One Thursday in July, 1989, beneath the headline, Obsession That Became A Bestseller, the Daily Mail featured a photo of a young woman looking like a lottery winner. The Sun’s piece was cheekier: Mum Makes A Million, appeared beside the boobs on Page Three.
Ann Victoria Roberts hadn’t posed naked and hadn’t won a fortune. She’d written a novel that prompted a bidding war for publishing rights across the world. In the eyes of the press, the fact that Ann was not a career woman, but simply a wife and mother, was newsworthy.
In this memoir, the author reflects on the joys, the travels and the heartaches of her life as a sea-captain’s wife – and the decade of coincidences and lucky strikes that led to the writing of two big historical novels, Louisa Elliott and Liam’s Story. Amidst the fanfares and famous names, and the journey that took her from York to Australia and back, Ann reveals the work behind the success, and the truth behind her characters.
As readers, we browse in bookshops, spot a favourite author or intriguing title, and take it home. Rarely do we consider the path that book must have taken from the author’s pen to a bookshop shelf. And yet the story behind it is often stranger than the fiction it contains…
a total joy to read…
‘For anyone who has read and loved Louisa Elliott and Liam’s Story, this book will be a total joy to read… giving us background from the first inklings of ideas through to the publication and success of these books. However, it is so much more… takes us all over the world, whether she is telling the story from cobbled streets of York, the Blue Mountains in Australia or on the bridge of her husband Peter’s ship, we are transported immediately to that place. It is a memoir but reads like a wonderful novel, like all her books.’ Polly, Gloucester
“I hope you too will find it a revelation”
‘This memoir includes ‘luck’ in the subtitle, and the string of coincidences which propelled the story along is described; but clearly it was talent, not luck, that brought her success. Of the memoir, the author wrote: “I hope you too will find it a revelation”. It was: a fascinating read, and highly recommended.’ Yorkshireman
Ann Victoria Roberts has an innate ability to paint a picture in words
‘[Ann Victoria Roberts] has an innate ability to paint a picture in words, so that you find yourself seated on the upper deck of a bus as it winds its way through the countryside of Yorkshire; in a dusty attic rummaging through old books to discover a diary; visiting WW1 battlefields; or perhaps on a cargo ship with Ann, her Master Mariner husband and their two children… This book provides great insight into the home life of a writer as she deals with family affairs… She claims her early success depended on luck… [but] the quality of that first manuscript clearly had a lot to do with its success…’ Trevor Cradduck