First-time Denmead author uses village's bluebell haven as book's backdrop

A MUCH-LOVED area of woodland that houses '˜a magical carpet of bluebells' is the backdrop for one woman's first novel.

Tuesday, 6th March 2018, 5:00 am
Author Linda Franklin at her Denmead home proudly displaying her first book Mulberry Cottage Picture: Malcolm Wells (180305-9117)

Linda Franklin, from Denmead, used the serene but eerie nature of the village’s woodland as inspiration for her newly-published suspense-thriller, Mulberry Cottage.

According to the 68-year-old the area, near Denmead allotments, is loved by dog walkers and features as part of the popular Wayfarers Walk route that runs through Hampshire.

Linda, who used to work in marketing, said: ‘I visit the woodland a lot.

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Linda Franklin's dog Bentley at the bluebell woods in Denmead that inspired her novel

‘What made me want to write the book is the way the atmosphere in there changes – on any given day it can go from being really beautiful and peaceful, to stormy and eerie.

‘There’s a magical carpet of bluebells there and you get such a serene feeling when you visit, but there’s a lot of trees that haven’t fallen but are resting on each other – so if it’s windy it’s really spooky.

‘I’ve wanted to write a book ever since I was a child, so I thought what better place to put the fictional Mulberry Cottage.’

The novel, available now on Amazon Kindle, sees a divorced woman named Maggie seek a new life at pretty-looking Mulberry Cottage – but all is not what it seems.

Linda Franklin's dog Bentley at the bluebell woods in Denmead that inspired her novel

With twists, turns, and a murder plot to keep readers on their toes, Linda said she drew on many of her own experiences to write the book.

The retired mother-of-two, who started writing the book in December 2016, added: ‘The story is about a marriage break-up, abuse, close friendships – I see a lot of myself in the character.

‘Things that have happened to me are in the book, like spooky experiences, but it’s also very fictitious.

‘I definitely feel like I’ve accomplished something, I’ve sold 120 copies so far and reviewers have been really kind.

‘I originally hoped for at least 25 sales, but now I’d love to make it to 200, and because of all the positive feedback I’ve started writing a sequel.’

After giving Linda a rating of five stars on Amazon, Pauline Jones said: ‘I purchased this book expecting an easy lightweight read.

‘I was riveted from beginning to end, twists and turns all over. Brilliant.

‘Definitely looking forward to a sequel.’

Carol Rickwood, who also rated the novel five stars, added: ‘I really enjoyed reading Mulberry Cottage.

‘It was very descriptive and atmospheric, making it easy to form a picture of the cottage and its surroundings.’

The book is available on Amazon for £0.99p.