Joan Seabrook, a fledgling archaeologist, has fulfilled her lifelong dream to visit Arabia by travelling from England to the ancient city of Muscat with her fiancé, 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 sparked 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?
The English Girl is out in hardback, audio and e-book on Amazon UK and directly from the publisher. Author Katherine Webb is celebrating her launch with a blog tour. On each blog she answers one question about herself, here’s mine…
Can I have a picture of your desk? Talk me through what is on there…
Here’s my desk, in my newly redecorated study! It’s an old schoolteacher’s desk, which I’ve sanded back and lime waxed. I moved house a few months ago, to a ‘project’ house, and will be chipping away at the DIY for the next year at least. But the study was one of the first rooms I put straight. I’m quite tidy, as you can see. I usually like all of the paperwork and piles cleared off altogether before I start work, but it’s not possible at the moment, so I’m having to get used to parking it until the day’s work is done.
My wonderful Håg chair – I couldn’t be without it. I used to sit on an old dining chair to work, and I gave myself such a bad back. One full ergonomic work station assessment later and I have the world’s most comfortable chair! It’s physically impossible to slouch when sitting on it. The laptop is at eye level and the keyboard at the correct height for the angle of my arms and hands. It’s surprising how much of a difference these things make!
I like having the desk in front of the window – good for staring out at the sky or the birds when I’m a bit stuck. I have my workbook of notes next to me, always, even if I don’t look at it once all day. I feel a bit rudderless without it. The only thing missing from this picture is a mug of tea. There usually is one – a steady drip feed of black tea, green tea, ginger tea throughout the day.
Read Katherine’s other questions here…
Katherine Webb was born in 1977 and grew up in Hampshire before reading History at Durham University. She has since spent time living in London and Venice, and now lives in the countryside near Bath, UK. Having worked as a waitress, au pair, personal assistant, bookbinder, housemaid, library assistant and seller of fairy costumes, she is now a full-time writer.
Katherine’s debut novel, The Legacy, won the popular vote for the TV Book Club Summer Read 2010 and was shortlisted for Best New Writer at the 2010 Galaxy National Book Awards. Her subsequent novels The Unseen, A Half Forgotten Song and The Misbegotten were all Sunday Times Top Ten Bestsellers. The Night Falling, her fifth novel, was released in November 2014, and The English Girl saw its UK launch on March 24th 2016.
Her books have been translated into 26 languages around the world and span such times and settings as Regency Bath, the American frontier in the early 1900s, Italy in the 1920s, Dorset in the 1930s, and Arabia in the 1950s.