The great-granddaughter of the poet Alice Meynell, Bernardine Bishop was the youngest witness in the Lady Chatterley trial in 1960. After writing two early novels, she taught in a London comprehensive school for ten years and then had a distinguished career as a psychotherapist, during which she brought up her two sons. Cancer forced her retirement in 2010 and she returned to her first love, fiction. Bernardine Bishop lived in London with her husband, until her death in July 2013.
There's more going on in The Street than its inhabitants realise . . . In the course of this delightful, quirky and perceptive novel an elderly soldier with incipient Alzheimer's saves the life of a remarkable child, a resting actor finds real purpose, a woman starved of love discovers it in an unexpected place and a beloved cat achieves immortality.
Accused of child abuse, Father Roger Tree confesses at once; it masks a darker secret. Meanwhile his sister Romola faces a future without their beloved brother, the novelist Hereward Tree. Can she live with the ending of his last book? And then there is Hereward's much younger lover, Carina, who takes fate into her own hands. But it is Betty Winterborne, forced to re-examine the death of her son Mark twenty years before, who has the courage to face the truth.
There are the lies we tell others, and the lies we tell ourselves. This is a story about the difference.
UNEXPECTED LESSONS IN LOVE
Shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Novel Award
Cecilia Banks has a great deal on her plate. But when her son Ian turns up on her doostep with the unexpected consequence of a brief fling, she feels she has no choice but to take the baby into her life. Cephas's arrival is the latest of many challenges Cecilia has to face. There is the matter of her cancer, for a start, an illness shared with her novelist friend Helen. Then there is Helen herself, whose observations of Cecilia's family life reveal a somewhat ambivalent attitude to motherhood. Meanwhile Tim, Cecilia's husband, is taking self-effacement to extremes, and Ian, unless he gets on with it, will throw away his best chance at happiness.
As events unfold and as the truth about Cephas is revealed, we are invited to look closely at madness, guilt, mortal dread and the gift of resilience. No one will remain unchanged.