Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Beneath The Skin by Caroline England

Release Date: 5th October 2017
Publisher: Avon
Genres:  Psychological Thriller

No-one remembers your past. But you do.
 ‘Antonia, Antonia. My name is Antonia.’

It’s been her name for many years. But sometimes, like tonight, she forgets.

Antonia has a secret. A secret so dark and so deep that she can barely admit it to herself. Instead, she treats herself to Friday night sessions of self-harm while her husband David is at the pub, and her best friend Sophie is drinking too much wine a few doors down.

Nobody close to her knows the truth about what the teenage Antonia saw all those years ago. No-one, that is, except her mother. But Candy is in a care home now, her mind too addled to remember the truth. Antonia is safe. Isn’t she?

The lies start small. They always do. But when the tightly woven story you’ve told yourself begins to unravel, the truth threatens to come to the surface. And then what’s going to happen? 


Five things you didn’t know about my childhood

1.    I was sent to an all girls boarding school at eight years of age. Too young, far too young! Apparently Boarding School Syndrome is a thing. Self-reliance, high moral values, pride in endurance, not sharing feelings, always busy, unable to relax, a need to control. Do I recognise any of these, ahem, qualities? I couldn’t possibly say! I have written about some unsavoury boarding school experiences in a fictionalised way, so watch this space.

2.    At sixteen I moved to an all boys school. Thirty or so girls and hundreds of adolescent boys… Well that was a swift learning curve! About ‘old school’ masters too - one cracked me around the head for talking in the library. I didn’t know it was coming and I literally saw stars! I’m typing this piece on Roald Dahl day, as it happens. Coincidentally, he went to the same school many years previously. In Boy he describes his experience as ‘groping through a limitless black tunnel’. There were no beatings at my girls school, but I certainly recognise that description from when I was eight.

3.    Making friends with boys at school wasn’t so bad. A group of us exchanged silly ditties, some of which were actually very good. Titles such as Raymond Floyd, Eternal Damnation, Besieged Blasphemy and Ode to Caroline esq. One pal wrote me a long epic whilst sitting his Economics A level! I still have all the poems, so they had better watch out!

4.    I liked acting at school. I played the pretty love interest in Charley's Aunt, so that was ok, but I played the somewhat unattractive and scary Matron in The Physicists. I’m looking at the slim, well-thumbed play now. One of my fellow actors has written in the front: ‘Thanks for being such a well-built Matron, Caroline.’ Nice! Still, he signed it off with: ‘All passionate kisses, Martin’. I wonder what he’s doing these days!

5.    I was due on Christmas Day but was born two weeks early. Naturally I was to be called Carol, but a family down the road got there first, so my parents added the ‘ine’. A December birthday made that month super exciting at school. Advent Sundays were very special and ceremonial, including the parading of a real boar’s head, then I’d have my birthday and Christmas was coming! But the best thing by far was going home.


Caroline England is a former divorce lawyer based in Manchester, whose fiction has appeared in various literary magazines. Her background lends this book about couples a real authenticity.

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