Haywards Heath author’s novel brings alive Sussex of a bygone era

DM16135837a.jpg Haywards Heath author and artist Jane Reid has written a new book. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160815-171144008
DM16135837a.jpg Haywards Heath author and artist Jane Reid has written a new book. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160815-171144008

A Haywards Heath author has published her second work of historical fiction based in Sussex.

Last year Jane Reid wrote The Book of The Randalls and has now published Family Gatherings, also inspired by life in Sussex.

Jane explains: “Both the ones in print might be called Chronicles.

“Each of them concern people living in Sussex, the first is called The Book of the Randalls and starts as a historical narrative, following one woman from 1794 to 1859.

“The final part is set in 1965 and has a family of that name trying to find out about their ancestors.

“Family Gatherings is also set in Sussex and tells of a year in the lives of one family viewed alternatively through the eyes of a young woman and her mother, especially how they see each other.”

Born in Hurstpierpoint, Jane, 77, worked as an artist, for many years, particularly focusing on botanical paintings of flowers and bespoke works of people’s houses.

That took her into the word of publishing with a book about the history of Lindfield.

She explained: “The reason I produced the Lindfield book was that in 1983 a bookshop opened in that village, and having seen me drawing, the owner asked if I could write as well as draw, she was tired of people asking for a book about it.

“I therefore put one together with my illustrations, and a printer friend in East Grinstead published it.

“The current edition, revised in 2008, has six extra new drawings and brought some aspects up to date then. The bookshop has now closed but I still sell copies of the book.

“I am still fitting in some art work and recently some of my paintings have been made into cards and mounted prints.

“In the last few years I have reverted to my other interest of writing novels as well as the little book on the village of Lindfield which I illustrated as well, and which is still available in the 2008 updated edition.”

She is now working on another book called Rain in the Winter Garden following a group of elderly people living in a seaside town hotel, not specific to Sussex.

In the future she hopes to write a sequel to her debut novel developing the characters in the Randall family.

Family Gatherings is available at The Tudor bookshop in East Grinstead and on Amazon. People can also order it from chain stores, such as Waterstones.

Jane’s book on Lindfield is also still available, on sale in The Tudor and Calliope Gifts in The Orchards Shopping Centre in Haywards Heath.