My Debut Novel - A Dazzle of Poplars

Photo of artist and author, Alexandra Kendall (Sandy) in her studio

The two main passions of my life have been art and literature. So much so, that when it came to deciding on a career, I struggled to choose between responding to the world around me via the mediums of art or of writing. In the end, I decided to go to art school, which I thoroughly enjoyed, gaining a diploma of art and design and going on to become head of art in a prep school. However, I always carried on writing for my own satisfaction – short stories and poetry – while continuing to read voraciously. I have always felt there is a strong connection between the two disciplines of art and literature. In fact, my diploma thesis was titled “Literature, A Visual Art?”, postulating, among other arguments, that while a painter uses pigment to make pictures, the writer can conjure up “word pictures” with verbal imagery.

On my retirement from teaching, I was able not only to devote more time to my own art, but also to write the novel “A Dazzle of Poplars”, which has been brewing in my head for years. In it, I was able to marry the experience gained through my career in art, with my love of the written word.

Cover art for A Dazzle of Poplars, by Alexandra Kendall (Sandy), oil painting of poplars, painted by the author

When young artist Kate inherits a country cottage, she distances herself from her London life and her sculptor lover Jake. Her life becomes interwoven with that of her widower neighbour Tim. This enrages Elaine, who has her sights set on Tim. Kate befriends Annie, partner of abusive Vince, who beats her when he hears that Kate has been painting her.
Vince’s malevolence turns towards Kate, which, together with Elaine’s hostility, casts a shadow on her feelings for Tim and her delight in the cottage, surrounded by beautiful poplar trees; a cottage which seems to hold a secret and a mysterious connection with the big house down the lane where Tim lives.

This is a story of how we all impact on the lives of those around us, even from beyond the grave.

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