Released on 31 May 2012.

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Second Skin

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‘It seems crazy that in all that time I never stopped to think what I was actually cut out to do or be. But I’m sure I’m not unusual. There must be hundreds of people stuck in jobs they hate, or married to the wrong partner, or trying to be someone they’re not. It’s such an awful waste.’

Catherine Jones – conscientious working wife and mother – is catapulted into a dramatic life-change. As the shock waves subside, she realises that she’s never had the chance to be her true self, never even considered who that self might be. Over the years she has become her own gaoler, someone merely waiting to live.

Peeling off her ‘second skin’ of duty, guilt and fear, she starts living with a vengeance. She joins a bohemian flat share in Camden Town with people little older than her own children. She takes a job in Camden market – a startling contrast to suburbia. She meets a poet, Will, and embarks on her first ever affair.

But her heady new existence is threatened by her family’s demands, even, paradoxically, by Will himself. At this turning point in her life, will she succeed in her bid for freedom and become the person she was born to be?

In this, her thirteenth novel, Perriam espouses a new optimism, while losing none of the wit, sexual daring and psychological insight which have made her name.

‘Perriam must be a contender for Britain’s most underrated novelist.’ Daily Telegraph