By Sheridan Winn
Genre: YA Fiction, Psychological Drama
14-year old Lilla’s psychic power sets her apart from others. Often doubted, she is the clumsy younger sister to Janey’s swan.
In the sweltering July heat the Harrison family move to Grove End, an old farmhouse deep in Norfolk’s Breckland. Two thousand years ago the area was home to the Iceni tribe and their Warrior Queen, Boudica. Now, Nighthawks – illegal metal detectorists – are searching the woods for Iceni treasure. When Lilla sees the ghosts of Boudica’s daughters, she learns the trees hide an ancient mystery.
Janey’s arrival brings upset as she reveals her own dark secret. Overwhelmed by a sense of failure, she no longer knows who she is or what she wants. Shocked and struggling to cope, her parents try to help but are wrestling with their own feelings.
It is Lilla who must find the strength to help her sister. With Boudica’s daughters as her guides, her journey takes her into the ancient past and tests her sense of self-belief to the limit. Can Lilla save her sister and lay the Iceni bones to rest?
To gain authenticity for the archaeological aspects of the story, Sheridan had the advice of Dr John Davies, chief curator, Norfolk Museums Service, and Dr Adrian Marsden, numismatist and finds liaison officer, Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
Please Note – parents and guardians of Sprite Sister/Cantrip Sister readers
Boudica’s Daughters is not suitable for younger readers. The story is intended for young adult and adult readers. It contains references to drug and alcohol use, sexual violence and bad language.
Sheridan was born in Norwich, Norfolk. When she was six years old, her family moved to a big, rambling house in the country. Littlewood House became the inspiration for Sprite Towers. The eldest of four sisters, Sheridan drew on a many of her childhood experiences for the Sprite stories – such as camping out in the old white caravan in the woods. As a child she loved to be outside learning about the natural world and looking after her animals. At the age of twelve she went to boarding school, which taught her to be independent.
She studied graphic design at art college and for her degree wrote a thesis on Norfolk barns. The thesis was turned into a book and published a few months later as, ‘Barns & Granaries’ by Boydell Press & Anglia Television. Sheridan then took a postgraduate teaching certificate and spent some time working in Norfolk schools as a supply teacher.
For 25 years she worked with author and illustrator, Chris Winn, as his business and creative manager. Together they produced a number of children’s picture books, along with the ‘Mad Gadget’ cartoon – the most popular strip in the Daily Telegraph’s Young Telegraph for over seven years. Mad Gadget followed the adventures of a crazy boy inventor and was based on their son, Alex, along with their daughter, Rosie.
In 2001, Sheridan became a freelance journalist specialising in profiles of business leaders and lifestyle features for international newspapers and magazines. Today she divides her time between freelance work and book writing.
Between 2008-2010, Sheridan published five Sprite Sister books: The Circle of Power, The Magic Unfolds, The Secret of the Towers, The Ghost in the Tower and New Magic (all published by Piccadilly Press, originally). These stories take place within one year when Flame is 13, Marina is 12, Ash is 10 and Ariel is 9. Sheridan bought back the rights from Piccadilly Press and re-published the series with the new jackets by Chris Winn, also adding more titles.
In 2012, Sheridan self-published the sixth title in the series, The Boy With Hawk-like Eyes, as a paperback and e-book, and bought back the rights to the first five titles from Piccadilly Press. She then set about re-publishing the stories herself, with new-look titles – so became publisher and a bookseller, as well as a writer. Vol 7, Magic at Drysdale’s School, and Vol 8, The Mystery of the Locked Room, followed. Sheridan is currently working on Vol 10 to complete the Sprite Sister series.
The Sprite Sisters series has been hugely successful in Germany, where the books have sold over 500,000 copies and are known there as Vier Zauberhafte Schwestern.
In 2014, Sheridan wrote Boudica’s Daughters, a YA novel set in Norfolk’s Breckland, in which a psychic teenager connects with ghosts to solve an ancient mystery and help her damaged sister.
A lively and engaging speaker, Sheridan enjoys the chance to interact with her readers. She lives in Norwich and has two grown-up children and a grand-daughter. She has a keen interest in the Arts, particularly painting and film, and finds walking in the countryside a good way to think up ideas. She always carries a notebook.
Lilla Harrison and her family have moved to Grove End in Norfolk’s Breckland. Lilla is a psychic and seems to the the black sheep of the family compaired to her perfect sister Janey. But one night Lilla comes across treasure hunters in the dark woods and sees the ghosts of Boudica’s daughters. Lilla is out to discover the grave of Boudica. But then Janey returns home with a dark secret. Lilla’s parents doing really know how to help so it falls to Lilla to help Janey heal.
This story is told in two parts. The main part is Lilla’s family and Janey’s secret. We follow along as the family learns of what has happened to Janey and tries to help her recover, which is not easy with drug us and her clearly not wanting help.
The second part is the story of Boudica. I’m sad to admit that I had never heard this story so I had to look it up. I loved how this book follows along with the story that I found. All I can say is that I hope to be one tenth of a strong woman as Boudica was. I loved this half of that story.
I really enjoyed this story. It does have some hard topics so be warned that at times it was hard to read. But I love how it shows the strength of a family and how it can get you through those hard times. This is an amazing story and one that I strongly recommend you read.
I received Boudica’s Daughters from Sage’s Reading Room for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.