Lesley Pearse is one of the UK's best-loved novelists with fans across the globe and sales of over 7 million copies of her books to date. A true storyteller and a master of gripping storylines that keep the reader hooked from beginning to end, Pearse introduces you to characters that it is 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.
The Early Years
My life has been an eventful one, one could say ‘More up’s and down’s than a well bucket.’
I lost my mother under tragic circumstances when I was three, and because our father was serving in the Royal Marines, my older brother Michael and I were sent to orphanages, separate ones. My experiences there I depicted in ‘Trust Me’. It was a cold, stern place run by nuns, and I can honestly say I have no good recollections of it.
I was almost six when Dad remarried and my new mum, an ex army nurse turned up at the convent to take me home to Rochester in Kent. I was overjoyed. There waiting to meet me, along with Michael who I didn’t even remember, was Selina, a new older sister. She had been fostered by mum, but later, she and a new baby called Paul, were legally adopted by mum and dad.
Even with the best of intentions, such a hastily thrown together family was bound to encounter problems. Hilda, our new mum was already middle-aged, and nursing soldiers had given her no real experience with children, or much in the way of cooking and housekeeping skills. She was a stern disciplinarian, who couldn’t show any demonstrative affection. But on the plus side she was intelligent, well travelled and artistic. Other foster children arrived from time to time, some bringing joy, others creating joy when they left.
I have some very fond memories of the years in Kent, it was good to have an older brother and sister, and I believed baby Paul had been acquired just for my pleasure. We had freedom to roam about the countryside, at home we put on plays with scenery made of painted cardboard boxes. I loved sewing and mum was only too glad that I liked mending things and darning socks. But she was very frustrated by my slowness in learning to read. However once I mastered it, I read anything I could get my hands on.
When I was eleven we moved to South London, and a grim era began. Michael went off to boarding school. Selina was put in one senior school and me in another. The freedom we’d had in Kent was over, the house was cold and dark, and mum had become a real fire breathing dragon. Looking back now with adult eyes, I can understand and sympathize with her. She must have been frustrated by the narrow confines of her life. She’d been an officer in the Q.A.’s, with interesting lively people about her. Now she had to live on a tight budget, with a bunch of kids who probably tried her patience, Dad worked long hours to keep things together, and all her old nursing friends were single and still working.
Teens and Twenties
I left home for a nanny’s job at sixteen, never to return. For much of my teens I felt very alone and isolated. The desire for love and affection sometimes made me make some very