It is hard to write anything meaningful during a world crisis. Whatever we say now seems trite, or trivial, or outdated even a day or two later.

I have a novel to write and I am in the lucky position of being able to do that wherever I am. Isolation at home is not new to me. But I can’t concentrate on 15th-century Venice at the moment; I want to concentrate on 2020 Venice instead. I read the news, social media, text constantly with friends, talk on the phone. I want to stay connected.

Because it is all about connection. If we didn’t know it before, we surely do now. We truly are interconnected. The butterfly flapping it wings in Singapore does affect people on the other side of the world. The coronavirus is spreading because we are all connected. And connection is also what sustains us in difficult times. We may share the virus but we also share advice, humor, consolation, grief. It’s what humans do. Now more than ever.

I wish us all a safe passage, and I send a virtual hug.


Over the years I have had many readers write to me saying they know someone who resembles the painting Girl with a Pearl Earring. Their mother, their aunt, their daughter, themselves. One reader memorably told me I resembled the Girl, and that must be why I wrote about her.

That comment came back to me recently when my new novel A Single Thread came out in Italy, with the title La Ricamatrice di Winchester. An interview with me was published in Corriere della Sera, and it was illustrated thus:


gwape tc image


Now, that doesn't look quite like the painting, nor quite like me, but a little of both. I was totally flattered!





It has been a busy few months since A Single Thread was published in September in the USA and UK. I have been here there and everywhere talking about it and visiting a LOT of cathedrals in the process! Also seeing some spectacular embroidered kneelers, which is what the book is about. I saw these two at Guildford Cathedral (just south of London). Made in the 1960s, they are perfect for Violet and Arthur:


guildford embroidery kneeler reduced    guildford bell kneeler reduced again


A Single Thread will be out next year in various languages. First up: German and Italian.

I #amwriting! More on that in the New Year. For now, I am winding down. Whatever the holidays being celebrated (or not), it feels important to step back from the swift river of our lives and just be. I wish you a good break.



Tomorrow is the first Tuesday after Labor Day in the USA - the day I traditionally went back to school as a child. On Labor Day itself, I would lay out the outfit I planned to wear the next day. After that day I wouldn't really care what I wore, but that first outfit was important.

This week my new novel A Single Thread is published in the UK. (It comes out in the USA on September 17th, and in European countries in the Winter and Spring of 2020.) There is a launch party Thursday, and I've been looking for a 1930s-style tea dress, to reflect what the heroine Violet Speedwell might wear. I think I've found it, and I've laid it out:

 tea dress

Superficial? Maybe. But it's a big week, and instead of freaking out over upcoming interviews on tv and radio, or the launch event in the nave of Winchester Cathedral (where the book is set), it calms me to focus instead on minor details: the dress I'll wear, the necklace, the manicure...Long live books!



I have a most surprising announcement to make, with a little help from the Girl in my life:

 pearl earring

Yes! Girl with a Pearl Earring: The Opera will premiere on 24 May 2020 at Zurich Opera House. The music will be avant-garde, the story classic. I am already planning what to wear.

For more information about the production, have a look here.