Welcome to my website. I am a freelance journalist and author of three non-fiction books on medical and social history. My first book, The Knife Man, is a biography of the 18th-century surgeon John Hunter. My second book, Wedlock, tells the story of Mary Eleanor Bowes, a wealthy heiress who was tricked into marriage by a fortune-hunter. It was picked for Channel 4’s TV Book Club and reached no 1 in the Sunday Times bestseller list. My third book, How to Create the Perfect Wife, is the story of Thomas Day, an eccentric philanthropist who trained two foundlings in a bid to create his perfect wife. My next book, The Mesmerist, is due out in April 2017.
My next book - The Mesmerist
The Mesmerist tells the story of John Elliotson, a brilliant doctor and adored teacher who introduced mesmerism - hypnotism - to Victorian Britain. Elliotson's demonstrations of patients being mesmerised at University College Hospital, London, drew huge crowds of scientists, journalists and dignitaries. Spectators were especially entranced by the Okey girls, two sisters, aged 15 and 17, who performed astonishing acts while mesmerised. Then Elliotson's colleagues began to ask questions and his brilliant career was in jeopardy.
The Mesmerist is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson on 27 April 2017.
Read an excerpt from The Mesmerist
Meet me at Books by the Beach in Scarborough on 27 April
Book tickets for my Lunar Event talk in Lichfield on 10 May
Read about my experience of hypnotism in Going Under