Welcome – this is the official Rosie Thomas website.

Rosie Thomas was born and grew up in a small village in north Wales.

After winning a scholarship, she became a boarder at Howell’s School. The school had a strong tradition of music and games, but unfortunately Rosie had no aptitude for hockey and no enthusiasm for Gilbert and Sullivan choruses. She found the library instead … and read, and read. To feel an outsider and to be immersed in books was the ideal apprenticeship for a writer.

Rosie read English at St Hilda’s College Oxford, and for the first time in her life felt that she was in the right place at the right time. She still feels a debt to the remarkable women who taught her, and who encouraged her to think for herself.

After a few years of working in women’s magazines and for a publisher, and by now married to a literary agent, Rosie found herself at home with a new baby son and no job. To write a novel seemed the more promising of the options open to her.

Her first book was published in 1982, shortly after the birth of her daughter. She has been writing full time ever since, and that first novel has been followed by a score of others.

Rosie lives and writes in London, but she is also a keen traveller, mountaineer and skier. Among many adventures she has climbed in the Alps and the Himalayas, trekked in Pakistan, Ladakh and Bhutan, followed the Silk Route through Asia, worked on a research station in Antarctica, sailed the Atlantic, explored in Chile, and competed in a classic car rally from Peking to Paris. Most recently she has sailed the southern ocean from Falklands to South Georgia and then crossed the island in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Rosie believes now that her travelling and writing are interdependent, and that one informs and enables the other.

All along the road there are stories, waiting to be told.

Among her other interests, Rosie has been a Trustee of the London Library and of the facial reconstruction charity Saving Faces. She has chaired the Betty Trask Prize.

Her work has twice been awarded the Romantic Novel the Year, and recently The Kashmir Shawl won the epic category of the prize.

She is currently at work on a new book.

299 thoughts on “Welcome – this is the official Rosie Thomas website.

  1. I have just finished the Potters House, I loved every minute of it. Yes I was a tiny bit confused but almost got it. The earlier explanations confirmed what I had thought it to be.The Kashmir Shawl was a fabulous read and I intend to keep reading your books.
    Thank you for providing such great stories.

  2. I am from Egypt. Let’s just say “Iris & Ruby” is now my favorite topped book ever! I see a great deal of me and my grandmother in it. You’re way of writing breaks boundries beautifully. I cried, laughed and lived your words. How you meticulously drew modern and old Egypt, not a single wrong detail, how did you manage to do it? Because an English author just made an Egyptian reader fall in love with her Egypt again. Maybe I’m just a fan in a sea of others, but your words hit me so close to home. Thank you for the master piece, Rosie. Till we meet.

    • Hello Dina – what a wonderful message for an author to receive. You can’t imagine how delighted I am that an Egyptian woman read and enjoyed my book, found it convincing, and then took the trouble to write to me.
      I have visited Egypt a handful of times, just as a tourist, and it is a country and a culture that stays with me always. Cairo is such a fascinating city: the layers of history, the blend of ancient and modern, the teeming streets and always the nearness of the desert. I would go back tomorrow if I could! Iris&Ruby is of course about mothers and daughters, and the way that a grandmother/granddaughter bond can be such a strong one. I am so pleased it touched a chord with you. My very best wishes to you.

  3. Dear Rosie
    I am really enjoying your book ‘Sun at Midnight’ but I am disappointed in the phrase ‘Trevor threw his cigarette into the hedge’ (page 39) – it ‘sends out a bad signal’ & inculcates a shocking smokers’ habit. I wish all writers would stop ‘glorifying’ smoking (& drinking).
    All the best for 2019!!
    Knd rgds
    Louis Nel

  4. I have just read Sun at Midnight – it was completely absorbing, “unputdownable”. It brought back so many amazing memories of my own visit to the Antarctic peninsula. It was an enormous privilege to experience just one small area of that unique continent.

