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Foolish Heroines

by June Wentland

A joyful and uplifting debut novel.

Janina Reston is a language expert, translating fiendishly tricky Arabic and Asian mathematical and scientific texts. Words are her world. But she can’t find any to share with her husband Owen. Instead, she confides in a spider named Gladys (who may or may not be her deceased grandmother).

She lives in an ordinary city suburb where extraordinary things happen. Lily’s husband dies in a strange accident with a milk bottle, while Fatima writes biographies of unknown people living seemingly inconsequential lives, and Zosia – whose most daring adventure thus far has been replacing jelly and ice cream with lemon meringue pie – runs off to Delhi with an Asian Women’s Sewing Group.

Written with zest, zeal and humour, June Wentland’s debut novel is a surreal journey through the avenues and alleyways of everyday life. But forget dull domesticity. This is a suburb where dense jungle leaves creep through the patio door when you’re putting the kettle on, where porcelain shepherdesses have evil intent, and where a seven-legged arachnid can be a wise companion for a woman at the end of her tether.

'I was soon carried away by June's wonderfully rich prose, and the fascinating juxtaposition of the everyday with the wildly fantastic, the quotidian realities of family life and relationships with the extravagance of our hidden inner lives. Foolish Heroines is a beautifully written, wonderfully bizarre exploration of middle age, long-term relationships and all the things we think but rarely say.'
— Katherine Webb


June Wentland is an ordinary woman who believes that extraordinary things can happen if you keep your eyes peeled and your heart open to new possibilities. She grew up in Hull, moving to Manchester and Bristol before settling in Wiltshire. June has worked in community development and outreach for libraries as well as being a rather lacklustre waitress and on an assembly line sticking tassels onto lampshades.

She has had stories televised and published by the BBC and her poetry has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies. Her first novel, Foolish Heroines, was published by Valley Press in September 2021.


Edition: First

Date Published: 2021-09-16

ISBN: 9781912436637

Catalogue Number: VP0184

Number of Pages: 210

Cover design: Peter Barnfather
Commissioning editor: Jo Haywood

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