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About Deborah Swift
THANK YOU for visiting my author page! As you read this I'll probably be writing from my tall stone house which was once a school and built in 1902. This is a house that is "new" in English terms, as many of our local villages date back to the 1630's or even earlier.
I write historical fiction, a genre I love. I loved the Victorian classics such as Jane Eyre, Little Women, Lorna Doone and Wuthering Heights. As I child I loved to read and when I had read my own library books, I used to borrow my mother's library copies of Anya Seton and Daphne du Maurier. I have loved reading historical novels ever since; though I'm a bookaholic and I read widely - contemporary and classic fiction as well as historicals.
In the past I used to work as a set and costume designer for theatre and TV, so I enjoy the research aspect of creating historical fiction, something I loved doing as a scenographer. Each book takes about six months of research before I am ready to begin writing. More details of my research and writing process can be found on my website. I like to write about extraordinary characters set against the background of real historical events.
I live in North Lancashire on the edge of the Lake District, a beautiful area made famous by the Romantic Poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge. I love exploring the mountainous landscapes and interesting coastline near my home.
'Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly recommended. ' The Historical Novels Review.
Visit my website for a free story,
The Lady's Slipper (shortlisted for the Impress Prize)
The Gilded Lily
A Divided Inheritance
The Cipher Room
The Pepys Trilogy:
Pleasing Mr Pepys
A Plague on Mr Pepys
Entertaining Mr Pepys
The Italian Renaissance Quartet:
The Poison Keeper
The Silkworm Keeper
The Fortune Keeper
(Book 4 coming soon)
The Highway Trilogy for Adults/Young Adults:
Shadow on the Highway
Spirit of the Highway
Lady of the Highway
The Darkest Hour - Tales of WW2 Resistance
We All Fall Down - Stories of Courage and Resilience in the Great plague
Find me on my website www.deborahswift.com
or on Twitter @swiftstory
or facebook - authordeborahswift
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Titles By Deborah Swift
Count your nights by stars, not by shadows ~ Italian Proverb
Winter in Venice
Mia Caiozzi is determined to discover her destiny by studying the science of astronomy. But her stepmother Giulia forbids her to engage in this dangerous occupation, fearing it will lead her into trouble. The ideas of Galileo are banned by the Inquisition, so Mia must study in secret.
Giulia insists Mia should live quietly out of public view. If not, it could threaten them all. Giulia's real name is Giulia Tofana, renowned for her poison Aqua Tofana, and she is in hiding from the Duke de Verdi's family who are intent on revenge for the death of their brother. But Mia doesn't know this, and rebels against Giulia, determined to go her own way.
When the two secret lives collide, it has far-reaching and fatal consequences that will change both their lives forever.
Set amongst opulent palazzos and shimmering canals, The Fortune Keeper is the third novel of adventure and romance based on the life and legend of Giulia Tofana.
'Swift has an almost visceral understanding of what makes history worth reading, and she is also the perfect tour-guide to take her readers on a trip back in time to a dangerous past ... a must-read for fans of quality Historical Fiction.' Coffee Pot Book Club ★★★★★
An enthralling historical novel of Renaissance Italy
Aqua Tofana – One drop to heal. Three drops to kill.
Giulia Tofana longs for more responsibility in her mother’s apothecary business, but Mamma has always been secretive and refuses to tell her the hidden keys to her success. But the day Mamma is arrested for the poisoning of the powerful Duke de Verdi, Giulia is shocked to uncover the darker side of her trade.
Giulia must run for her life, and escapes to Naples, under the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, to the home of her Aunt Isabetta, a famous courtesan. But when Giulia hears that her mother has been executed, and the cruel manner of her death, she swears she will wreak revenge on the Duke de Verdi.
The trouble is, Naples is in the grip of Domenico, the Duke’s brother, who controls the city with the ‘Camorra’, the mafia. Worse, her Aunt Isabetta, under his thrall, insists that she should be consort to him.
Based on the legendary life of Giulia Tofana, this is a story of hidden family secrets, and how courage and love can overcome vengeance.
'Her characters are so real they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf' Historical Novel Society
Old sins have long shadows ~ Italian Proverb
Giulia Tofana never wanted to be a nun, but she is determined to atone for her past misdeeds by making her new monastery a success.
When an unexpected disaster closes the convent, Giulia is forced to turn to her old friend Fabio Pasello for help. Giulia still has intense feelings for Fabio and Fabio’s passion for her has never diminished.
But they are not the same people they were before. Giulia has taken her vows, and Fabio is apprenticed to Gianlorenzo Bernini the famous sculptor, and has become one of Bernini’s rakish libertines. They could not be further apart.
