It is 1860: four lives intertwine. Chrissy Hogarth is arrested in St Dunstan's church while a blizzard blows outside. Lokim - a gentle herdsman - is attacked by a lion in the heat of central Africa. James Stewart - a medical student - tutors the children of the great David Livingstone, while in Dundee Mina Stephen - the daughter of a rich shipbuilder - nurses a growing social conscience.
Before they meet, Chrissy must remember a traumatic event and Lokim will suffer the privations of a terrible journey. James must face the realities of life and death on the Zambezi and Mina will learn that a dark secret is concealed within her privileged family home.
Based around events described in contemporary letters, journals and a 1908 biography, Dappled Light captures the idealism of Stewart whose reputation was damaged by rumours of a relationship with Mary Livingstone, but who went on to dedicate his many talents to the ending of slavery, the advancement of education and the promotion of racial equality.
Jessica has been inspired by Emma Donoghue, Kate Grenville and Matthew Kneale. Dappled Light will appeal to fans of historical fiction.
Jessica Markwell was born in Ghana in 1954. After graduating from Manchester University with a degree in Medieval Studies, she worked as an archaeologist, a nurse, a midwife and a family mediator. She now lives high on a hillside in mid Wales with her husband and two chocolate Labradors.