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The Way Back Home

Born and brought up at Windward, an artists’ commune in Derbyshire, Oriana Taylor had freedom at her fingertips in a home full of extraordinary people.

The Bedwell brothers, Malachy and Jed, shared their childhood and adolescence with her. In the rambling old house and tangled grounds, their dreams and desires could take wing unchecked.

But too much freedom can be a dangerous thing. And something happened the summer they were fifteen.

The Way Back Home is their story.


A Personal Note from Freya

Writing The Way Back Home, my 13th novel, was an epic journey for me. I knew I wanted another Derbyshire-based story, I knew I wanted to see Django McCabe again. And I had the perfect set-up – an artists’ commune where not all was as it seemed. I had the perfect research opportunity – here in Hertfordshire, near to where I live, friends had moved into an apartment in a grand old country house that had been, in the 1960s and 1970s, an artists’ commune.

But then, with no warning, I was stricken down with Writer’s Block. I never believed Writer’s Block existed. I thought it was a lame excuse by lazy authors who’d rather watch daytime television. I had written 12 novels – not necessarily with ease – but the process had been straightforward nonetheless, regardless of what was going on in my life. But…


Not a word. And it made me ill. After all, what could I do if I didn’t write? I’m a single mum and the sole provider for my two children 11 and 13 – what on earth would I do to make a living? After 18 years in this one job, I’m ill equipped to do much else.

If I’m not an author, who am I?

Was that it? Did I only ever have 12 books in me?

For six barren months, I spent every working day in front of the screen, clutching my acidic, twisted gut as I fixated on two words goading me: ‘CHAPTER ONE’.

However, throughout this entire period, what loomed large was Windward, the house in The Way Back Home – an imagined artists’ commune in the Derbyshire dales. I could see the colour of the stone, I could smell the oil paints on the palettes in the studios, I could hear drifts of the music from the upstairs rooms. If I really concentrated, I could listen in on faint snippets of conversations between people I so wanted to know. I had to get there. And somehow I did. I dug very, very deep. I was so far in ‘the zone’ whilst writing it that, on reading it back, there were vast tracts of this novel that I had no recollection writing!