The English Girl
Joan Seabrook, a fledgling archaeologist, has fulfilled a lifelong dream to visit Arabia by travelling from England to the ancient city of Muscat with her fiance, Rory. Desperate to escape the pain of a personal tragedy, she longs to explore the desert fort of Jabrin, and unearth the treasures it is said to conceal. But Oman is a land lost in time - hard, secretive, and in the midst of a violent upheaval - and gaining permission to explore Jabrin could prove impossible. Joan's disappointment is only alleviated by the thrill of meeting her childhood heroine, pioneering explorer Maude Vickery, and hearing first-hand the stories that captured her imagination and fuelled her ambition as a child. Joan's encounter with the extraordinary and reclusive Maude will change everything. Both women have things that they want, and secrets they must keep. As their friendship grows, Joan is seduced by Maude's stories, and the thrill of the adventure they hold, and only too late does she begin to question her actions - actions that will spark a wild, and potentially disastrous, chain of events. Will the girl that left England for this beautiful but dangerous land ever find her way back?
I loved THE ENGLISH GIRL. I was really drawn to both Maude and Joan and was completely absorbed by their exotic adventures. I thought it was a really original working of a dual narrative historical story and felt as authentically and thoroughly researched as The Night Falling. I've loved all Katherine Webb's books and this is a wonderful addition to my collection. After I finished, I found myself miss the searing heat and huge blue skies of the Omani desert. Kate Riordan A compelling and beautifully written tale of adventure, mystery and love, The English Girl enthralled me from the first page. Set against the exotic backdrop of Arabia, which is both unforgiving and romantic, Webb brings her world to life with skill and passion. Santa Montefiore With memorable characters and wonderful detail, Katherine evokes a little-known episode of British history to give a fascinating perspective on a region so much in the news today. Her depiction of the desert kingdom captures all its beauty and danger. Vanessa Lafaye You know with a book by Katherine Webb that the writing will be impeccable and The English Girl is no different. This story of two women half-a-century apart both running away from the narrow margins of their lives is utterly captivating. The desert setting is as bewitching for the reader as it is for the characters, its arid emptiness and its unfamiliarity are vividly wrought with echoes of The Sheltering Sky. Webb's story surprises, too with unexpected twists and kept me gripped to the final page. -- Elizabeth Fremantle
Katherine Webb was born in 1977 and grew up in rural Hampshire before reading History at Durham University. She has since spent time living in London and Venice, and now lives in Wiltshire. Having worked as a waitress, au pair, personal assistant, book binder, library assistant, seller of fairy costumes and housekeeper, she now writes full time. www.facebook.com/KatherineWebbAuthor @KWebbAuthor