The Curiosity Cabinet

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The Curiosity Cabinet was one of three novels shortlisted for the prestigious 2005 Dundee Book Prize and was first published soon after. Now, Saraband has published a revised version with this stunning new cover by photographer Diana Patient.

The novel, one for fans of Outlander and Scotland, is available on Amazon, and from good bookshops. It is published both in eBook form and as a paperback. I’m currently working on a new novel, a spin-off from The Curiosity Cabinet, with a similar Hebridean island setting. This isn’t quite a sequel – but it will be linked to the first novel in all kinds of ways! Publication is planned for 2018 and there will be more books in the series.

‘The island reminds her of those magic painting books. The shop here used to sell them. You would dip your brush in water and pale, clear colours would emerge from the page, as this green and blue landscape is emerging from the mist.’ 

The real Manus, Curiosity CabinetWhen Alys revisits the beautiful Hebridean island of Garve after an absence of twenty five years, she is captivated by the embroidered casket on display in her hotel. She discovers that it belongs to Donal, her childhood playmate, and soon they resume their old friendship. Interwoven with the story of their growing love, is the darker tale of Henrietta Dalrymple, kidnapped by the formidable Manus McNeill and held on Garve against her will. With three hundred years separating them, the women are linked by the cabinet and its contents, by the tug of motherhood, and by the magic of the island itself. But Garve has its secrets, past and present. Donal must learn to trust Alys enough to confide in her and, like Henrietta before her, Alys must earn the right to belong.

‘She saw before her a small but strongly built man, in his thirties perhaps, wearing highland dress, bare legs showing beneath the big blue plaid. He reminded her of the highlanders she had seen on the streets of Edinburgh where sometimes, dressed in their outlandish clothes, they were perceived as crude figures of fun and sometimes, bristling with weaponry and with the drink taken, as dangerous incomers. Manus was no figure of fun although she could see that he might be dangerous, a better friend than an enemy, perhaps.’ 

What people have said about this novel:

‘Heartwarming, realistic and page turning’Lorraine Kelly.
‘A powerful story about love and obligation… a persuasive novel, very well written’John Burnside.
‘The narrative works on many layers of memory and time, some hazy, some forgotten, but the island’s presence is constant, as a refuge and a place to grow and start afresh.’ – Alison Bell