Last week I was a guest at a Kingston book club–a fabulous group of curious people. Of course we chatted about Lady Franklin and her biographers (I recommend Alison Alexander), polar exploration, Lord Tennyson smoking cheroots, and nineteenth-century eating habits, but then, over a phenomenal four-layer carrot cake and roiboos chai, we got into new territory–as the best book clubs always do! We talked about the nature of book clubs–there’s always someone to keep the group on track, someone who wants to push the generic envelope–and the challenges of writing historical characters, and the evanescence of letters and diaries. At the end of the evening, they gave me a thank you card, but I really think it should have been the other way round. As someone who has just begun walking on the writer’s path, it was a true honour to be among such interested and generous readers.