    • That is so good to hear, Jenny. Thank you for taking the time to let me know. I stayed for a summer season down at an Antarctic base while I was researching the book, and it remains one of my most memorable experiences. As you say, we are both incredibly fortunate to have spent a brief time in that enchanted, terrible place.

    • I have just finished Iris and Ruby and although I have never visited Egypt I echo everthing that Dina said – I feel as if I have experienced the sights, sounds and atmosphere of Cairo. Thank you so much for your novels – I can’t get enough of them, constantly seeking them out.

  5. I have just read The Potters House it was brilliant
    You are one of my favourite authors with your ability to draw the reader in so that they are living the book
    The Cashmere Shawl was another of your books that was outstanding and I shall read that book again
    I can lose myself in a book and I am an avid reader – much better than watching moving wallpaper on a television screen!
    Because I would have loved to travel more on my life I also devoured your Border Crossing and really lived that journey all the way

    • Kate, thank you for your message. The Potter’s House isn’t supposed be a difficult read, but it does need some attention or the story doesn’t make sense. I am so pleased to hear that you enjoyed the book, and have also remembered some of the other 20-odd titles. Border Crossing is a bit different, but if you like seeing the world…Phil and I certainly did that. I often think back to those adventures.
      All best wishes to you.

  6. Bonjour Rosie,
    J’ai bien aimé vos livres, brumes du Caire, le châle de cachemire et Constance.
    Quand sortez vous un nouveau livre de ce genre.
    J’ai hâte de lire une nouvelle histoire venant de vous.
    Sylvie-bijou@hotmail.be

  7. Hi Rosie
    I met you a couple of years ago at the Frinton-On-Sea literary tea. I told you that I had been an avid reader of everything that you wrote since you were first published. I also mentioned that I am a writer and before I was even aware of The Wonderful The Illusionists I had written the first draft of a novel set in the world of magic.
    I wrote another novel and recently returned to this one. I need to describe a few acts designed to show the quirky character of the magicians assistant among other things.
    I have done some research at the British Library but I am getting bogged down. How did you go about this and were there any magic journals or reference books that you found particularly helpful?

    • Hi Deborah – good question! I didn’t find a lot of valuable material either. I’m a member of the London Library and i think I found a biography of Robert-Houdin there. I also read some peripheral stuff about the inter-War spiritualists, and a couple of other random things about poltergeists and spirit rapping, mostly about how the ‘authenticity’ was exposed as trickery. I seem to remember that mostly I looked at modern tricks on Youtube, particularly Penn & Teller, who are quite generous about revealing the mechanics. Then I sort of antiqued them, if you see what I mean. But in general I just made it up, particularly the things about the dwarf, and the automata. If I have any real advice, it is not to get too caught up in facts. You are the magician in all of this, and you can claim whatever you want!
      Good luck
      Rosie

      • Hi Rosie
        Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I too am a member of the British Library and recognise the references you have used. I also found the Penn and Teller explanations on U Tiube. So my research has taken me on a similar journey to yours.
        What is most helpful in your reply is your reassurance and permission to be a bit creative and not to worry too much about technical details. Thank you!
        I have loved everything you have written. You are an inspiration.
        Best wishes
        Deborah

  8. Bonjour Rosie,
    J’aimerais savoir quand vous sortirez un nouveau livre du genre châle de Cachemire, brumes du Caire, et Constance. J’ai beaucoup aimé ce genre de livre car j’avais été dans ces pays.
    Il y a de si beau pays pour raconter une nouvelle histoire.
    Je vous souhaite une bonne soirée?
    Sylvie-bijou@hotmail.be

  9. Hello Rosie! I have just read “the potter’s house” and I couldn’t let it down for a minute. I found the brillantly drawn characters and plot totally absorbing. Another reason for my keen interest is….. I recognized the Greek island in which the story is set. Although the castle and old village are miles away from the harbour and the square is a little different, there are too many clues, it was unmistakable for a reader who fell in love with this island a long time ago now. Is it too personal to ask how long you stayed on the island yourself? Has the book been translated into Greeek and are the islanders aware you wrote a novel with their beautiful place as a setting?
    All best wishes to you,
    Florence

