forced to turn their ancient ancestral home into an up market hotel.

Harper Collins (also Audio)


Swift Flows the River

A richly nostalgic saga of Yorkshire life between the wars.  Starts 1916

 Macdonald (also Audio)

The Askham Chronicles Saga (Four volumes)

 Never Such Innocence 

The First volume in the momentous Askham Chronicles saga which covers almost a Century 

The year is 1898; the city is Cairo – light-hearted, cosmopolitan, prosperous and secure after years of secure British rule.  To Cairo comes Lady Askham, with her daughters, Flora and Melanie, to inspect Melanie’s fiance Harry Lighterman, a lieutenant in the Lancers, and friend of her younger son Bosco.  After the marriage the Lancers join the forces gathered at Omdurman, but even before the battle disaster strikes, which heralds much of the misfortunate that subsequently overtakes the Askham family. 

Grafton (also Audio)


Yesterday’s Promises

The Second volume in The Askham Chronicles Saga.

The years 1920 to 1937 dealing with the rise of Hitler and the brutality of Stalinist Russia and the involvement of the Askhams and the families we met in the first volume in those violent bloodstained years which tore Europe apart. For young Lord Askham there is the painful break with the family tradition of military service and the anguish it entails. The old world of affluence, splendour and patronage disappear and in its place dawns a much grimmer age.

  Grafton (also Audio)


Bright Morning

The Third volume in The Askham Chronicles Saga .

The years of the Second World War – years for the Askhams of both fulfillment and loss with members of the family scattered across war torn Europe. A story of men and women struggling for survival and happiness, a story of cowards and heroes, of sexual passion and blind platonic love.  

Grafton (also Audio)

A Place in the Sun

The final volume in The Askham Chronicles saga. 

From the 1940’s to the 1960’s the winds of change blow through Britain.  The once rich dynasty has to face new tribulations, both political and personal.  But with the tribulations comes the joy of new generations, new hope.  The harmony of the Askhams is shattered by the arrival of a Slavic beauty, whose effect is to be devastating.  At the head of the clan stands the matriarch Rachel, now nearing eighty, for whom the past is as vivid as the present; with much tragedy behind her, her hope is to preserve the dynasty from the perils of peace. 

Grafton  (also Audio)


A Family Affair

Even though Sam Hahn has a new wife he and his former wife are bound together by their past: their three children and the affection of many years of happy marriage. Family tensions ensue.

 Severn House


A Woman’s Place 

A woman's place is in the home, or is it? In the 1950's not many people thought to ask the question. 


Affairs of Love

Two sisters, one a doctor, the other an actress, and their attempts to establish themselves in difficult and controversial professions at the end of the nineteenth century.

      Granada (also Audio)

Where the Rivers Meet

Family saga set on Scottish borders, and centering on the Cashmere industry. Strong woman Margaret Dunbar takes over the family firm.

Since the mid-19th Century the Dunbar Mill has dominated the community of the border town of Branswick, where the rivers meet; but with the death of the heir to the business, confusion and failure loom for the proud Dunbar family.  Only young spirited Margaret Dunbar can save the mill and the family fortunes. 

Grafton (also Audio)

The Daughters of the House

Saga starting in 1851 with the Great Exhibition and closing in 1855 at the end of the Crimean War.

The novel traces the fortunes of a noble English family, the Vestreys. It is a story of love and change, of a family whose conflicts in peace and war mirror the conflicts of Victorian society and England itself.  

HarperCollins (also Audio)

The Perfect Wife and Mother

A loving husband, three lively intelligent children ... Ruth Harrow looks after them all with love and pride. She is the perfect wife and mother until a stranger moves in next door and awakes in her a smouldering passion which threatens her home, her family, her life.

 Heinemann (also Audio)


A Woman Like Us

Four women alone for different reasons all facing the challenge of social and sexual independence in an age of maximum stress - and limitless liberty …

Heinemann (also Audio)

The Enchantress Saga

Originally consisted of three titles. Finally published in one volume. Set in the Lake District about the beautiful Analee, a gypsy with magical powers, and Bonnie Prince Charlie.  

Where she came from no-one knew. Three men desired Analee, the gypsy girl, during that violent summer of 1745.  The first a rebel aristocrat, the second a dark gypsy, the third the man all men knew and feared as The Falcon. And then there was the exiled Bonnie Prince Charlie…

Inner Circle (Piatkus)



Return to Wuthering Heights

A great love reborn. 

When Emily Bronte’s Classic Wuthering Heights ended Heathcliff had just died still grieving over the death of his love Catherine Linton, nee Earnshaw.  In this imaginative sequel Hareton (Catherine’s nephew) and Cathy (Catherine’s daughter) share their predecessors’ passion for each other.  However, is it possible for Catherine’s daughter to have remained untouched by her mothers wild and tempestuous nature?

Hareton and Cathy marry, but their home is soon disturbed by the startling appearance of Heathcliff’s son Jack –a dark secret all these years. Jack has the same fierce attractiveness of his father – and he will use it.

                           Severn House                                    

The Little Flowers

Pretty, feisty fifteen-year-old Andrea Mackintosh is used to a sophisticated lifestyle and visiting the cultural capitals of pre–war Europe with her diplomat father. Then in 1942 she is suddenly plunged into the austere world of a convent boarding school to which she has been sent in order to escape the London blitz.

Andrea, a Protestant, is at first unhappy in this strange new world of conformity governed by bells. However, slowly she becomes assimilated under the guidance of a kindred sprit, rebellious Clare Bingley, with whom she eventually firms a close friendship.

Her charm, bewitching personality and academic prowess soon make Andrea the envy of her classmates and a favourite of the nuns, particularly Reverend Mother who see in her a candidate ripe for conversion.

Gradually Andrea is absorbed into the life of the convent which, with its diverse personalities, petty feuds, hilarious misadventures, and many undercurrents reflects the uncertainty and turbulence of the world outside.

Severn House


Coppitts Green

When Jocasta Oaks arrives in the small Yorkshire village of Coppitts Green she is full of excitement at atking up her new job as assistant schoolteacher - and being reunited with her fiancé, Peter Ryder. But Peter has disappeared, without explanation, and Jocasta is forced to stay with his cousins at their family home, Croft House.

From  the moment she arrives, Jocastais disturbed by the effect Croft House and its inhabitants - neurotic Agnes and brooding Tim - have on her. As she begins to make friends amongst the viallagers, and to learn something about the history of the place, she becomes more and more convinced that Croft House, and the entire Ryder family, are harbouring dark secrets from their past ...

            Severn House