The Casilda Trilogy
Book 1: This is the End of the Story
Belief is Cassie’s gift, so much so that she believes herself to be whoever those in her life tell her she is — Cassie, Kat, Kitty, even Casilda, as Miriam insists, an 11th-century Muslim princess from Toledo who later became a Catholic saint. Bound together by Miriam’s extraordinary internal world, Cassie’s belief and an incident on a traumatic incident on a beach, Cassie’s loyalty only strains when an act of betrayal propels her towards Liam, also waiting to tell Cassie who she really is. But Cassie may be more resourceful than either Miriam or Liam imagine and when she eventually visits Toledo, tracking down places where Casilda might have walked, is this the end of the story?
Book 2: A Remedy for All Things
In the dream, she is not herself.
Belief is Catherine’s gift, or it was once, growing up in the shadow of an extraordinary friendship amongst a cacophony of voices trying to tell her who to be. Now, in her thirties, Catherine knows what she has lost and what she has survived. Her professional life is on course and she has a new relationship with Simon, a writer who shares her imaginative and creative worlds. But when Catherine arrives in Budapest in winter 1993 to begin researching a novel based on the poet, Attila József, she starts dreaming the life of a young woman imprisoned after the 1956 Uprising. More disconcertingly, by day this woman, Selene Virág, is with her, dreaming Catherine’s life just as she dreams Selene’s. Obsessed with uncovering the facts, Catherine discovers that Selene was a real person who lived through the persecution of Jews in Hungary during WW2, but what is most disorienting is that Selene believed Attila József to be the father of her daughter, Miriam, despite the fact that József committed suicide in December 1937, eighteen years before Miriam was born. How do the three lives of Catherine, Selene and Attila fit together?
Book 3: For Hope is Always Born
Epic and personal; strange and political; magical and true
What is the connection between the tenth century Moorish princess, Casilda, and a young Jewish woman, Miriam, completing a Masters degree in contemporary Toledo? What links both to the Spanish singer, Casilda Faertes and to her mother, another Miriam, born in Budapest and raised in Nice?
Spanning a thousand years and bringing together the stories of three generations of women in North-east England, Budapest and Spain, For Hope is Always Born, follows on from This is the End of the Story and A Remedy for All Things to ask huge questions about identity and the nature of love and loss.
Like Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi, what matters in For Hope is Always Born is not what is real but what is ‘true’, even when the truth seems impossible. Taking it’s cue from Don Quixote’s claim that “maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be” the story explores the impact on individuals and through generations when the personal and the political collide.