Published: 28/04/2017
ISBN: 9781788036306
eISBN: 9781788038294
Format: Paperback/eBook

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About the Author

I have been writing women's fiction for many years - publishing short stories both here in the UK and internationally in commercial magazines. Completing an M.A. in Creative Writing changed my focus a... read more

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Counting the Ways
by Jude Hayland

Grace Barnes, living in her subterranean one-room flat at the nether end of Earl’s Court, feels out of tune with striving, self-seeking 1980’s London. Meeting Archie Copeland, she is gratified to have found a man who shares her obsession for reading and seems more fascinated by Shelley than shifting share prices.

In Oxford, Hester, Grace’s mother, considers her estranged marriage to Fergus, who left her thirty years before to go and live on a remote Welsh hillside in pursuit of self-sufficiency. His subsequent appearance at Grace and Archie’s quiet wedding is a surprise and she finds it hard to quantify her feelings about him.

Soon, Grace is troubled by a distance in Archie, and a tendency to covert actions even though his faithfulness appears absolute. Moving to the countryside seems to offer relief, but the recession of the late 1980s impacts upon them both professionally and Grace is aware of a growing inadequacy in communication between the two of them as they struggle to talk openly. A spontaneous holiday on the Mediterranean island of Kronos provides a respite for them both and they begin to consider a permanent move away, but then Archie suddenly disappears. In the wake of this, Grace uncovers a trail of debts and increasing evidence of his duplicity. Remaining on Kronos, finding a job and friendship, Grace determines to find Archie. Hester is anxious to help, while Fergus is unexpectedly forthright in his attempts to assist. Archie, meanwhile, is forced to confront years of self-delusion.

In the shadow of Archie’s absence, Grace, Fergus and Hester find themselves facing the truth of their fractured relationships and considering how, so often, it has been the unspoken words rather than those uttered that have contributed towards conflict and separation. Counting the Ways explores the fears that shadow our lives – failure, loss, regret and mortality – and will appeal to fans of contemporary fiction. It also makes an ideal book group read.

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Hampshire County Libraries are buying a copy of COUNTING THE WAYS to be allocated to Winchester Discovery Centre lending library.


Female First

How did I feel about this book? Let me count the ways. First and foremost, I couldn't stop reading it. I cared about the characters and what happened to them. This book made me think. It made me feel. In other words it has everything that a good book should have. It's a book about love, love found and love lost, dissected and teased out with agonising precision, pared down to the bone with a delicacy and lightness of touch that belies its serious treatment of serious themes. I've read this author before, greatly enjoying her first book, Truth to Tell, and she seems to get better and better with each book. She has a wonderful style that makes her writing an absolute joy to read. I'm always pausing to reread felicitous phrases that delight me, so apt are they at delineating character or conjuring up powerful imagery that stays in the mind long after the book is put down. For instance, she compares Hester, whose marriage has been in limbo for over 30 years, to Penelope awaiting Ulysses, "Another infuriating man who really had taken an excessively long and circuitous route home." Or take this pithy comment upon growing older: "Advancing years for a single woman bear the taint of desperation as if she gives off pheromones of decay." There are many such phrases scattered throughout the novel, making it a rich and entertaining read. Like Shakespeare in The Tempest or Fowles in The Magus, Ms Hayland takes her characters and puts them on a magical island, a place of sun and warmth and fecundity. In their homes in Wales and England they suffer under rain and wind and snow and a general all-enveloping drab bleakness but, one way or another, they find Kronos, the home they choose, as one character explains, not the one they were born into, and, not to give away the well-wrought plot, a series of ends are tied up in a very satisfying way. There are so many layers to peel away in this book, it would indeed need a book club to do it justice. I loved it and can't wait for the next one. Jude Hayland is a very fine writer indeed.

by Linda Anderson

I have just started reading this book and absolutely love it! I am not usually a huge fan of novels but this one has restored my faith in the genre! I love the character observations and reflections on society as a whole - this in itself makes me want to read on. It's some time since I've put aside time to read (being a writer myself, I always feel guilty if reading isn't 'research background') but this book was good enough to justify me indulging myself for once! So thank you to the writer, Jude. Love your style, love the content. Will definitely spread the word on your behalf - very well deserved! Sue Russell

by Sue Russell

There are no fireworks in this carefully plotted and character driven novel of a family bit it's well worth a read. Grace and Hester and Fergus have long standing issues which seem insurmountable initially but which they work through as they assist Grace with the disappearance of Grace's husband Archie. The switch from the UK to Kronos is well handled; loved the details of the island setting. Archie's not evil but he was surely over his head; hiding things and then running away never solves a problem, it only turns up new ones. This is book in some ways about quiet desperation. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Two thumbs up.

by Kathleen Gray


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