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Chart success for Harpenden author By Amanda Thomas

I met historical novelist Jenny Barden fresh from the Historical Novel Society Conference in London where she had just completed an extremely busy few days in her role as UK Conference Co-ordinator. She had also presented a workshop with authors Patricia Bracewell and Simon Scarrow called Making the Breakthrough, sharing her experiences of finding a publisher for historical fiction. Still buzzing from the success of the weekend, and full of energy, it was hard to believe that Jenny was in the middle of a tour which had taken her across the West Country and London to promote her latest book, Mistress of the Sea. Published by Ebury Press, the book was launched at Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street in August and during her appearance at Waterstones in Plymouth copies had sold out within two hours.

courted Ellyn playfully without any real hope of winning her, but when she is discovered aboard ship, dressed in the garb of a cabin boy, he is furious. To Will’s mind, Drake’s secret plot to attack the Spanish bullion supply in the New World is a means to the kind of wealth with which he might win a girl like Ellyn, but first and foremost it is an opportunity to avenge his brother Kit, taken hostage and likely tortured to death by the Spanish. For the sake of the mission he supports Drake’s plan to abandon Ellyn and her father on an island in the Caribbean until their mission is completed. But will love prove more important than revenge or gold?…”

Left. Mistress of the Sea makes No 6 in Waterstones Plymouth chart.

Above. Book signing in WHS Harpenden Oct 13. Store manager Allan Roberts with Jenny Barden.

Jenny has lived in Harpenden for over 28 years and Mistress of the Sea is her first published novel. The plot begins in Plymouth in 1570 when a young Ellyn Cooksley boards Francis Drake’s expedition ship, the Swan, as a stowaway. Jenny's website ( explains what happens next: "Also aboard the Swan is Will Doonan, Ellyn’s charming but socially inferior neighbour. Will has

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