To add to their problems, Giulia cannot escape her reputation as a poisoner, and is soon embroiled in a plot against Fabio’s patron, Pope Urban VIII. Faced with the idea of murder, will Giulia renounce her vows or embrace them?
Inspired by true stories, this is a novel of nuns and courtesans, artists and priests, in the shadow and splendour of the Eternal City.
'Swift is a consummate historical novelist, basing her books on immaculate research and then filling the gaps between real events and real people with eloquent storytelling, atmospheric scene setting and imaginative plot lines.' - The Visitor
'a classy, compelling adventure story and a true journey of discovery.' -- Lancashire Evening Post
Genteel Englishwoman Elspet Leviston has always managed her father's lace business and expects to continue in his footsteps. So when her hot-headed cousin Zachary Deane appears from nowhere, his arrival in her life is like an earthquake.
Zachary has no love at all for Leviston's Lace, and when her father dies unexpectedly, Elspet is horrified to find her inheritance is tied to her cousin's and her house belongs to him. But by now, Zachary has gone on a Grand Tour, and he is in Spain. Determined to regain her rightful inheritance, she must leave her beloved England and go to Seville in search of him.
Zachary is in training at the sword school of the charismatic Senor Alvarez, and here, in the searing heat and dust of Spain, Elspet's real journey begins. A journey that throws her into one of the most turbulent moments of Spain's history, and leads her to question everything she has ever known about her country, her faith and herself.
Epic historical fiction set in 17th Century London and Golden Age Spain.
'I was thoroughly gripped until the end of this exhilarating book. And I would highly recommend this swashbuckling tale of lace, swordsmen, Spanish dancing, spice and romance if you enjoy a historical novel with a difference' - Sixtyplussurfers magazine
Reading Group questions and historical notes in the back of the book.
Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, Anne O'Brien and Elizabeth Chadwick, Deborah Swift brings a unique period in history to vivid, fascinating life in her acclaimed Pepys trilogy.
'A remarkably beguiling read. It transported me to the glitter and filth of seventeenth century London' MARTINE BAILEY, author of The Almanack
'The fusion of historical facts and fiction is so flawless that it is hard to know where reality ends and fiction begins' READERS' FAVORITE
*The third in Deborah Swift's atmospheric trilogy, bringing to life the women in Pepys' Diary. The books can be read in any order as each stands alone.*
Elizabeth 'Bird' Carpenter has a wonderful singing voice, and music is her chief passion. When her father persuades her to marry horse-dealer Christopher Knepp, she suspects she is marrying beneath her station, but nothing prepares her for the reality of life with Knepp. Her father has betrayed her trust, for Knepp cares only for his horses; he is a tyrant and a bully, and will allow Bird no life of her own.
When Knepp goes away, she grasps her chance and, encouraged by her maidservant Livvy, makes a secret visit to the theatre. Entranced by the music, the glitter and glamour of the surroundings, and the free and outspoken manner of the women on the stage, she falls in love with the theatre and is determined to forge a path of her own as an actress.
But life in the theatre was never going to be straightforward - for a jealous rival wants to spoil her plans, and worse, Knepp forbids it, and Bird must use all her wit and intelligence to change his mind.
Based on events depicted in the famous Diary of Samuel Pepys, Entertaining Mr Pepys brings London in the 17th Century to life. It includes the vibrant characters of the day such as the diarist himself and actress Nell Gwynne, and features a dazzling and gripping finale during the Great Fire Of London.
Praise for Deborah's INSANELY ATMOSPHERIC PEPYS trilogy:
'What a delightful read. Full of historical detail and charm but also a great sense of character. A heroine with true grit and perseverance in the face of life's adversities' ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'Entertaining Mr Pepys is a remarkable read. It transported me to the glitter and filth of seventeenth century London and Pepys famous diaries. The historical facts have been well researched that it is hard to know where reality ends and fiction begins' ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'LOVED this book!! The characters practically leaped off the page, they were so well-drawn. True test of a great book: could not put it down' ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'Swift is a consummate historical novelist, basing her books on immaculate research and then filling the gaps between real events a
Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, Anne O'Brien and Elizabeth Chadwick, Deborah Swift brings a unique period in history to vivid, fascinating life in her acclaimed Pepys trilogy.
