For almost ten years Richard and his wife Judy have maintained the title of creating the biggest book club in the UK. Tempted to put his expertise into practise, this book critic has turned his hand to penning his own work of fiction. The outcome is ‘Some Day I’ll Find You’, an intriguing mix of genres, a realistic insight into personas and the lengths they will go to get what they want.
It’s 1938 and Diana Arnold is a nineteen year old with big ideas studying at Cambridge. When her brother John returns home for a visit from the RAF, he brings along the gorgeous James Blackwood. However, Blackwell isn’t all that he seems.
Diana and James cement their love by quickly becoming married. But weddings never do run smoothly so straight after Diana becomes Mrs Blackwood both her husband and brother are called into action and killed. Diana is left a widow and pregnant.
The novel transports us ten years into the future as we see Diana now happily remarried living in Southern France with her new husband Douglas and her and Blackwood’s daughter Stella. As she reads a newspaper alone in a café to practice her French, Diana hears a recognisable voice shoot out of a taxi. Her peaceful life spins out of control.
It’s almost impossible to believe that ‘Some Day I’ll Find You’ is the debut novel of Madeley as his storytelling creates the perfect balance between pace and impact that most authors are unable to accomplish in their careers. Some writers install too much description that you find yourself fading away and rereading every paragraph. Others only discuss action making the writing appear almost childlike. Whereas Richard is ideal in providing enough description so the readers grip is never lessened.
It feels as though the novel could have been released in two instalments as genres drastically change from part one to part two. We witness the blooming love story between James and Diana in the first half, tainted with the poison that is set to come. The second is a psychological thriller where you are enticed to uncover the true character of James Blackwell.
The analysis of historical eras also needs to be praised. Despite the novel not being a full on war genre, there is just enough information peppered around this time scale which means we are not swamped in facts and figures. Here Madeley has put is journalistic instincts aside to refrain from boring us with overflowing statistics.
Instead of focusing on one protagonist, Richard gives us slight perceptions into minor characters lives as well. This adds to reality of the novel and almost shares Charles Dickens qualities.
From the start James Blackwell is a character not to be trusted. As the novel progresses, he is proven to be psychotic, blackmailing Diana’s new husband in an attempt to show he controls everything he wishes.
What Madeley has accomplished is admirable to me. My wish is to also become a journalist, although I have always had a love for fiction and my ambition is to one day write a book. He has shown that it is possible for a journalist to create a great read by both dismissing and utilising skills of the trade.
Richard Madeley proves with ‘Some Day I’ll Find You’ that he has the ability to tell a story through both facts and fiction.
- VIDEO: Richard Madeley on his debut novel (bbc.co.uk)