My speech from last night’s launch party for Chelsea Wives and their Mistresses at Jean Paul Gaultier, South Kensington.
We are here to celebrate the publication of Sarah Bramley’s debut novel, and it is certainly a novel with an intriguing title: Chelsea Wives and their Mistresses. I hope it stirs curiosity as well as a frisson of scandal, or even a little outrage among the purists in our society.
As the publisher of the book, I am in no doubt that Sarah’s honesty and courage in tantalising us with her hints of a close approximation between herself and one of her main characters, so intertwining the fictional side with autobiographical digression, will add a special incentive for the reading public to acquire the book.
Surely she must have been inspired by the old sixteenth-century saying, ‘Tell the truth and shame the Devil!’ What does this indicate to us about the author? That she has the chutzpah and the determination to make her mark as a good story-teller without deferring to the hypocritical restraints of our so-called respectable establishment.
Quartet was obviously the appropriate venue for her to approach in looking for a publisher. She did this with a degree of panache, delivering the manuscript in person to the offices in Goodge Street, clad for the purpose in an outfit that complemented her effervescent personality.
The manuscript was immediately dispatched to my private office in Shepherd Market for perusal and a decision. I read it through over the weekend and felt that, with a little editorial guidance, her story would be one well worth publishing. The impression was reinforced when I met her for the first time. My instinct was that here was someone who was certainly promotable. And I was certainly right.
Let’s hope now that Sarah achieves the success she so earnestly seeks in her story of the limitations and alternatives of passionate involvement. And that her many friends see the potential of her talent starting to blossom from deep within the boundaries of her aura.
Above all, I urge them to support her in the best way possible by buying copies of her book and to spread the word-of-mouth recommendation, in ever-widening circles, that she has written something to engage the lively attention of every enlightened reader.
My message is pure and simple: dig deep in your pockets and show us that you care, for Sarah is a loveable new author who I am sure will not let us down.