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September book club: How It Was by Janet Ellis

how it was september book club

Janet Ellis’ first novel The Butcher’s Hook gained huge acclaim and established her as an author to watch. Her second novel, How It Was, takes us to 1970s rural Kent and is our pick for September's book club. As always, we have 50 copies up for grabs and an opportunity to ask Janet your questions.  

Marion Deacon is a wife and mother, and not particularly good at being either; the swinging 60s, the wave of 70s feminism, the prospect of an exciting life, have all swerved past her. Reading her teenage daughter’s diary, it seems that Sarah is on the threshold of getting everything her mother Marion was denied, and Marion cannot bear it - what she does next has terrible and heart-breaking consequences for the whole family.

With shades of Zoë Heller and Claire Fuller, Janet Ellis writes of the exquisite pain of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the complexity of family love, and depicts a mother and daughter relationship that is as memorable as it is utterly believable.

Actress, presenter and author Janet Ellis trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Best known for presenting Blue Peter, she stars in numerous radio and TV programmes and in 2018 appeared at the Edinburgh Festival in Makes, Bakes and Outtakes, a play celebrating sixty years of Blue Peter. In 2016 Janet was awarded an MBE for services to charities and theatre. A graduate of the Curtis Brown creative writing course, her debut novel, The Butcher's Hook, was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize.

How It Was is published by Two Roads Books and is available to buy online and from all good bookshops. If you receive a copy through the book club giveaway (now closed) then you'll need to leave your questions and feedback for Janet on the thread (coming soon!) in the book club forum.


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