I find myself in the interesting position this week of having two hardback books I have ghosted coming out from two different publishers on virtually the same day, and competing pretty much for the same shelf space.
Both are strong contenders for chart success, (although I know enough never to bank on anything). “For the Love of Julie” by Ann Ming is such a powerful and moving story that our editor informed me she wept all the way through the editing process, while the publication of “Disgraced” by Saira Ahmed is potentially so life-threatening to the author that she has had to be shrouded in layer upon layer of disguise.
Ann Ming is the redoubtable Yorkshire mother who set about changing the law of double jeopardy in order to see her daughter’s murderer brought to justice. The manner in which her daughter died and the way in which Ann herself found the body would have been enough to defeat most of us, rendering us unable to function like normal, thinking human beings, but Ann is made of some of the sternest stuff I have ever come across. It is an absolutely stunning story and it’s making me water up just to think about it.
Born and brought up in Britain, Saira Ahmed escaped from an arranged marriage back in Pakistan and then went secretly on the game in Britain in order to make enough money to settle debts run up by her parents and dissolute brothers. Any young Muslim girl from a strict family will understand just what risks Saira has taken and how extraordinary her courage is.
Ann’s story is published by Harpers Element and Saira’s by Headline Review, both highly experienced and skilful publishers of these sorts of human interest tales. So, now the race is on.