Emily: A New Novel from Hampshire Author Christine Lawrence

Image shows the novel Emily by Christine Lawrence on a table top.
Image credit, Christine Lawrence.

Local writer Christine Lawrence introduces her latest novel, Emily, and shares the opportunity to meet the author at Fareham Library on 1st June 2023.

Eleven years ago I launched my first novel Caught in the Web. This was the moment my life changed after a long career in mental health. Since then I have published two psychological thrillers addressing the issues that people face and how they can overcome adversity in their lives. I am experienced in working in the field and have spent many years working with people who have struggled with addictions. Caught in the Web is set in Knowle Hospital in 1973 and is the story of a young nurse, Karen, who meets a woman who was locked away in the hospital in 1950 after having a child out of wedlock.

My second novel, Payback, takes Karen into the community team in 1986, working with clients battling against heroin addiction. It’s set in a charity shop and when one of the volunteers goes missing, two of the other workers go on the trail to find out what happened to her, putting themselves into danger too.

Four years ago I became concerned about the amount of homeless people there were in my local town, Fareham. I felt uncomfortable and wanted to know how I could help. While trying to find out, I found myself being offered a job in the local hostel as a relief worker. Working with people who were trying to overcome their addictions and homelessness and seeing how hard it is to get out of situations was at times frustrating. But I was impressed and overwhelmed by the bravery of the residents and the determination of those working in this sector. I met many amazing men and women and hope that I may have helped one or two whilst I was there. I wrote Don’t Step on the Cracks during the lockdown months of 2020 and launched the novel in 2021.

More recently, I was involved in a research project led by the Good Mental Health Co-operative in Portsmouth. We had access to medical records from the Portsmouth Borough Asylum from over 100 years ago and were able to research life in the asylum during the period of World War 1. I was commissioned to write four monologues based on the lives of those working and living in the asylum at this time. Emily was one of those monologues.

Image shows a flyer for the book Emily, including the synopsis of the novel found in this article.
Image credit, Christine Lawrence.

This led to the writing of my latest novel of the same name, an historical romance set in the Portsmouth Borough Asylum during World War 1. With her sweetheart away on the front line in Europe and through a series of life-shattering events, Emily finds herself losing both her family and her mind. Now living within the confines of the Portsmouth Borough Asylum and forced to work in the laundry as part of her treatment, she suffers more and more and can see no end to this nightmare life. As time passes, things start to improve when she is moved to work on the asylum farm. Will this be a way for her to recover fully, or is she doomed to stay behind these high walls for the rest of her life?

Since publishing the novel, Emily, the monologue has been made into a short film which was shown at Portsmouth’s BookFest in March this year.

On Thursday 1st June 2023, 1pm – 2pm, I will be giving an author’s talk at Fareham Central Library about the process of researching and writing Emily, and signed copies of the book will be on sale. To secure a place, collect a ticket from the help desk or turn up on the day.

Contact Christine Lawrence at christinelawrence14@btinternet.com for more information.