If you follow Lake District Gems on a regular basis, you may remember that last year I wrote a post featuring novels based in the Lake District, or which have a strong Lake District connection.
You sent me lots of further suggestions on social media for novels based in the Lakes and Cumbria (perhaps I’ll write a further post sometime soon!), and many sounded so good that I’ve since made time to read a few…
Judith Wants to be Your Friend is the debut novel of Appleby-based author Annie Weir, who last week gave a talk to local membership organisation, the Lakeland Businesswomen’s Network. I love hearing an author talk about their novel and the inspiration behind the story and characters they create, so of course, I had to read it before hearing Annie talk! (I won’t give too much away here about the plot, so don’t worry if you haven’t read it yet – there’s no need for a spoiler alert!)
Annie describes her book as a psychological thriller, and the central character is 36-year-old Judith, who struggles to fit in socially, and uses rather unusual techniques to befriend a new acquaintance called Joanna. The narrative switches between the first person (in the present) in Carlisle, and the third person (in Judith’s past) in Hexham. The technique works really well as you become increasingly immersed in the story. All seems to be going well with Judith’s plans, until her past starts to catch up with her…
From the first page, the reader knows that something terrible has occurred or will happen, and the story becomes more and more addictive as you try to piece together exactly what and when that will be – and why. But I won’t reveal any more – you’ll just have to get a copy for yourself!
Although the book isn’t set in the Lake District itself, I know that many of this blog’s readers will have visited Carlisle which, for those less familiar with the area, is in the north of Cumbria. Apparently some of Annie’s readers have commented on the detail with which she describes aspects of the city, and this seems to go down really well. The story is very atmospheric, and I found that once I started to read the novel I couldn’t stop, and I must have devoured it within the space of three days!
I was quite surprised to learn that the book was self-published – Annie achieved this through Matador, which is part of Troubador Publishing. It’s really well presented, achieving impressive numbers on several of Amazon’s best-seller lists – I would highly recommend you add it to your reading list this summer. If you’d like to read a bit more about it, take a look at the book’s profile on the Troubador website. I felt a little lost after I’d finished reading Judith, which to me is always the sign of a good book! The only question I have now is, will Annie be writing any more?!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to read more about other novels based in the Lake District and Cumbria.
Have you read any novels with a Lake District or Cumbrian connection? I’d love to hear your comments! Leave your recommendations for other readers of Lake District Gems by posting a comment below.