Finding Jess – Julia Ibbotson

Now a single mother, Jess, has struggled to get her life back on track after the betrayal of her beloved husband and of her best friend. On the brink of losing everything, including her family, and still haunted by her past and the Ghanaian drumbeats that pervade her life, she feels that she can no longer trust anyone. Then she is mysteriously sent a newspaper clipping of a temporary job back in Ghana. Could this be her lifeline? Can Jess turn back time and find herself again before it’s too late? And what, exactly, will she find?

Finding Jess is a passionate study of love and betrayal – and of one woman’s bid to reclaim her self-belief and trust after suffering great misfortune. It is a feel-good story of a woman’s strength and spirit rising above adversity.

This is the finale of Jess’s story, the third novel of the acclaimed Drumbeats trilogy:


Walking in the Rain

Finding Jess



Guest post

Today I let the author do the talking about Madeira . Enjoy!


Location Madeira

There are two locations that are my favourite settings for my books: Madeira and Ghana. Both are hot, tropical, and fascinating in history, atmosphere and character.

My husband and I spend as much time as we can on the beautiful island of Madeira, with its birds of paradise, bougainvillea, and jacaranda trees, the smell of pine and eucalyptus, and the sounds of street traders and fado. When we first stayed there, the airport was tiny, the runway so short that pilots landing had to jam the plane into reverse throttle as soon as the front wheels touched the ground so that it didn’t zoom down the landing strip and off the end into the ocean. Hairy, but we fell in love with the place at once. There were no big auto-routes in those days and most of the twisting roads clung to the edge of the cliffs so that driving was rather precarious, and a heart-stopping business. These days it’s a much larger, more modern airport and there are good motorways, but the island still retains its old character, its past living on in its present.

My work-in-progress is set in Madeira and is provisionally titled Azulejo, after the blue Moorish ceramics so characteristic of this Portuguese island. It’s a medieval multi-period mystery which follows on from A Shape in the Air which was published by Endeavour in summer 2017, and which is a dark ages time-slip mystery. Azulejo, with the same main characters, is set in the present day, the 14th century and the 16th century and reflects the earlier parts of Madeira’s history: the story of Sir Robert Machyn and Lady Ana d’Arafet shipwrecked on the island as they fled to France, and then later the nuns of the Santa Clara convent who took shelter from pirates in the volcanic interior. These stories and that of Dr Viv DuLac in the present day are linked as three women reach out to each other across the centuries.

I love to help the reader to really feel they are living in that time and place, so I use all the senses to locate them there. I’m so thrilled when reviewers say that the sights, sounds and smells, as well as the historic period, are conjured up vividly. That’s the sort of book I like to read myself!

I’m currently promoting my latest book which has nothing to do with Madeira but everything to do with location. Finding Jess is the last of my Drumbeats trilogy, published this summer, and is set in England and Ghana, like the first two. Drumbeats starts in Ghana in 1965, a coming of age story against the backdrop of civil war. Then comes Walking in the Rain and Finding Jess completes Jess’s story and is, I hope, a feel-good tale of a woman’s strength and spirit rising above adversity. I hope that if you read Finding Jess, you too will feel immersed in this fascinating country.

Thank you, Julia Ibbotson and LoveBooksGroup.


About the author

Award-winning author Julia Ibbotson is fascinated by the medieval world and concepts of time travel. She studied English at Keele University, specialising in medieval language, literature and history, and has a PhD in linguistics. She wrote her first novel at 10, but became a school teacher, then university lecturer and researcher. Julia spent a turbulent but exciting time in Ghana, West Africa, teaching and nursing. She has published both academic works and fiction, including a medieval time-slip, a children’s novel , a memoir, and the Drumbeats trilogy (which begins in Ghana in the 1960s). Apart from insatiable reading, Julia loves world travel, choral singing, swimming, yoga, and walking in the UK and Madeira where she and her husband divide their time. She runs an editing/critiquing service for authors: details on her website. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Society of Authors and the Historical Novel Society.

You can find her at


Author website:


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Pinterest page: includes boards with pics and images that inspired each book

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