    • Hello Florence, I am so pleased you enjoyed The Potter’s House, and that the landscape resonated with your own memories. This fictional version of a Greek island is a hybrid of several I have visited and loved over many years – mostly Lemnos, Symi and in particular Tilos. I spent a short winter on the latter, living in a little flat on the harbour front, in order to research the book. It was quite lonely; there were very few other English-speaking out-of-season residents and I was there on my own. But it was good in many ways, and I remember it vividly – particularly the bare-bones emptiness.
      Thank you for getting touch.

  10. I have just read and thoroughly enjoyed The White Dove. It taught me so much. It was particularly poignant as I’ve read it in hospital over the last 3 weeks watching my Mum;s health deteriorate to the point were she’s no longer conscious and we expect the worst news any minute but she’s still hanging in. My paternal grandfather was in the Gresford disaster. The soles of his shoes melted and he lost his eyebrows and eyelashes. He ended up in the infamous hospital in Denbigh. My Taid (maternal grandfather) was due to work that night but he swapped shifts with a pal who wanted to watch Wrexham play football – he died. I first became aware of your work circa 1988 when I read Bad Girls, Good Women. I’ve probably read half of your novels and am now on a mission to complete them. I live in Mold.

    • Lynne, thank you so much for taking the time to write this message. I am so sorry to hear that your Mum is failing: I send my best wishes and sympathy to you and your family.
      Thank you too for your family history about the Gresford disaster. So long ago now, but it still touches the past of almost all of us who grew up in that corner of Wales. Did you go to Mold Alun? I did, just for a year. Many years since I lived in Flintshire, but even as longtime Londoners my partner (Jewish/Greek) and I are ‘nain and taid’ to my tiny granddaughters! They like it because it sounds different…
      Enjoy all your reading, incl. the Rosie Thomas project. Thank you again.

  11. Hi Rosie,
    I moved house two years ago with my books!!
    Many many books!
    I am now unpacking them to put into the bookshelves.
    Many years ago I read lots of your books ;’White’ and ‘The Potters House’, my favourites!
    I have10! and I shall now re-read them.
    Thankyou for writing them!
    Many Thanks,
    Katrina

    • Hello Katrina – this is a wonderful message, thank you! I’m so happy to think that you packed my books into a box, stored them, and then took them out and replaced them on your shelves. You could so easily have just made a trip to the charity shop….
      Wishing you every happiness in your new book-filled home, and all kinds of pleasurable and stimulating reading in the future.

  12. Hi Rosie, I have been reading White Dove and am nearly at the end. So moving and I am enjoying it immensely. I have read most of your books but this one was out of print and I managed to get it secondhand. It was in a bad state but sellotape has its uses! Do keep writing your inspiring novels, they are a treat to read. Best wishes, Valerie

    • Hi Valerie – so glad you found a copy, and went to the trouble of repairing it! I was particularly pleased to get your message because it alerted me to The White Dove being out of print. This isn’t supposed to happen – so I will check with the publishers.
      Best wishes, and thank you.

  13. The Kashmir Shawl is a fantastic read. I love the way all the threads come together over the course of the book – just as a Kashmir Shawl is woven from multiple
    threads.

  14. For Rosie – from her cousin Peter MacIntyre. Just to let you know that sadly Ian died very suddenly last Thursday. No further details at present. I would ask that you let Matt know ( and Lindsay – although Lindsay may not remember him).

