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A Petrol Scented Spring

Ajay Close

A Petrol Scented Spring by Ajay Close


I still don’t know whether he was done for before we met, whether his heart was already claimed, or smashed. Whether the love story pieced together in these pages is mine, or hers.

The day after her wedding, Donella Ferguson Watson wakes up shackled to a man haunted by the past. The lonely days become weeks, months. Her husband Hugh, a prison doctor, will offer no explanation for their sexless marriage. She comes to suspect the answer lies with a hunger-striking suffragette who was force fed and held in solitary confinement. But what really happened between Hugh and his prisoner patient?

A Petrol Scented Spring is a riveting novel of repression, jealousy and love, and the struggle for women’s emancipation.

RRP: £8.99
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781910124611
Publication Date: 17/09/2015
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Ajay Close
Born in Sheffield, Ajay Close worked as a newspaper journalist, winning several awards, before becoming a full-time author and playwright. Her first novel, Official and Doubtful, was longlisted for the...


‘A fascinating insight into one of the most compelling stories in the history of the women’s suffrage movement.’

The Times

‘Ajay Close's writing hums with an electric tension, her dialogue is superb, as is her insight into the complex mix of human imagination and emotion. This is a truly gripping novel, one which had me totally involved with the lives of the central characters.’

Scottish Review

‘Uncompromising in its honesty and compelling in its narration . . . Ajay Close has hit on a real-life story that may prove to be one of the gems of the year.’

The Herald

‘Cunningly constructed and well written.’

The Sunday Times

‘A captivating and nuanced read . . . Close writes witty and humorous dialogue that has the duck, dive and jab of a boxing match between characters.’

Scottish Review of Books

‘A thought-provoking and revealing read . . . Close’s sophisticated writing is never less than engrossing.’

The Scotsman

‘Turbulent scenes on the streets of Perth a century ago are brought to life in a new novel about the struggle for women’s votes.’

Dundee Courier

‘An engrosssing read filled with rich relationships and keen observations.’

Buzz Magazine

‘Novelist Ajay Close looks behind the satin sashes at the women who wanted the vote enough to break the law and risk their lives. Her new novel A Petrol Scented Spring is based on a true story she uncovered as a writer-in-residence in Perth.’

The Daily Record

‘A beautifully written, accomplished novel that vibrates with authenticity. If you are looking for a novel that brings you into another world and leaves you thinking about it for days after you finish, this is it.’

Bottle Imp, the Best Scottish Books of 2015

‘Ajay Close is brilliant.’

Fay Weldon

‘Inventing a fictional narrative for her real-life principals, Close writes with breathless wit, dizzying passion, a quick sympathy for her two heroines, and an unflinching eye for the mechanics of the medical procedures inflicted on prisoners of conscience. ’

Kirkus Reviews

Latest News

Ajay Close longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize

We're very pleased to announce that A Petrol Scented Spring has been longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. The longlist announcement coincides with the appointment of two...