Poetry and the chemistry of love blend in Joughin's new novel set in contemporary London and 1960s Norfolk about a young girl's obsession with a man she can never have. When Ruth and Gray meet as children while their parents play at being adults in a rackety old Bohemian house, an electricity passes between them that neither will ever forget. Their paths soon separate as Gray moves to Paris with his girlfriend, and Ruth finds Liam, a sensible and long-suffering friend with whom she falls in love. But Ruth's eccentric upbringing lingers into adulthood - affected by her old Aunt Jane's passion for poetry, Ruth embarks on a comprehensive book of Twentieth Century poets' lives. Soon, Ruth's thoughts become haunted by the lives of the poets and dreamers she writes about, as the self-destructive talents of Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and Philip Larkin begin to influence her in unexpected ways. Until one day, she meets Gray, and their historic chemistry is fired up once again. Sheena Joughin's contagious love of poetry and eccentricity is couched in stylistic and erotic prose.
Her exquisite sense of place and comic eye are prime ingredients in this page-turning novel full of elegance and humanity.
Sheena Joughin has twice been the winner of the London Short Story Competition. She lives in west London with her son.