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Emily Bullock

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Member Since: Apr, 2009

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The Separate Principle
by Emily Bullock   

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Literary Fiction

ISBN-10:  1849230943 Type: 


Copyright:  Dec 2008 ISBN-13:  9781849230940

Set in the shadow of the Second World War, 'The Separate Principle', is the haunting story of Lillian, Leonard and Freddie confined to a tuberculosis hospital on the Isle of Wight. The narrative from their three very different perspectives gathers palpable tension to reveal the full extent of what happened behind those closed walls. Secrets and lies ready to be blown apart by the declaration of war.

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Set in the build up to the war, that no one thought would happen, 1938 to 1939 unravels before Lillian and her husband Leonard. Posted to a tuberculosis hospital on the Isle of Wight they bring with them the tragedy of their son's death.

The hospital runs on The Separate Principle, and it turns into an infection that dominates them. Desperate to find the happiness they could never find in each other Lillian turns to an old affair and her lover's young son Freddie, a patient at the hospital. Leonard finds comfort in a new friendship but it can never last.

Leading their separate lives Lillian, Leonard, and Freddie are thrown onto a collision course. What begins as the chance for a new start and a fresh snatch at happiness turns into a bitter battle for freedom. Secrets and lies ready to be blown apart by the declaration of war.

Professional Reviews
In these troubled economic times, it’s difficult for many publishers to take risks. It’s particularly difficult for many in the book industry to put their weight (and money) behind new, untested writers, especially when their style or topic is more than a little off the beaten track. Which is why I’m particularly grateful to YouWriteOn for running its unprecedented 5,000-book free publishing scheme and giving the work of promising new writers such as Emily Bullock a chance to see the light.

Set in a tuberculosis hospital on the Isle of Wight just before the start of the Second World War, The Separate Principle was never going to be an easy one to pitch. Add to this a gay love affair between two of the central characters and you have a book that is decidedly not mainstream.

And thank God for that. While bookshop shelves are groaning with yet more trauma narratives and the ghost-written biographies of gurning celebrities, this compelling and haunting exploration of the poisonous power of secrets comes as a breath of fresh air. Minutely observed and crafted, this shocking portrayal of the unravelling of a community will draw readers into the world of the cornered and embittered Lillian, trapped by society’s expectations, the past and her own decisions into a marriage with a man she does not love.

Weaving flawless historical detail and the louring power of her setting together, Bullock creates an absorbing and terrifying universe, which will stay with you long after you close the book. Bring on novel number two.

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