First Look

Local writer publishes new novel about Mary Seacole

| 2016-06-17 00:00:00

Local writer Jay Margrave’s latest novel, Can her glory ever fade? A life of Mary Seacole, is to be published on July 4 to coincide with the erection of a statue of the famous ‘black nurse who went to the Crimea’ which is due to take place just five days before publication.

Jay will be signing copies of her books at Bartons Bookshop in Leatherhead on Saturday, July 9th, being the first of other book signings around the country.

Originally to be unveiled ‘in the spring’ the ceremony is now five weeks’ away.

Jay’s book is a ‘warts and all’ telling of the fantastic life of Mary Seacole. Told through the eyes of a young servant girl, Ratia, the story starts when she stows away in Mary’s trunk as Mrs Seacole is about to depart her home in Jamaica for the Panama. Ratia is young and wayward but soon matures and through her eyes we see how Mary Seacole uses charm and ‘good cheer’ to achieve her aims, one of which was to set up a ‘British Hotel’ in the Crimea.

In spite of Mary Seacole’s Jamaican origin, a stigma in 19th century London Society, she rose to be a friend to royalty, and became the talk of the town. How did she achieve such fame?  And how has her fame endured? This book shows how.

Not only did Jay write the 300-odd page historical novel, she also envisaged the design of the cover and worked with a cover designer to create it, based on an illustration of the real Mary, with a famous chef Alexis Soyer, who she met when they were both in the Crimea.

The book is available from Amazon, and direct from the publishers and priced £9.99


Jay Margrave is the writing pseudonym of local lawyer, Jennifer Margrave, who combines running her own legal firm with writing. Her love of history means she concentrates on historical fiction, and this is her fifth published novel. She occasionally writes travel books and has also collaborated in writing and editing legal tomes.

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