A review of Julia's book, Solstice, by Richard Khoe - one of her best friends, and only one of two people to read the book prior to its preparation for publishing, follows:
This is a special, intimate book. It's very rare that you get to see as much about someone as Julia reveals here.
One of the things I liked most about the book was the prose. It's tight, descriptive without being oppressively florid. There never seem to be wasted words, and there are some beautiful descriptions that are like rays of light in a difficult time. Yoga is described as "moving inside myself". There is a reference to the moon at one point as "slim, silver, sensuous" or the like.
The descriptions of the birdlife and the astronomy were especially evocative, and Julia clearly has some expertise here. I liked the Great Expectations comparison, with the mist coming over the Dartford. I also really liked the relationship with the Giardini di Giusti and the role that is given in the book.
I also liked the way the book is focused on thoughts and feelings rather than events and people; that's interesting and novel. It paints a picture of the cerebral, internal side of life that isn't seen much. People and events are important too, but Solstice takes an inside out view where the people and events are only relevant in the way they affect what goes on inside. Julia conveyed with a good eye what was significant for her in each event, and what each event/moment meant for her.
Julia works for an environmental non for profit organisation, working on transforming the trade in timber from illegal and unsustainable, to a sustainable footing - and has done so for just over ten years.
Before this, she spent thirteen years working in mining, ten years of which was based in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa, before returning to the UK to study for a legal masters in International Environmental Law and Policy.
A keen sportsperson, Julia rowed for Great Britain in her late teens, and has also taken part in coastal rowing, fencing, mountain biking, running, canoeing, and swimming.
Julia started writing poetry in her early twenties, as a way of capturing thoughts. Solstice is the first time she has written as a story.