By the bestselling author of The Drowning People
Joan McAllistair is about to embark on the 'Trip of a Lifetime' with her daughter Eloise; a journey back to her childhood South Africa and the family homestead in the old Boer Republic of the Orange Free State. For Eloise, a successful hedge fund manager, the trip is partly a gift, partly a means of assuaging the guilt she feels at moving her mother from her own flat to an expensive care home.
Joan has not visited the country since she was twenty-two but the chance discovery of her grandmother's journal transports her to the troubled times of the Anglo-Boer war. Eloise, in the meantime, has gambled her company's entire fortune on a promise made by an old lover - a scientist whose life's work has been stalled by a broken heart.
As their stories unravel and Joan is faced with the prospect of being surrounded by strangers who do not understand her, she takes increasing refuge in the landscape of her mind - in journeys to her own past. She also finds an unexpected friend in a lonely teenager who shares her fascination with history, in particular the haunting story of a young girl and boy who once lived in the home.
Moving between nineteenth-century England and South Africa, war-time Paris and London, The Lighted Rooms is a stunningly incisive and poignant novel about family, duty and the challenging world of the mind.
Richard Mason was born in South Africa in 1978 to activist parents who settled in England when he was ten. Brought up and educated here, he wrote his first novel, The Drowning People, whilst a nineteen-year-old at Oxford. In the intervening years, Richard finished his degree, then set up an educational charity in memory of his sister Kay, who died as a child. Under Desmond Tutu's patronage, the Kay Mason Foundation provides scholarships to disadvantaged South African children, paying for them to attend some of the country's best schools.