    Trust this finds you well,

    best wishes,

    Peter

    • Oh Peter, my dear, I am so sorry to hear this saddest news and I send you love and sympathy to you and all your families, on my own behalf and also from Matthew and Lindsay.
      I have a number for Billie in Edinburgh, but only Ian’s email. My email is rosie@dircon.co.uk
      My warmest wishes
      Janey

  15. Dear Janey/Rosie,
    I am about to finish reading “A woman of our times”, and I wanted to tell you that I admired this woman, Harriet…
    I am from Argentina and I beg your pardon because of my bad spelling…
    Yours sincerely
    Graciela Orlando

    • Hello Graciela, I am so pleased to hear that Harriet’s story struck a chord for you. Please don’t apologise for your immaculate spelling and English!
      Best wishes.

    • Hi Sylvia, thank you for your message. So pleased you like the books, and many thanks for recommending them to others.
      I am working on something, but it is going s-l-o-w-l-y!
      Best wishes, and enjoy your reading.

  16. I’m currently reading the Kashmir shawl. It reminds me that I had a Kashmir shawl as a baby. My uncle brought it back fromIndia where he was posted during the war. As a little girl I wrapped my teddy in it. She was made by another uncle as there were no teddies in 1945. I’d love to see my shawl now, but I guess it wore out and was thrown away. O. Sure it wouldn’t be the very expensive version. Love the book. Will read more

    • Hi Lorraine, what a great message – I love the thought of a handmade teddy wrapped in a precious shawl. I think it would have been a good one, since there were no mass-produced items for the tourist trade in those days. It would have been a young woman’s dowry, perhaps, woven and embroidered and kept in a cedar chest ready for her wedding day. Ah, how lovely these histories are.
      Best wishes to you.

    • Hello Rosemary, how is life with you? Very good to receive your message, and apologies for being under the radar for so long.
      The truth is that I hadn’t realised just HOW much time being a grandmother would absorb, and how much energy too… you will know all this, of course. I have three tiny little girls now, from two families, and my daughter in particular really needs my help. So a new book is on the back burner for the time being. But this isn’t to say that this situation will last for ever!
      All best wishes to you and yours.

      • Hi Rosie. Three little girls? Oh, wonderful! But jolly hard work, as you say. We wouldn’t change it for the world though, would we? My adored GD is now 11 and will be going to senior school in September. Unfortunately, owing to the dreaded virus, she and her classmates have finished school today, and whether they will have their final term at primary school is anyone’s guess. She is most upset at probably missing out on her junior prom which she has already designed her dress for! 🙂 However, although the world is at odds with itself at the moment, it is moments like this which make it easier to carry on, as I’m sure you have already found out. Good luck, my dear Rosie, and I wish you and yours a lifetime of happy memories.

  17. Hello!
    I’ve read your 6 most recent novels.
    Please write another!
    I desperately need new reading material.

    Best regards from Cincinnati,Ohio!

    Karla

  18. Hi Rosie,
    I read The Kashmir Shawl years ago which I adored, actually I’ve read ALL your books and await a new one please! Recently during my genealogy research I have found a sepia photo of a Kashmir house boat 1912, with a lady & 2 children posing on it along with Kashmiri gentlemen. If you’d like to see it I’ll be happy to share it. Ellie

    • Thank you Ellie, what a lovely thought – I am always interested in Srinagar history, particularly as matters there are not so cheering at present.
      Apologies for no new book for a while: I am caught up in family affairs, and don’t have much time for writing. I hope this will change before too long…
      Best wishes.

  19. Hi, I’ve read all of your books and thoroughly enjoyed each and every one. Are we going to have the joy of a new one soon? Please…..

    • Pam, very good to hear from you and I apologise for being rather absent from the scene at present. I have a new call on my time: it’s called being a grandmother, and I don’t have a lot of capacity for my own work for the time being. However, this is likely to change…. once a writer, always a writer.
      Best wishes to you.

  20. “Lovers and Newcomers” – I have just finished reading this book. I have found it really good to dip into and become involved with during these past few weeks, which have had their worrying times for us. Thank you – a good book is a precious thing.