'Laced with emotional intensity and drama, Pleasing Mr Pepys . . . (has) an intricate plot that features red herrings, unexpected twists, and surprises that will take readers on a very delightful ride' Readers' Favorite
'Deb Willet, Elizabeth Pepys's maid and the object of Samuel Pepys's attentions, is finally given centre-stage after 350 years, and her tale was worth waiting for. This is exceptional story-telling' L. C. TYLER
From acclaimed historical novelist Deborah Swift, Pleasing Mr Pepys is the story of diarist Samuel Pepys' London, vibrantly told through the eyes of his maid.
Deb Willet is desperate to escape her domineering aunt and takes a position as companion to Elisabeth Pepys, Samuel's wife. Deb believes it will give her the respectability and freedom she craves - but it proves far more complicated than she could ever have imagined.
London is still in ruins from the Great Fire. Although Charles II has been restored to the throne, there is the prospect of war with the Dutch - the world's great sea power of the era. In the midst of this tumult strides Samuel Pepys, diarist and man of note.
Pepys' influence in Restoration London means that the Dutch are keen to get their hands on his secrets - even if that means murder, espionage and blackmail to get them. Deb is soon caught up in a web of deception and double-dealing. And with Mr Pepys' attentions turned towards her, there's a lot more than treason at stake...
Selling other people's secrets is a dangerous game...
Readers can't get enough of Deborah's VIBRANT and IMMERSIVE tales:
'Deborah Swift has produced a remarkable work of historical fiction . . . Swift spins an excellent tale. The characters, too are just fabulous and utterly believable' ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'Having read all Deborah Swift's novels, this is her usual, beautifully atmospheric rendition of an interesting time in 17th century England' ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'What an excellent novel! Superb story telling . . . I highly recommend Pleasing Mr Pepys and very much look forward to a sequel' ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'This book is an exciting thriller, a real page turner. I read it in a couple of days I was so absorbed in the development of the plot . . . Go out and buy it' ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Don't miss Deborah Swift's other enthralling tales of Samuel Pepys - A Plague of Mr Pepys and Entertaining Mr Pepys - OUT NOW!
Shortlisted for the Impress Prize
When artist Alice Ibbetson discovers a rare orchid, the lady's-slipper, growing in a nearby wood, she is captivated by its beauty. It is the last surviving specimen and she wants to preserve it for future generations.
There is only one problem - it is growing on the land of Richard Wheeler, a newly-converted Quaker, who will not allow her to touch it.
Fearing for the flower's fragility, she steals the orchid, little dreaming that this seemingly simple act will set off an unstoppable chain of events - a web of intrigue that will lead to murder and exile, and change her comfortable life forever.
Set in an England riven by civil war and divided loyalties the novel explores the nature of faith, and who should control the land we all inhabit.
"It is a genuinely engrossing story, with characters you can get interested in." --The Mum website
One woman’s secret war against the Nazis. One man’s war against himself…
When Nazi forces occupy Jersey in the English Channel Islands, Céline Huber, who is married to a German, must decide where her loyalty lies.
Love for her island, and fear for her Jewish friend Rachel, soon propel her into a dangerous double life.
Meanwhile, Céline’s husband Fred is conscripted into the Wehrmacht in occupied France.
Horrified by Nazi acts of atrocity and torture, he soon becomes a double agent for the French Resistance.
But when things go wrong, and his Nazi masters discover his true allegiance, he finds he has the whole of the German Army on his tail.
How far will Céline go for her best friend? Will Fred make his way home to her?
Or will their lives be changed forever by the brutality of war?
THE OCCUPATION is a moving war & military saga following the separate stories of a young man and woman through the years of the Second World War as they fight to survive.
In her short life Sadie Appleby has never left rural Westmorland. But one night she is rudely awoken by her older and bolder sister, Ella. She has robbed her employer and is on the run.
Together the girls flee their home and head for London, hoping to lose themselves in the teeming city. But the dead man's relatives are in pursuit, and soon a game of cat and mouse ensues amongst the freezing warren that is London in winter.
Ella is soon seduced by the glitter and glamour of city life and sets her sights on the flamboyant man-about-town, Jay Whitgift, owner of a beauty parlour for the wives of the London gentry.
But nothing in the capital is what it seems, least of all Jay Whitgift. Soon a rift has formed between Ella and Sadie, and the sisters are threatened by a menace more sinister than even the law.
Set in a brilliantly realised Restoration London, The Gilded Lily is a novel about beauty and desire, about the stories we tell ourselves, and about how sisterhood can be both a burden and a saving grace.
"It's hard to say why you find a novel unputdownable, but I've just spent about 4 hours curled up with the second half, and there was no way I was not going to finish it today!"
"The story line, like a meandering river, was full of unexpected twists and turns which enchanted me and made it very hard to put down."
