Sandra Danby: Guest post

Sandra Danby


Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.

Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?

This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain.

A family mystery for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore.


The Spanish Connection
Like Justine Tree, the protagonist of my new novel Connectedness, I left home and moved to Spain. Anyone who has ever lived in a foreign country is aware of that initial wave of euphoria; 80% excitement combined with 20% panic. The first phase is full of strangeness. Not just the simple things – the sounds and language spoken around you, the geography of finding your way around, the food and how it is served – but the sky above, the scents which fill your head with the exotic images, and the colours.

Connectedness is about an art student studying abroad for a year in the Eighties. While she is in Málaga, things happen to Justine Tree that change the course of her life. Our life in Andalucía was invaluable in helping me imagine Justine’s world. We fell in love with Spain and decided to find a home in Andalucía. We experienced a mix of adventure, alienation and experimentation. The people are so friendly. We live in a small village – we are the only ‘English’ in the village – and people are unfailingly helpful and forgiving of our muddled spoken Spanish. A cup of coffee is a social ritual, as is the swapping of vegetables. My blog ‘Notes on a Spanish Valley’ tells of our life in the countryside: the nature, the birds, growing our own vegetables, farming olives, and speaking Spanish.

I took a weekly conversation class in Spanish back at home in England, but Justine slowly learns Spanish in a practical sense, day to day, helped by her friends. Spain is an assault on Justine’s senses. Not just the heat and the blue sky; the Moorish design influence surrounds her, from the decorative ceramic tiles to intricate vaulted muqarna ceilings, horseshoe arches and numerous gardens with fountains. Her artistic imagination soars.

About the ‘Identity Detective’ series
Rose Haldane reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother and her longing to see her baby again. Sweet Joy, the third novel, will tell the story of a baby abandoned during The Blitz.

Author Bio
Sandra Danby is a proud Yorkshire woman, tennis nut and tea drinker. She believes a walk on the beach will cure most ills. Unlike Rose Haldane, the identity detective in her two novels, Ignoring Gravity and Connectedness, Sandra is not adopted.

Author Links
‘Connectedness’ at Amazon:
‘Ignoring Gravity’ at Amazon
Author website:


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