When Mike and Gally Martin move to a village in Somerset they are hoping to make a fresh start. Gally has been having nightmares ever since she was a little girl, haunted by the same recurring fears. In the ancient village of Penselwood they meet an old man, Ferney Miller, who is at first hostile and then very supportive of their plan to buy and restore a derelict cottage. Gally feels drawn to Ferney from the first moment they meet and as their relationship grows, he gradually helps her to rediscover memories that she has utterly forgotten. She finds she knows things that she has no rational way of knowing. As the extraordinary story of Ferney and Gally's long connection becomes undeniable it confronts them with the hardest dilemma imaginable. Mike, a down-to-earth history professor has the greatest difficulty accepting Ferney's account of the past which surrounds them and in the end Gally is forced to make an impossible choice with a poignant and surprising outcome. The village itself is the fourth character in the novel. The real and vivid history of Penselwood is a key ingredient. As one reviewer said "It conveys that history is more than just all around us; it's a very part of who we are. The past leaves footprints and patterns that linger... Ferney is definitely an atmospheric book, you can feel the authenticity of the bucolic landscape seeping in as you read... In Ferney, the past doesn't lie silently. Rather, it catches you unaware, slowly emerging from where it was long hidden until you're forced to acknowledge its presence." Read what dovegreyreader had to say.
The Lives She Left Behind
When Joanna Driscoll is little more than a toddler, her tough mother Fleur puts her on medication because of her conversations with her imaginary friend. Moving from Yorkshire to Devon brings little Jo closer to some degree of happiness but it is not until she is sixteen and sent with two friends to work on an archaeological dig that she is able to stop taking the pills and feel a powerful emotion again. Powerful it certainly is. What happens on that dig at Montacute changes her life and she is not the only one. Somerset schoolboy Luke Sturgess stumbles on the dig at the end of a long bike ride, unexpectedly encountering Michael Martin, one of his teachers. As Mike gives him a lift home, Luke startles him with his knowledge of the history of Mike's house and village. Sixteen years after the events which ended Ferney, we are back in Penselwood to discover what happened next to the main characters. You don't have to read Ferney first because this is a story that stands on its own two feet. The world has changed a great deal in those sixteen years but events from a thousand years earlier reach out to tap on the shoulder of the present day. Hard lessons learnt in ancient wartime play their part in bringing Jo back to her real life and help a boy and a girl find a human solution to a problem that goes beyond normal human experience.