Theo and Matilda

Theo and Matilda

(1990) Pan

‘Two lovers, repeatedly reunited through the ages, work out their joint destiny.’ Daily Telegraph

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I’ve always been interested in how one location can witness so much changing history. In Theo and Matilda I describe a valley in the West Country and tell the story of a continuing love. I bought a house in Dorset in 1968 mainly because of my admiration for Thomas Hardy’s novels and this book owes something to the influence of the great man. Theo and Matilda first meet in Anglo-Saxon times (I studied Anglo-Saxon at university) when an early Christian monastery stands in the valley. They meet again during the frightening period of the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. By the Victorian times, the ruined building has become a mental hospital and, finally, I bring Theo and Matilda together in a modern housing development.

At the beginning I quote John Donne’s wonderful lines from ‘The Sun Rising’

‘Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.’

I wish I’d called the novel, ‘The Rags of Time.’