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.

249 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. 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

      • 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

  7. 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?

  8. 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,

    • 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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,

    • 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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,


    • 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

    • 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.

  13. 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

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