Isle of Wight author Heather Cooper will celebrate the story behind her new historical romance novel at Freshwater’s Dimbola later this month.

In her latest novel, Arresting Beauty, the Cowes author explores family, romance, Victorian culture and self-realisation through the previously unheard voice of a young girl.

Arresting Beauty is based on the real-life Mary Ryan, who was found begging at the age of ten by celebrated Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.

Mary found herself poised between two worlds – that of a servant girl and as an artistic assistant, socialising with Tennyson and his circle.

Author Heather grew up in a small village in northern Lancashire, moving to the Island in 1981, where her son and daughter were born.

For more information about the launch event, visit the Dimbola website HERE.

Heather said: “I’ve long been an enthusiastic fan of Julia Margaret Cameron and her work. I often noticed a particularly interesting face among her photographs – the face of a young woman whom I learned had been Julia’s parlourmaid.

“When I read that this girl, Mary Ryan, had begun her life in extremely impoverished circumstances – in fact as a beggar child – I began to imagine her story told in her own voice.”

Heather is celebrating the book launch at a free event on September 30, between 5-7pm, at Dimbola.