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The Draftsman

By Laurel Lindström

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A brilliant but damaged man – this is the story of his genius, his healing and a forgotten mystery

Publication date: April 2021
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About the book

Martin Cox is an untrained draftsman of 24, accidentally rich, a heavy smoker, damaged, obsessive, binary. He agrees to buy a house in the country as an investment, and to get away from the squalor of his London flat. But Shadowhurst Hall is also a place to heal. The country landscape confuses and beguiles Martin, who obsesses with black and white contrasts and binary expression, facts, numbers, in a world of shades and shadows. The desolation and the twin lakes on his property exert a peculiar pull that he doesn’t understand but which attracts him. He decides not to smoke in his new house.

Shadowhurst Hall is desolate and forgotten, despite a gardener and his wife who have been part of Shadowhurst Hall all their lives. Simon and Sheila keep their distance, but they are the only link to the house’s past and they have a connection that intrigues Martin. He persuades his friend and business minder Joshua Fothergill to help him investigate the empty landscape with him. Together they make a discovery that leads them on an unexpected journey, towards long forgotten events in 1945 and slowly towards renewal.

In the course of this journey we learn how Martin became so rich, and about his parents, a London cabbie and a cleaner. We meet the man who helped Martin to become an ace draftsman, and who brokered his first contract which led to unexpected wealth. We also learn about a sister whose protection of her brother was an afterthought, but she is unware of this. And we learn more about Martin’s need for protection.

In part this story is also the story of the original Shadowhurst Hall and the part it played in two world wars. But it’s more about recollections and process. It’s about how memories and histories bound up in a landscape become their own story. And it’s about how that story might eventually be shared.

This book is about healing and renewal, about how an individual’s unrecognised and unacknowledged damage shapes them. And it is about how those scars undermines who they might have been, and the lasting footprint that they leave.

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