Welcome to my website. I am a freelance journalist and author of four 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 rich heiress who was tricked into marriage by a fortune-hunter. It was a Channel 4 TV Book Club choice and 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 latest book, The Mesmerist, is out now.
My new book - The Mesmerist
The Mesmerist tells the story of John Elliotson, a revered 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 about the girls' veracity and his brilliant career was in jeopardy.
'engrossing study' ... 'witty and instructive' - Daily Telegraph
Hear my talk about my experience of hypnsosis on 8 May at Royal Society of Medicine
Book tickets for my Lunar Event talk in Lichfield on 10 May
See me at Greenwich Book Festival on 27 May
Read about my experience of hypnotism in Going Under
Read an excerpt from The Mesmerist