    • Good to hear that you enjoyed Lovers and Newcomers, Susan.
      I agree – there is nothing like being absorbed in a book to make the real world seem a less dismal place.
      Best wishes.

  21. Dear Rosie,
    I have just finished reading the Kashmir Shawl novel which I picked up in bc a Hotel in Egypt of all places. It has kept me company in a couple of airport boarding gates and finally left me at my daughters house in the Uk. I had never heard of your books before but found it an extremely interesting and a well researched book particularly through your adventurous travel escapades which I understand you are still pursuing.
    Thank you

    • Hello Helen – delighted to hear that you enjoyed The Kashmir Shawl. If you are interested in reading another Rosie Thomas, you might try Iris and Ruby, which is set in Egypt….
      All best wishes

  22. Hello Helen Jefferis, Well you started with the best first!!
    Having visited Egypt, I recommend that you read Iris & Ruby now. I thought I’d read all Rosie’s books, and just realised I’d missed reading The White Dove which I’m jjust completing. I liked Sun at Midnight, White, Constance, Moon Island, but adored the very different The Illusionists then followed sequel Daughter of the House.
    The 1st I ever read was nearly 20 years ago – Strangers left by a guest in my house, and then I read A Simple life. Enjoy ‘your Rosie journey’!

  23. So enjoy reading your books. Have read some of them twice! Look forward to a new book if and when you feel able to write another one. Thank you so much for so many pleasurable hours. PS. My husband who seldom picks up a book but has done so during the current lockdown is also an admirer of your style of writing.

  24. Hi Rosie we have been asked to read for our Wordsworth house book club your book title Bees but I don’t seem to be able to find it

  25. Dear Rosie

    I love your book The Kashmir Shawl. It is like a security blanket! Your descriptions of the landscape are really wonderful, and I can see it in my minds eye.

    I have two small queries: firstly, how do you pronounce Eirlys, and secondly what Is afternoon bread? I have been intrigued since my first reading of the book, since the bread sounds so delicious, would like to try it!

    Lois Hoyle

    • Hi Lois – good to hear from you, and I am so pleased you enjoyed The Kashmir Shawl. Eirlys is a Welsh name and means approximately snowdrop, I think…. the nearest pronunciation would be something like ayerrrliss.
      They bake all day in Srinagar, from first light until afternoon, so the afternoon bread is a fresh as the morning’s but (I think I recall this correctly, it is some time now since I was there!) but a bit sweeter and heavier.
      All best wishes to you.

  26. Evening Rosie, I have been reading Moon Island and I can not put it down, cant wait to find out with each chapter what will happen next. I have read upto and including chapter 9 only to find out that chapter 10 is missing it is just a complete copy of chapter 7. Is there anyway I can find out what happens in chapter 10 without getting another copy of the book?
    Many thanks

  27. Dear Rosie,
    Loved all of your books. I enjoyed the various types of novels you have written over the years. Take time writing your new novel!
    All good wishes.

    Carl

  28. Hi Rosie.
    I believe I met you in the late 1980’s, when a mutual friend, Sean Quinn introduced us? I have news of him, that I’m not sure if you have heard or not. I know he thought the world of you.

  29. I have just finished reading the Kashmir Shawl …..what a fantastic book……it makes me want to travel there myself thank you for a great read to take me into another world away from these uncertain times

  30. Dear Rosie love your books have just re read Iris and Ruby – my favourite of all your books my dear dad was stationed in Cairo Egypt during the war and because of your brilliant description of life in Egypt at that time it made me feel so close to him I have also just re read White and loved it all over again I introduced my daughter to your books Iris and Ruby being her favourite
    Enjoy your beautiful grandchildren they are a joy

    Best wishes
    Margaret

  31. Hi Rosie,
    I have just read The Kashmir Shawl. A friend thought I would enjoy it because of a book I published in 2018 called ‘Yaks and Cataracts’, which was written by my mother and grandmother, telling the story of my grandparents’ time as Moravian missionaries in Leh over the First World War. It struck me very forceably that some of the descriptions in your book are very similar to those in their book, despite the difference in time. I have never been to Ladakh and was thinking of going this year: well, that didn’t happen!

