Told in alternate timelines between Cornwall in 1988 and London in 2018, this is a story about the masks we wear, how we go out of our way to change ourselves to please others and how no matter how far we run, and how hard we try to escape … wherever we go, we take ourselves with us!
In 1988, in the small town of Pencalenick (oh my word, it took me ages to pronounce this correctly!), Jason lives with his sister Sadie and his bully of a father who owns the local pub. In the absence of a mother, the two children are looked after by their dad and a somewhat shoddy bunch of pub regulars who have taken it upon themselves to oversee things as they’re well aware that the man who should be in charge of their welfare isn’t really up to the job on his own.
Jason longs to escape his mundane small-town existence. He hates being forced to work in the pub, and cannot bear the way his father treats him. He’s never been exposed to any life other than this one, but he knows there must be something better out there. So when Daisy, her twin sister Bea and their entourage arrive in town, he sees a window onto a different life, something that has the potential to be wonderful … perhaps. He’s entranced by Daisy and her hangers-on, who are simply biding their time before moving on to the next place that grabs their fancy. The truth is, they’re awful really. Spoilt rich brats who behave atrociously and treat the locals with utter disdain, Jason included. But all he sees is glamour and gloss and a way out. But while they’re frolicking away and having a seemingly carefree time, there’s a darkness that lurks just beyond the shadows, and their easygoing, happy-go-lucky days are bound to end badly.
In 2018, James is a ghostwriter, a very good one actually, sought out by those who’ve reached the top of their game in various field: sport, the arts, business. They want him to write the story of their lives so they can share it with their adoring fans and followers, and he’s made a name for himself doing just that, staying out of the limelight. And then he gets asked to write the memoir of Daisy Hemmings who’s now a renowned actress. Will he get the answers he’s looking for as to what really happened all those years ago, or has Daisy come so far that she’s left it all way behind in another life, boxed up and forgotten?
What happens when you come face to face with a past that doesn’t particularly paint you in the best light? Do you own it, or do you claim ignorance and behave as if you have no idea what’s being referred to?
Unlikeable characters collude to create a well crafted story that leaves you guessing right to the very end! Highly recommended. Thank you to Random Things Tours for the blog tour! Take a look at what other bloggers are saying about The Double Life of Daisy Hemmings …
A former broadcast journalist, political adviser and government speech-writer, Joanna Nadin is the author of more than eighty books for children and teenagers, including the Flying Fergus series with Sir Chris Hoy, the bestselling Rachel Riley diaries, also set in Essex, and based on the author’s teenage years, and the Carnegie Medal-nominated Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning BBC drama. She is also a lecturer on the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.
She has written two previous novels for adults, The Queen of Bloody Everything and The Talk of Pram Town.
Find her on Twitter: @JoannaNadin