There were always two side to Anya Cave.
Some who knew her in the 1960s, when she was young, saw an intelligent, ambitious, attractive girl who would go far – but always, too close to the surface, was the Anya who was promiscuous, self-obsessed and manipulative.
Despite her self-willed drive to better herself, the course of Anya’s life is determined by a succession of bad decisions.
She was never going to be considered to be a suitable wife for Geoff and their first attempt at marriage failed in the face of his mother’s opposition and the connivance of people she had thought were her friends.
A successful career and financial security in the 1980s are meaningless as her middle years are wasted in work and a loveless, childless, second marriage.
It is only when Anya marries for a third time that she finds some purpose to her life and finds the strength to stand up to those who clash with her.
But nothing in Anya’s life lasts long and when her circumstances change yet again she despairs of finding the peace of mind that seems always to elude her.
Only when three men and a woman, from very different stages of her life, make her face up to how much she has misjudged others and misunderstood about herself can she identify which Anya is the winner in the battle between the girl she was and the woman she wants to be.
“The ’70s are brought to life very well. Good for discussing the muddles people get into when they don’t tell the truth and whether a bad beginning in life can be overcome.” New Books Magazine recommended HUG as both a personal read and suitable for Book Clubs
“A fantastic read. Characters totally believable. A sensual story but without being too explicit. Highly recommended and well worth reading.” SD, Somerset
“Although this tells of thirty or forty years in the life of a woman this is definitely not ‘chick lit’. There is some mystery (what about the ring?) and some bad characters doing bad things. There is a hint of incest, there is crime and there is suspicion and miss-trust, there is snobbery and class-war. Right up to the last pages you don’t know what will become of her. And then the ending is MOST satisfying.” LB, Cheshire
Fantastic read. Characters totally believable. A sensual story but without being too explicit. A really ‘goodnight’ read. Highly recommended and well worth reading. Go and buy it, you won’t regret it. Duck – Amazon reviewer
Where did the idea for Anya Caves’ character come from?
Anya Cave is completely a figment of my imagination! In fact all the characters portrayed are from my imagination but, having said that, everyone must to some extent write from their own experiences of life and people so I cannot deny there are elements of me and people I have known in Anya, Geoff, Tim and Peter.
The overall themes of Anya’s life, firstly of dealing with differences in class and background and secondly the struggle she has to understand herself and others, are not unique to me though I would accept they have been important in my life. Since I wanted, in this novel, to write about places and times I know Anya’s life has overlapped mine geographically (I was born on the Wirral, had an influential teacher, went to Liverpool University, met and married a man who lived in Kent, eventually lived in the London suburbs and love Barbados) and in time (I was also born in 1950) but similarities and overlaps stop there. Details, actions, everything the book is is fiction.
Where did the idea for the novel come from?
I was in Barbados on business, this would be Christmas 2009. Colin, my husband had gone out shopping and I was sitting with the laptop waiting to receive some documents by e-mail but the broadband was down. I looked at the shelves of books left for guests’ consumption in the villa and didn’t like the look of any of them so I went back to the laptop and started to type. Within an hour I had a single page of the ‘plot’ outline and a rough idea of the main characters. By the end of the weekend I had the title, and the first draft of the first three chapters.
Highly Unsuitable Girl started life as a simple ‘Boy meets girl, girl leaves boy because of his mother, girl finds other boys but not happiness, boy sees the light, girl goes back to original boy, they live happily ever after despite everyone and everything’ but it didn’t work out that way. What started out as a straightforward story of a single relationship grew into something more substantial and, hopefully, more satisfying and enjoyable, as the characters, especially Anna, made their own decisions about their lives.
Do you like Anna?
I do and I don’t! She is not all good and not all bad, nor are the people her life leads her to be among. I sympathise with her inability to read other people, but I don’t admire her self-obsession. I suspect that like most people she makes too many mistakes that hurt those around her as well as herself. I do like the way she gradually learns about herself but I don’t like the way she uses other people. I have a lot of sympathy for her. She didn’t have the best of starts in life and eventually she comes to some degree of self-awareness and can begin, if not to like herself, then to forgive herself.