    • Hello Gillian, thank you for your message. Yaks and Cataracts sounds fascinating, I will try to track down a copy. Ladakh is
      amazing, you will love it, especially with your family history. SOON we shall all be able to travel again!
      Sending you best wishes, and enjoy your reading.

  32. Dear Rosie, your book “White” is my beautiful wife’s favourite book of all time. I am hoping against all hope that I could purchase one from yourself signed. Is there anyway that this is possible?

  33. Hi Rosie. How are you and your family? I hope you are all in good health and keeping busy. This year has to go down as the absolute worst year in living memory! Never before have I appreciated books and reading than ever in my life, I have immersed myself in travel through the written word and feel really sorry for those that don’t read. The times Ive blessed you and your writing are times without measure! I do hope that 2021 brings us all relief from this terrible virus and we can all resume our ‘normal’ lives and relationships again. A Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • Hello Rosemary, great to hear from you. I hope 2021 will bring you and your family, and all of us, better and more connected times.
      I miss seeing people, and hearing their stories, and all the ordinary little transactions of life. But this WILL be over soon. In the
      meantime, enjoy your reading, as always ….

  34. I am from Bulgaria. I reread constantly White. I try to continue to believe that one can meet people with such depth in one’s ordinary life. I sincerely regret that my English level does not allow me to reed your books in original. I am really lucky to find you as an author! Thank you! I sincerely admire you!
    A Happy New Year to you!

    • Thank you so much, Svetlana. My Bulgarian friends and St Kliment Ochridski Antarctic Station are very precious memories
      for the time I spent down there – so if you like WHITE you might like SUN AT MIDNIGHT, which is set in Antarctica. Best wishes
      and enjoy your reading!

  35. Rosie! I’m not sure if this is still an active website or not or if you’ll get to read this?
    Just incase you do see it, I wanted to pop you a not to say how gorgeous your stories are. Last summer I devoured Iris & Ruby and was genuinely quite upset when it had finished. Left such a hole of “nothing else is going to be as good”. Currently reading The Potters House and it’s a delightful escape from this rainy cold day to be whisked away to Greece, I can feel the sun on my face reading it! You’ve got a very special gift as you make the reader be wherever your story is. Utterly beautiful books, I can’t wait to read some more of your titles. Xx

    • Hi Nikki! The website is intermittently active, me very much so. Thank you so much for your kind message.
      Totally agree we need books to escape into in these dismal and grey days. Have you tried The Kashmir Shawl or
      Constance? Sending you best wishes, and enjoy your reading.

      • The Kashmir Shawl I think I started but didn’t finish (through no reason other than I misplaced the book!) but from memory I was definitely enjoying it before I lost it! So after I’ve finished The Potters House, I’ll be downloading that onto the kindle! Constance, no I haven’t read but am planning on devouring all of your books, you’re so good at writing! Thanks so much for sharing your gift x

      • The Kashmir Shawl I think I started but didn’t finish (through no reason other than I misplaced the book!) but from memory I was definitely enjoying it before I lost it! So after I’ve finished The Potters House, I’ll be downloading that onto the kindle! Constance, no I haven’t read but am planning on devouring all of your books, you’re so good at writing! Thanks so much for sharing your gift x

  36. Janey, do not know if you will see this, but it is no surprise you are one of the UK’s most successful authors. I knew you when you were already successful in publishing and when we both worked at A&C Black. I wish you continued success and happiness in your life. Best wishes,
    Deb (Bell)

    • Hello Deb, what a lovely surprise to hear from you, and I am disappointed you didn’t tell me more about what happened after A&C Black! Thank you for your good wishes, much appreciated, and I hope that all is well with you even in these weird days.

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