2nd of April, 2pm: Lesley Pearse


Lesley Pearse is one of the UK’s best loved novelists with fans across the globe and sales of over 10 million copies of her books to date.  Her most recent novels have all been No.1 bestsellers and her 2010 novel, Stolen was one of the biggest selling novels of 2010 and another No.1 bestseller. She is one of the Top 5 bestselling female fiction authors in the UK.

Lesley’s most recent novel, Forgive Me, was another No.1 bestseller in paperback (out August 2013).

A true storyteller and master of gripping storylines that keep the reader hooked from beginning to end, Lesley introduces you to characters that are impossible not to care about or forget.  There is no formula to her books or easily defined genre. Whether crime as in Till We Meet Again, historical adventure like  Never Look Back,  or the passionately emotive Trust Me, based on the true-life scandal of British child migrants sent to Australia in the post war period, she engages the reader completely.

Truth is often stranger than fiction and Lesley’s life has been as packed with drama as her books. She was three when her mother died and with her father in the Royal Marines, Lesley and her older brother spent three years in orphanages before her father remarried and Lesley and her older brother were brought home again. They were joined by two other children who were later adopted by her father and step mother, and a continuing stream of foster children. The impact of constant change and uncertainty in Lesley’s early years is reflected in one of the recurring themes in her books: what happens to those who are emotionally damaged as children. It was an extra-ordinary childhood and in all her books, Lesley has skilfully married the pain and unhappiness of her early experiences with a unique gift for storytelling.

A party girl during the swinging sixties, Lesley did it all – from nanny to bunny girl to designing clothes. She lived in damp bedsits, burning the candle at both ends and living the rock ‘n’ roll life as a ‘Dolly Bird’ with twelve inch mini shirts. She married her first husband – fleetingly – at twenty and met her second, John Pritchard, a trumpet player in a rock band soon after.  Her debut novel ‘Georgia’ was inspired by her life with John; the London clubs, crooked managers and the many musicians she met including David Bowie and Steve Marriott of The Small Faces. Lesley’s first child, Lucy, was born during this time but with John’s erratic lifestyle and a small child in the house the marriage was doomed to failure and they parted when Lucy was four.

It was a real turning point in Lesley’s life – she was young and alone with a small child – but, in another twist of fate, Lesley met her third husband, Nigel, while hitchhiking to Bristol for an interview. They married a few years later and had two more daughters, Sammy and Jo. The following years were the happiest of her life – she ran a playgroup, started writing short stories and then opened a card and gift ship in Bristol’s Clifton area.  Writing by night, running the shop by day, and fitting in all the other household chores along with the needs of her husband and children for seven years was tough.

There was more turmoil to follow however, when Lesley’s shop failed in the 90’s recession, leaving her with a mountain of debts and bruised pride.  Her eighteen year marriage broke down, and at fifty she hit rock bottom.  She was back where she had started, in a grim flat with barely enough money for her youngest daughter’s bus fare to school.

A No.1 bestselling author whose experiences continue to enthral, Lesley’s life is a rich source of material for her books; whether she is writing about the pain of first love, the unwanted abused child, adoption, rejection, fear, poverty and  revenge, she knows about it first hand. She’s a fighter, and with her long fought for success has come security. She owns a cottage in a pretty village between Bristol and Bath which she has lovingly renovated and her three daughters, three grandchildren, friends, dogs and gardening bring her great happiness. She is president of the Bath and West Wiltshire branch of the NSPCC and has just been announced as the first Ambassador for National Libraries Day which takes place on the 8th February 2014.

2 thoughts on “2nd of April, 2pm: Lesley Pearse

  1. Surely there should be something between these two statements ‘…in a grim flat with barely enough money for her youngest daughter’s bus fare to school.

    A No.1 bestselling author whose experiences continue to enthral, Lesley’s life is a rich source of material for….’
    What happened in between?

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