And Nothing But the TruthBE MY LOVE
This novel, intended to be called SO HELP ME, GOD is a companion volume to THE WHOLE TRUTH and AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH. BE MY LOVE is a much better title because it is a teenaged love story, and therefore suitable for slightly older readers than my other books - about grade six and up. Readers of the first two books will recognize many characters from them. The new novel, however, is set thirteen years later in 1951, when Polly and Maud are adults. Unlike the first two books, which should be read in order, the third book can be read independently.

The main character of BE MY LOVE is 14-year-old Maisie, the daughter of Gregor and Sadie. At the beginning of the novel she is looking forward to returning to Kingfisher Island, where she spends every summer with her beloved grandparents. Most of all she is eager to see Una, Maud’s daughter, who is only a few months older. Maisie and Una, who are distant cousins, have always been best friends.

This summer, however, Maisie is shocked to discover that Una has suddenly turned into a glamorous teenager, whereas she, Maisie, has never been interested in girly things. When a boy called David arrives on the island and Una falls in love with him, Maisie is disturbed and confused about how jealous she is. After she does something terrible that could jeopardize their friendship forever, she begins to realize that she is in love with Una herself.

Maisie’s other problem is her father, Gregor, who has returned from World War II in a deep depression which has recently resulted in a complete breakdown. When Maisie’s parents arrive on the island she has to cope with her father’s anguish as well as her own.

About this novel:
I have always wanted to write about a girl who realizes she is a lesbian. When I was a teenager in the mid-sixties, I barely realized that I was attracted to girls, and there were no role models or books to reassure me. Maisie, who is not me, is much more aware of her feelings than I was; but 1951 was an even more repressed time. Homosexuality was illegal for men and, for women, being a lesbian (a word which wasn’t even used until later) was seen as being abnormal.

Men like Gregor who were psychologically affected by World War II were described as having “battle fatigue”. My father fought in the second war; for years he had nightmares about it, and his best friend once told me that it completely changed his personality. Although he was less severely affected than Gregor, his experience gave me the idea to have Maisie’s father come back from the war a different man.

It was a huge pleasure to once again set this story on “Kingfisher Island” - really Mayne Island with a few geographical changes. My partner Katherine and I had a house there for many years, which we sold in 2017. Writing about this beautiful place made me feel as if we still had a foothold there.