Local author at Bowness book club

Kendal writer Jo Horsley is to be guest speaker at our Bowness book club on Wednesday this week (July 12).

Jo, who is a popular Pilates instructor in the town, is the the author of The Girl In the Purple Dress. It’s her own story, the experience of being an adopted child. And 25% of the profits from the sales are going to UK children’s charity Coram.

The book club is held once a month at the Burn How Hotel and is open to all, with no requirement to read a particular book or turn up every time. “It’s just about the love of books, and the love of meeting writers, and talking with them about their work,” says organiser Vicky Robinson.

Previous speakers have included the top crime writer Martin Edwards, the poet Kerry Darbishire, romantic novelist Suzanne Snow, and adventurer Heather Dawe.

Jo Horsley (pictured above) was born in 1969 and grew up in Hertfordshire, and her book tells how she was adopted into a clergyman’s family with six other children. Jo went on to be a very successful and highly valued Nursery Nurse. She then travelled internationally with her husband, where she discovered a new love for helping others through teaching Pilates, helping  others to transform their bodies and lives. Jo eventually returned to the UK, settling in Kendal,  where her daughter Emily and her granddaughter Daisy May now also live. 

Coram is the UK’s oldest children’s charity, supporting children to have the best possible chance in life since 1739. Jo’s biological mother had contacted them for help as she was a single mother receiving no support from her family or Jo’s father, who had abandoned her. Coram provided her with some breathing space to try and help her work out what was best for her and Jo which proved very valuable support at the time. Years later, Jo contacted Coram to help understand more about her early life and found that they had comprehensive records and photos of her time at Coram, and helped her learn more about her birth mother.

Rachael Corns, Supporter Relations Manager at Coram, said: “It has been wonderful to learn more about Jo’s story and the support she received from Coram. Her book gives a fascinating and important insight into the challenges and rewards of growing up in an adoptive family. We’re delighted that Coram has been chosen to benefit from the book sales. Jo’s generosity will help us support more children and families on the life-changing journey of adoption.”

The book club is at the Burn How Hotel on Wednesday July 12 at 7pm. There’s a break in August, then in September, the founder of parkrun, Paul Sinton-Hewitt, will be in conversation with author Eileen Jones.