The Posy Ring: Coming Soon.

The Posy Ring, the first novel in a planned series called The Annals of Flowerfield, is due for publication by Saraband on 12th April. 

Here's what it's all about! 

When antiques seller Daisy Graham inherits an ancient house called Auchenblae, or Flowerfield, on the Hebridean island of Garve, she's daunted by its size and isolation. But the building, its jumble of contents, its wilderness of a garden and the island itself prove themselves so fascinating that she's soon captivated. She's also attracted to Cal Galbraith, who is showing an evident interest in the house and its new owner, yet she's suspicious of his motives – with good reason, it seems.

In parallel with their story runs that of sixteenth-century cousins Mateo and Francisco, survivors from the ill-fated Spanish Armada who find safe passage to the island.


There, one of them falls in love with the laird's daughter, Lilias. The precious gold posy (poesy) ring he gives her is found centuries later. Are its haunting engraved mottoes, un temps viendra and vous et nul autre, somehow significant now for Daisy and Cal?

Well, are they? You'll have to read the book to find out. And if I can get my head down and get out of my usual winter malaise, there will be another one in due course.

I've been dealing in antique and vintage textiles for some years now. It's my other day job alongside the writing. I've always collected textiles, always loved finding out their various histories, and they often find their way into my fiction. But when I realised that my collection was getting a bit too large for comfort, I started dealing in them as well. I've done antique markets and boot sales as a buyer and as a seller, and still go along to browse and buy.  As soon as online selling became possible, I set up a dedicated eBay shop, specialising in textiles with the occasional foray into vintage clothes, teddy bears and costume jewellery, although I'm about to transfer my 'niche' shop to another site called Love Antiques. 

The fictional Isle of Garve
I've known for some time that I wanted to write a novel about this world, and I've always thought how wonderful it might be to find a house full of 'stuff'. but I've also known how horribly challenging it would be. How on earth to sort out the rubbish from the treasures? It's difficult enough when you buy a large quantity of boxes of old linens and lace at auction. I've hauled things about, (textiles are incredibly heavy especially when linen is involved!) and spent hours deciding what to keep, what to sell, and what to recycle back into the saleroom or charity shop. I've observed too - I am a writer, first and foremost - watching the hierarchies in the salerooms and among the dealers, watching the quirks of various auctioneers, watching how the whole business works. 


I've also lived in a two hundred year old house for almost forty years, so I know all about the challenges of old buildings as well. Taking on an old house when you're rich is still, I think, challenging. (Not that I've ever been rich enough to experience it.) Doing it without enough money to tackle it properly can be an ongoing nightmare. 

But this isn't all that the book is about. Because in parallel with the modern day story, there's the story of the house and the island at other times, layers of events, people, relationships, like the layers built up in the agates I sometimes find on our nearby beaches. Nobody goes back in time in the Posy Ring. It isn't that sort of novel. But the past always, in some sense, influences the present, and various artefacts discovered in the present day still have something of their past clinging inexorably to them. 

As nice Paul in the BBC antiques programme called Flog It is so fond of saying - 'That's what it's all about.'

Meanwhile, I've never yet found a posy - or 'poesy' - ring. But I sure wish I could! 

Young Woman in Yellow - my inspiration for Lilias.

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