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Foolish Heroines

Longlisted for the Blue Pencil Agency

First Novel Award 2020

Best selling author Katherine Webb says: I was soon carried away by June's wonderfully rich prose, and the fascinating juxtaposition of the everyday with the wildly fantastic, the quotidian realities of family life and relationships with the extravagance of our hidden inner lives. It's a beautifully written, wonderfully bizarre exploration of middle age, long-term relationships and all the things we think but rarely say. 

A peep into the world of Foolish Heroines 

extract from Chapter 1


When Janina Reston touched Owen Reston's arm and her hand passed straight through it, it only confirmed what she'd suspected for some time - her partner was simply a figment of imagination. He wasn't really there at all. She wondered if he'd ever been real and, if so, whether he'd disappeared all in one go or whether it had happened gradually, bit by bit. She had an acquaintance whose husband had disappeared in the supermarket. One minute he was walking down the aisle between the cream crackers and the packs of lager, and the next he was gone. He'd undressed, leaving his clothes and shoes in a neat pile. Then he'd dived into the salty depths of a deep freezer amongst the cod and the new crabmeat fish cakes, never to be seen again, tossed about for infinity on the tides of consumer capitalism. Missing, presumed dead.

An extract from Chapter 11

It was when the repair man refused to come back with a new part for her malfunctioning tumble dryer in case he got bitten by some species of animal previously thought to be extinct (except in the swampier regions of the Venezuelan rainforest) that Lily had to accept that strange things were happening in her home.

           Some analysts of Czech literature hold the view that the distinctive internal architecture of Prague’s older buildings directly influenced the content of Kafka’s writing. With Lily’s home, an inverse relationship had developed. Her feverish writing had brought about concrete changes to the architecture of her house.

           One day, Lily got out the vacuum cleaner and realised that her gardening tools would now be more appropriate. The more she examined her home, the more peculiar it became, as if scrutinising it caused further metamorphoses. It was a while since she’d ventured into her dining room because she’d taken to eating her meals on a tray in front of the television. She opened the door and stepped in. Creepers crawled up the walls and over the ceiling, creating a green canopy and bestowing the room with a murky green twilight. The faint but unmistakable call of birds and animals came from the undergrowth that concealed the wall and window.

         Lily pushed her way through, stretching her hands out in front of her, reaching for the anticipated dining room wall. She took one, two, three steps and more. It appeared the dimensions of her house had altered – extended. The undergrowth gradually gave way, not to the solidity of brick covered by plaster but to an open grassy area. It was bounded on the far side by trees that looked as if they were the edges of a forest

You may have already noticed that a number of the non-human characters that inhabit the world of Foolish Heroines have also wandered into the website. But has anyone seen Amelia The First anywhere?

Janina was dazed. Now, her mother had loosened her moorings, widened the scope of her friendships and set off in a small boat into an ocean of choppy new beginnings. She visualised Zosia bobbing about on the waves. She was wearing a sou’wester and had a packed lunch – like the ones she’d made for Janina when she was a child. There was a slice of heavily symbolic lemon meringue pie in the Tupperware box along with some fish paste sandwiches and, to Janina’s surprise, two lamb samosas and a slightly overcooked vegetable pakora. Zosia had tucked her diary under her arm – her dreams having breached the night time floodgate and invaded her waking life. Janina felt like a child again, unreasonably and ridiculously like a little girl left on the beach as her mother bobbed away, on the outgoing tide.

You can buy Foolish Heroines from your local independent bookshop or order from Amazon, Waterstones or direct from

Valley Press

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