It’s an extraordinary thing having two very different books published in one year, and  it would be  quite impossible for me to choose my favourite. My first, The Water Doctor’s Daughters, has a special place in my heart due to its content.  I became so emotionally involved with the Marsden children and their tragic  story.  This  book is dedicated to my mother Myra, whose love of history influenced me so strongly.

And yet Myra’s  humour and unquenchable spirit also  has a strong presence in  my second book, All Along the River: Tales from the Thames,  dedicated to my darling  partner Rob (aka Dr Bob).

The WDD had its time in the sun  (well…snow)  when it was launched in  unseasonably freezing Great Malvern in March.  It had a second  wonderful debut at  Sydney’s Ashfield Library  several months later.  A push from an article in our local Blue Mountains newspaper was also much appreciated. But despite being traditionally published it was quite a struggle getting the book into bricks and mortar bookshops.  I was also painfully  new to the whole marketing circus of  social media,  reviews, radio interviews, public speaking etc.

Venue for  BBC Radio Worcester interview about The Water Doctor's Daughters.
Venue for BBC Radio Worcester interview about The Water Doctor’s Daughters.

But what a special moment it was to see the book in the iconic Blackwells in Oxford, almost opposite the Bodleian Library, where I did much of my research. Of course its ‘home’ bookstore is the wonderful  Malvern Book Cooperative.   A great review by the  UK historian Edward James was another  huge plus.  My publishers  entered the book in a couple of literary competitions, including the  London based Wellcome Trust Prize, for books with a medical theme. Good luck, my dear little Marsdens, I’ve tried to do my best for you.

In fine company at Blackwells, Oxford!

In fine company…with Gray’s Anatomy at Blackwells, Oxford!

By the beginning of August  Rob and I were back in the UK and  our attention had shifted to the more lighthearted  Thames book.  What a memorable launch  we had in riverside Marlow.  Somehow AATR  appears to be having an easier run, helped by our dear  Marlow friend John Pritchard, and by the support of many lovely  readers who had already enjoyed the WDD.  It was also featured at the London Book Fair, which may account for its appearance on dozens of on-line book-sites around the world.  I was like an excited  child  seeing it in major London bookstores such as Stanfords at Covent Garden  and Blackwell’s, in Charing Cross Road.

Author's joy...signing books at Stanfords, London.
Author’s joy…signing books at Stanfords, London.
A kindly Stanford's employee puts AATR in a prime, 'cover out' position.
A kindly Stanford’s employee puts AATR in a prime, ‘cover out’ position.

It is also available at Blackwell’s Oxford store. The ‘home’  book store  this time is The Bell Bookshop in Henley-on-Thames.  Despite being  a paperback and  thus cheaper than the WDD,  it is larger and heavier,  and just as beautifully produced. The paper is glossy and there are 60 plus  photographs (mostly colour). By the way, there is a competition  relating to the book being held right now by the website Historical Honey. The prize is a signed copy of the book.  You can enter via their Facebook page (just google it) or via their twitter account  – @HistoricalHoney.  Good luck!

It seemed that the WDD was in danger of  being outshone  by its younger ‘sibling’ until I had some truly wonderful news on August 16th. The book has been long-listed in the prestigious, $20,000 Waverley Library Literary Prize. Good heavens!  I had to keep checking the announcement in the Bookseller and Publisher Magazine  to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.  No…there it was, listed  in the final 15 of some 160 entries beside Hannah Kent’s block-buster Burial Rites  and Robert Drewe’s  Montebello.

Waverley Literary Prize

Will it make it to the short-list of 6?  Well, that would be a dream come  true of course,  but I honestly don’t  expect it too. Nor will I mind, as  it has already far exceeded my expectations.  The  validation of being long-listed  means so much to me. I  also hope the recognition will attract more mainstream reviews, and a stronger presence in physical bookstores.  Yes, I  know it’s on Amazon and all those sites, but I’m a traditionalist!

So here are my two books. So much time and effort  invested in them,  not only by me but by Rob, and my editor at Robert Hale, Nikki Edwards. If you have read them both, which is your favourite?  If you haven’t (YET!), then which interests you more?  Do leave a message in the comment box, but remember to complete the anti-spam sum before pressing ‘submit’.

How can I possibly choose a favourite?
How can I possibly choose a favourite?
  1. I’m so proud of you Pauline and so glad we ‘chanced’ to meet. Lovely write up above with the books’ achievements (so far!). Gosh, I’ve got to do the ‘sum’ now so that you’ll see this reply. xx

  2. I’m so pleased about the success of both books. I’ve read the WDD, have reviewed it and am still haunted by the suffering of those poor girls. The TFT book is on my list to buy and read – although I live in Scotland, I am English [OMG – a sassenach!! in spite of living for most of my adult life in Scotland]. However, I have happy memories of the ‘deep south’ and I’m sure that TFT will re-wake some of them. Well done, Pauline. A great achievment. xx

    • Thanks Christine. You should enter the competition to win a copy of Tales From the Thames. PS…I lived in Scotland many moons ago, and worked as downstairs maid at Foyers Hotel on the banks of Loch Ness. Hmm….there’s enough book there!!

  3. Wonderful account of your experiences with these two books, Pauline – and many congratulations on the enthusiastic reception you’ve had for both! A lot of hard work (and travelling) has gone into promoting both, and it’s a tribute to the quality of writing and research that they have been recognised in this way. Looking forward to reading both when I go on holiday in September.

    • Thank you so much Ann. I hope you enjoy them and that the WDD doesn’t make you cry on your holiday!

  4. So pleased for you honey! 🙂


  5. I like your site but not the catcha stuff – I had to submit 4 times!
    I would be interested to learn about your experiences with cover design as I am going through this at the moment for my book about my father’s life and times.

    • Pauline

      Hi Miranda, sorry you had trouble leaving your message. I thought the little sum would be easier than the usual anti spam methods!
      Both my covers were designed by my publisher Robert Hale, and I didn’t really have any input. Fortunately I loved them both and they have been very well received. Best of luck with the biography…I will check out your webpage.

  6. My copy of All Along the River has just arrived in Wagga Wagga from Gloucester UK. The Book Depository send it postage free which is nice.
    I feel so excited I cannot wait to start reading it.
    I just briefly flicked through the pages and the first of Rob’s photos that caught my eye is the Statue of Sir Robert Clayton in Harleyford Manor. I became even more excited as I have been to Harleyford and have such lovely memories of my time there.
    It is great seeing your name in print Rob beside all the wonderful photos you have taken.
    I am so proud of you both Pauline & Rob. Did Des walk the Thames as well?

    • Pauline

      Hi Yvonne
      Hope you enjoy the book, was lovely to be able to share our experience of Harleyford with you. I remember our walks over to Hurley with great pleasure…well except for you sharing our deliciously warm bread rolls with the ducks and swans! Editor Des did not participate in the original walk along the Thames Path but has since visited many locations along the way. It was wonderful to see so many of Rob’s photographs in print. P.

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.