It tells the story of Janey, a lonely single mum who stumbles into an art workshop class one evening. She can’t believe it when her left hand mysteriously scribbles a picture of two little girls, and a strange message from someone calling herself ‘Hattie.’
Hattie was the name of Janey’s childhood best friend, but she hasn’t seen her since they were twelve. Hattie’s family left Edinburgh suddenly following a series of unexplained events at their home, an imposing Georgian town house that still features in Janey’s nightmares.
Janey’s instincts tell her that she must finally find out what happened to Hattie, but her life is already complicated enough: she’s struggling with motherhood, a custody battle over her toddler son Pip is looming, and she finds herself falling for intense art tutor Steve. And when writing appears on the walls of her flat, and Pip starts playing with a mysterious invisible friend, Janey fears she’s losing her mind. Is it really a good idea to go digging up the past? As dark secrets come to light, she can’t be sure what’s real any more – or who to trust.
The Last Day I Saw Her has taken me in a new direction as a writer. Where my first novel, Tiny Acts of Love was a funny-but-serious story about motherhood and marriage, this time I wanted to write a book centred around a mystery, with a darker, more suspenseful feel.
My own life has taken a different turn, too, since writing Tiny Acts of Love. Back then I was a stay-at-home mum, writing in my spare time between changing nappies and school runs. Now I’ve returned to practising law after a six year break, and I’m a single parent juggling work, motherhood, writing and other challenges.
Beneath the mystery plot, The Last Day I Saw Her is a story about friendship. About how there are some people – perhaps just one or two in the course of a lifetime - who can help you to find yourself when you’re lost, and help you to become the person you’re meant to be.
I’ve been lucky enough to have some wonderful friends through my life. Beloved childhood friends, kindred spirits who've I've met through studying or work or motherhood, and creative friends who’ve supported me on this writing journey of mine.
And there are one or two whom I simply couldn’t have managed without, over the last couple of years, who have believed in me more than I have believed in myself.
So this book - about darkness and light, about the pull of past and future, and the redemptive power of friendship – is for you. I couldn’t have done it without you.