Philippa Blake

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Biographical Notes

Philippa Blake was born in Nairobi, Kenya. At the age of seven she was sent to boarding school in England and commuted back to Kenya for the holidays. Throughout childhood she wrote poems, plays and stories.

Her first published fiction was a short story, The Bougainvillea in 'She' magazine in 1982. In the same year Jacintha Alexander agreed to represent her. She is now represented by Julian Alexander, of L.A.W.

Philippa has worked in the City of London since 1978 and was formerly Head of the Private Client Department of Taylor Wessing and past Chairman of The Society Trust and Estate Practitioners.

In 1986 Philippa was a runner-up winner of the Betty Traske Award for her first novel Mzungu's Wife which was published by The Bodley Head in 1987 and Coronet paperback in 1988.

Three more novels followed: Looking Out (The Bodley Head 1989, Coronet 1990); Waiting for the Sea to be Blue (Orion 1996), Heat of the Moment (Orion 1997). In 1996 Philippa was co-author and editor of Know-How for Trust and Estate Practitioners (FT Law and Tax) and has contributed technical as well as light-hearted articles to legal journals on the subject of trusts and trustee investment.

Philippa is a member of the Society of Authors, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, Chief Executive of MT Fund Management Limited and trustee of a number of charitable foundations and family trusts. She lives and writes in London and the Algarve and, whenever possible, aboard an Oyster 435.

Heat of the Moment

Michael's life has been mapped out. Eton, Cambridge, a promising career in the City - he has disappointed no-one. All that is missing is a suitable wife - a girl with breeding and good sense who will live with him at Highhurst, drive the estate car, entertain his family and friends and talk vaguely and grandly of school fees and share options.

And then he meets Olivia. Breathtakingly frank, headstrong and utterly unconventional, she confounds Michael's expectations and turns his well ordered life upside down. Falling in love offers greater happiness than he had ever dreamed of, and also brings pain and uncertainty.

When Olivia disappears in a remote African desert, Michael abandons his City life to go and search for her. Nothing has prepared him for the journey that lies ahead - a journey that will demand courage and a personal tenacity which he didn't know he possessed. From his drab hotel room in Nairobi to a remote mission in the scorching desert, Michael follows a trail of torment and personal tragedy as he unravels a terrible family secret…..

Waiting for the Sea to be Blue

There is a code among thieves….. Fraud has no such code, no such companions. There is no weapon, no mask. The essence is to mislead, to look innocent even in the deed, to have the trappings of innocence. A burglar will say that fraud is dishonest.

On the face of it, Teddy Ransome has everything . Looks, charisma, health, a partnership in a prestigious law firm, a devoted wife who loves to enhance their ancestral home in Wiltshire; two handsome sons and his beloved daughter Crystal at public school; and a discreet mistress for the week-nights in town.

But this perfect lifestyle is built on lies. Born on the tropical island of Pentecost, but banished at seven from the vibrant mother and the life he loved to the grey austerity of England, Teddy is determined to give his family the secure plenty he lacked as a child. And so he begins borrowing from the clients who trust him and, slowly, his fraud spirals out of control.

With its evocative locations, sympathetic characters and spare, compassionate style, Waiting for the Sea to be Blue" exposes the disfiguring scars of childhood in an enthralling, touching novel.

A beautifully written novel about human frailty. Highly recommended. Books Magazine

I enjoyed this book; it is fast-paced and once you get immersed in Teddy's wranglings, quite gripping. As his downfall unfolds, disturbing elements of his childhood are revealed through some wonderfully emotive and descriptive language. Justine Stevenson, Woking News and Mail

Looking Out

In a tumbledown cottage overlooking the English Channel, Liam McGuinness lives alone, fighting to survive on the meagre income he makes from his paintings. When his terrorist brother offers him a steady income in return for providing a 'safe house' and running the occasional errand to London, Liam doesn't ask too many questions.

Across the bay is another cottage, the holiday home of a City banker, Henry Alland. It is there that Henry tells his new love, Suzannah, that he will abandon everything - his wife, his two sons, his smart London home - to be with her. Ignoring her own misgivings, and the warnings of others, Suzannah sets about befriending Henry's children, trying to make a place for herself in their lives.

From their two sides of the bay, Liam and Suzannah spend one summer facing up to the consequences of their actions. For Liam a dramatic choice reveals that his passive support for terrorism has far greater significance than he has allowed himself to believe, while Suzannah, taking on the role of a surrogate wife and mother, learns that family ties are not easily made or broken.

Looking Out is an original and compelling novel about facing up to responsibility and acknowledging the consequences of action, however painful the process may be.

..what seems to start out as an unambitious Home Counties tale gains complexity and interest. A good story, well told. Publishing News

….there is much original and arresting writing here…. I look forward to her next novel very much, and, if she will allow me, would suggest that a film director might find Looking Out a ready-made blockbuster. Richard Jeffcoat, Literary Review

Mzungu's Wife

East Africa in 1978. For Patrick Whitman, Independence has changed very little. In the tea hills overlooking the Rift Valley, the reign of the mzungu continues unchallenged. Well looked after by his servants, Patrick finds the life of a tea planter arduous but pleasant. There is only one thing missing: it is time he had a wife.

On leave in England, he meets Julia; young, pretty an inexperienced. For her, Patrick's tales of Africa, and his pictures of life in Ledorot in a beautiful house surrounded by servant appear as a kind of paradise. Left alone in the world after the death of her mother, she agrees to marry him.

But Patrick's Africa is not the place she dreamed of. His paradise becomes a prison, and Patrick himself her warder. The only liberty she finds is in the forbidden company of a servant's son, but even this freedom is false. By imperceptible degrees, the servant's friendship turns into tyranny.

In this vivid and deftly written first novel, Philippa Blake shows that the contentions needed to maintain colonial ways in a post-colonial age are inimical to those of an open and developing society, and that below the placid surface, a frightening violence lurks.

Philippa Blake's first novel is confidently written and she conveys the awfulness of Ledorot and Julia's growing desperation with a shrewd economy of detail. Miranda Seymour, The Sunday Times

The book avoids overstatement of its fundamental racial themes and weaves an intricate plot under the stifling subdued violence of white mischief and the hot African sun. Publishing News

Blake's portrayal of the twilight of white supremacy in black Africa provides a powerful debut for a woman who is clearly a new author of great promise. Her deft touch and easy style brings this dying breed of Britons abroad to life in a truly vivid and moving way. This lady is definitely one to watch. Jane Gough, Western Morning News

Blake illustrates the inadequacy of colonial ways in a post-colonial age…. Alice Thompson, Glasgow Herald

Interestingly this was short-listed for the Betty Trask award for romantic fiction, for there is very little romance here beyond the first few pages…..A vivid and disturbing picture of modern Africa Bookworld.

Know-How for Trust and Estate Practitioners

This book offers you 'hands on' practical guidance on situations which you frequently encounter in practice. As well as basic topics such as understanding trust documents, trust administration and post-death planning, other matters such as structuring the department, building up a client base, marketing and competition are also discussed.

Complete with a comprehensive set of precedents including specimen accounts, annual review checklists, specimen affidavits and useful addresses, you will find this work invaluable in developing a successful practice.

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