Spring 1540
- I am afraid. Mother, if I can free you, will you flee with me?

Set in a real place and based around a real story, this Tudor novel follows the fortunes of Eleanor Hungerford as she struggles to free her mother from a four year imprisonment in a tower of their castle home.

Farleigh Hungerford Castle is in Wiltshire and is now in the hands of English Heritage. But in the mid 1500s it was owned by the Hungerford family. Sir Walter Hungerford was a descendant of a turbulent, ruthless and powerful family. The castle was only part of an enormous estate. He was also a close friend of Thomas Cromwell – less famous than Oliver Cromwell, but still a very important man in his day.

The story that unfolded at Farleigh Castle is complex and had much to do with politics and power. There is also a question mark over Sir Walter Hungerford’s sanity. There was enough that was not known to make me want to weave my own story around this adventure. To this end, Eleanor, Lord Stanton, Gregory Hungerford and Lady Jane and her husband are all invented characters. There was no tournament at Farleigh Castle at that time to my knowledge and neither do I think that Henry VIII visited in 1540. Cromwell’s regular presence is certain though. And the central story of Lady Elizabeth’s imprisonment, Sir Walter’s ultimate fate are all based as closely as possible on documented events. So are some of the minor characters: Little Walter, the Chaplain for example.

The Lady in the Tower is published by the Oxford University Press and was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2009.

 Read a review of The Lady in the Tower at