Mal’s latest novel is based on real-life local story

A KNAPHILL author’s latest book has received glowing reviews.

Mal Foster describes Jude & Bliss, his fourth novel, as “historical fiction”.

“I’ve been sitting on the concept of writing it since the summer of 1994, when I first discovered the real-life tale of a young girl from Surrey who was tragically wronged by her employer towards the end of the 19th century,” Mal said. “It somehow stuck, so much so that this was the novel I always going to write.”

NEW CHAPTER – Mal Foster with his latest novel, which has been well received

Readers have certainly taken to the story, which has attracted a series of five-star reviews on Amazon. “The feedback has been brilliant,” Mal said.

Jude & Bliss relates the experiences of Jude Rogers, a wide-eyed but vulnerable 16-year-old who in 1896 secures a position as a domestic servant at a large house in Half Moon Street, near Piccadilly, in London. After a brief settling-in period, she quickly realises everything is not quite as it seems.

“In the synopsis I did say that the book is not for the faint-hearted, but that’s really because of the descriptions of an autopsy,” Mal said. “It’s not a spoiler to say that there is a death in the book.

“I spent a lot of time reading through reports of Victorian autopsies, and they were so graphic I had to tone them down for the book. 

“Research is important to me, and I enjoy that part of the process.”

Mal has drawn widely on local events and locations for his previous novels, including Brookwood Hospital in his first book, The Asylum Soul, published in 2015.

Previously, he had concentrated on writing poetry, a talent he revealed at school before having to leave at 15 to help support his single mother and younger brother.

He soon had his poetry published, although the greatest accolade came in2007 when his most widely read poem, The Wedding, was published in the Australian Secondary Schools anthology Poetry Unlocked, which was part of the country’s English Literature exam curriculum for that year.

“I always thought that was quite amusing, considering I left school before gaining any formal qualifications myself,” Mal said. 

Jude & Bliss is available in paperback and Kindle formats from Amazon.co.uk. It can also be ordered through bookshops. For more information on the author, visit www.malfoster.co.uk.

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