"Brilliant. a cracking good read couldn't put it down, exciting from beginning to end the author really brought the characters to life."
"I enjoyed this one particularly as it has a different and engaging storyline. It was another book I couldn't put down...read in a day and enjoyed the characters and storline immensely."
Some memories fade, some refuse to let you go…
1945, Carnforth, England
Young sweethearts Rhoda and Peter were torn apart by the outbreak of the Second World War. Though engaged to be married, their plans were interrupted when Peter enlisted, only to be captured by the German army and interred in a prisoner-of-war camp.
Left at home and with only sporadic news from Peter, Rhoda has spent years apart from her fiancé, with no guarantees that he will return home.
When a film crew arrives to capture the iconic scenes for David Lean’s Brief Encounter, Rhoda finds herself caught up in a love affair of her own…
Ten years later, Rhoda and Peter are married, but their relationship is hanging by a thread.
What secrets have they hidden from each other over the years? How did Peter manage to survive the brutal war years? And did Rhoda ever get over the man who captured her heart…?
As they both reflect on their past encounters they have to decide if they can ever rebuild a relationship which was shattered by the war…
PAST ENCOUNTERS is a thrilling war & military saga encompassing the atmospheric filming of Brief Encounter and the extraordinary Great March of prisoners of war through snow-bound Germany. It is a historical survivor story of friendship, hope, and how in the end, it is the small things that enable love to survive.
'a beautifully written and thought-provoking story, an imaginative and emotive way to celebrate a fascinating slice of history' Lancashire Evening Post
‘a genuine joy to read with an intoxicating, old-fashioned feel about it...Highly compelling historical fiction and a genuine page-turner, Past Encounters is recommended without reservation.' Book Viral
'a compelling story about love and heartache and forgiveness and war' Library Educated Blog
'for lovers of history and drama this is a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon' Bookgeeks
'It really makes you think about the relationships you have in real life and the choices you make. This story really hit home for me and gave me a lot to think about... Highly recommend' Layered Pages Blog
'I don't think I have read any war-time stories quite like this one... full of tension with well-drawn characters and a great sense of time and place' Books Please
'an enticing story of the endurance of the human spirit, the hunger for love and appreciation, and how secrets can fester and tear people away from each other... I highly recommend this to any lover of WWII history' Historical Tapestry Blog
'a brilliant exploration of the psychological effects of war and their lasting impact' Flashlight Commentary Blog
'Her writing style invited the reader into another world that I was totally immersed in . . .
From the heart of Norway to Shetland in Scotland, one couple fight to overthrow the Nazis…
1942, Nazi-occupied Norway
Schoolteacher Astrid Dahl has always kept out of trouble. But when she is told to teach the fascist Nazi curriculum, she refuses and starts a teacher’s rebellion, persuading eight thousand teachers to go on strike.
The Germans arrest her, and terrified of what punishment her trial might bring, she is forced to go into hiding.
Astrid's boyfriend, Jørgen Nystrøm, has joined the Norwegian Resistance. When his cover is blown he escapes to Shetland where he is taken on as crew for the Shetland Bus; a dangerous clandestine operation of small fishing boats that supply arms and intelligence to war-torn Norway.
In Shetland, hearing Astrid is in trouble, Jørgen sets off through enemy waters to meet her.
But the Nazis have a spy on Shetland and have been tipped off about the Shetland Bus.
With the enemy in pursuit from both directions, will Astrid and Jørgen be able to find each other?
Or will they be separated forever by the brutal Nazi regime?
THE LIFELINE is a moving war & military saga following the separate stories of a young man and woman through the years of the Second World War as they fight for freedom in Norway and the Shetland Islands in Scotland.
England is engaged in a bitter civil war. Abigail Chaplin, a young deaf girl, is desperate for a chance to show she can work as a maidservant, like other girls her age.
When her father is killed fighting for the Roundheads, and with her family now short of money, she is sent to work where no-one else will – as a servant in the house of her enemies. For Markyate Manor belongs to arrogant sixteen-year-old heiress and Royalist, Lady Katherine Fanshawe.
Katherine has a deadly secret, and Abi swears not to tell. But when Katherine falls for Abi’s brother, a Roundhead, Abi finds her loyalties torn. And as the battle begins, can she keep both her mistress and her brother out of danger?
This is the first book in The Highway Trilogy for young adults (and adults!) based on the life and legend of the real Lady Katherine Fanshawe, the heiress and highwaywoman.
‘Casts a spell over us with her fabulous prose, thrilling narrative and period detail’
– Carol McGrath