Jack be nimble


“Chris Palmer tells a story full of wisdom and humour, in language that fairly crackles. It sweeps over time and borders in the company of characters you come to care about. This is a first novel that will leave you looking forward to her next." 

– Imtiaz Dharker, winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry

A hidden truth; a buried past; a chance to start again.

That's what we do. We live our lives, then try to make sense of them. I tell myself it's another compensation of age: you reflect on the past, and if you are brave enough you admit where you went wrong.

Nancy is fostered at around the age of five, after being found wandering around the Railway Orphanage. Her life with Edna her foster mum and Bill, Edna's lodger, in the back-streets of Derby is relatively happy, until Bill's obsession with Nancy turns ugly. Nancy flees and is able to embark on a totally different life.

Jack fifteen years younger meets Nancy at the Rolls-Royce factory. He is a draughtsman, and she is secretary to one of the directors. Their short but passionate affair is brought to a brutal halt when Bill reappears. In the intervening decades Jack battles with his loss of Nancy, his disastrous marriage to Mary and the conundrum surrounding his father's death. 

A saga that spans six decades across two countries in Burgundy and Derbyshire. At its heart is a love story, that survives the tumultuous social changes of the last sixty years. By turns humorous, it blends romance, mystery and the value of second chances. An affectionate, and well observed history of our times.