Kitty Pike’s mother walked out of a bomb shelter during the Blitz of 1941. She was killed and Kitty was abandoned by the one women that should have loved her the most. Johnny Castleton is dying. His mother can’t cope and hides him in the attic of the family manor house. Out of sight, out of mind.
When Kitty’s father is employed by the wealthy Castleton family as a live-in doctor in the Lake District, 10 year old Kitty bewitches the servants and the family alike. The horror of her city life is quickly replaced by the rhythmic peace of the new: swimming in the local stream with the servants, feeding the animals at the nearby farm and helping Charlie, her best friend and the Castleton’s sarcastic chauffeur, build his own car.
But during the evening Kitty visits Johnny in the attic.
Appalled by the way the dying teenage boy is treated and locked away by his own mother, who showers Kitty with maternal love, Kitty befriends Johnny and sneaks up to the attic after the moon is high. They keep each other company and read from a poetry anthology of Keats, developing a relationship that is both complicated and simple.
But as the years pass by and Johnny’s health declines, Charlie’s feelings for Kitty develop into something more surprising and Mrs Castleton’s adoration of Kitty becomes dangerously obsessive. Struggling with the memories of her mother and the effect it has had on the relationships of those she holds most dear, Kitty has to make an impossible choice.
My Mr Keats is a tender story of abandonment and gain, great love and familial friendship and of the terrible choice between following your heart and following your head.
Do not look so sad, sweet one – sad and fadingly; shed one drop then it is gone; oh ‘twas born to die.
It’s strange to think, now, that at the age of ten my only possession was a book on archaic medical conditions. It was gifted to me by a bespectacled nurse at my father’s practice, after the bombing.
It didn’t matter to me that the book seemed to be entirely written in gibberish. After having very little, even before the bombing, I was glad to have something to call my own.
For fun I used to try and pronounce the words whilst reading by the fire in the waiting room. Occasionally my father would pass me and mutter the correct word under his breath, but he never made the effort of actually trying to teach me how to pronounce them.
Over the last few months My Mr Keats has taken a bit of a backseat. I’ve written another a novel – yes a whole one, even I don’t know how that happened – I started a new job and I’ve just been very busy working.
I’m not great at talking about myself, but I’m pretty good at making everyone else sound good. I don’t know if this is due to an over-amount of humility or simply enjoying the sensation…
Well if you're here then I love you. It's as simple as that!
You're supporting my book by being here and for that, I will be eternally grateful. This is going to be the scariest most exhilarating experience of my life no doubt but I can't wait!
As this is my writer's shed, and I'm a fairly organised human being, I plan on keeping you updated with regards to my current editing of My Mr Keats…
These people are helping to fund My Mr Keats.