I’m delighted to welcome fellow Crooked Cat author Sue Barnard to Book Playlists today. Sue is an award-winning author and poet, whose sixth novel, Finding Nina, is out this week.

Sue Barnard, author of Finding Nina

When you first suggested compiling a playlist for Finding Nina, I must confess that it seemed like a very novel(!) idea.   The story spans the years from 1943 to 2004, and my first thought was to choose one song from each decade – but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that it would be far more appropriate to choose songs which resonate with various aspects of the story.  So, here goes:

My first song is Andy Stewart’s A Scottish Soldier I’m dedicating this song to Alice’s wartime sweetheart Tom, the handsome Scottish soldier who is posted overseas before Alice even realises she’s pregnant.  I have very fond childhood memories of this song, and it brings a lump to my throat every time I hear it – not just because of the tear-jerking lyrics, but also because I will forever associate it with the very special person who used to sing it to me.

One of the themes of the story (both in Finding Nina and in its companion story Nice Girls Don’t) is “seize the moment, for it may not come again.”  This brings me to my next song: Cliff Richard’s 1960s classic The Young Ones.  The message is clear: “Why wait until tomorrow? ‘Cause tomorrow sometimes never comes…

Next is Françoise Hardy’s Tous les Garçons.  Like the young Stella, the singer sees all her friends falling in love, but is beginning to wonder if this will ever happen to her.  The original song is in French, but Ms Hardy has also recorded a version in English (Find Me A Boy) whose lyrics are just as appropriate.

The next song is Sandy Posey’s Single Girl.  When Stella leaves home to go to university (having already had her heart broken by a callous boyfriend), for the first time she is living independently and needs to find her own way in life.  What lies in store for her?

But it doesn’t take her long to realise that she can now at last be her own person, rather than the person her mother apparently wants her to be.  Which brings me to my next choice: Cyndi Lauper’s joyous Girls Just Want To Have Fun.

My final choice is The Carpenters’ Top of the World.  I can’t say very much about this one as it might give away too much about the story, so let’s just say I’m including this one because I like it!

FINDING NINA is already available for pre-order. The book is officially released on 3 June 2019, when there will be an online launch party on Facebook, with guests, competitions and giveaways.  To add yourself to the guest list, click here then select “Going”.  See you there!


1943: A broken-hearted teenager gives birth in secret. Her soldier sweetheart has disappeared, and she reluctantly gives up her daughter for adoption.

1960: A girl discovers a dark family secret, but it is swiftly brushed back under the carpet. Conventions must be adhered to.

1982: A young woman learns of the existence of a secret cousin. She yearns to find her long-lost relative, but is held back by legal constraints.  Life goes on.

2004: Everything changes…

Finding Nina front cover


Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet who was born in North Wales some time during the last millennium.  She speaks French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian and Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad.  She now lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.
Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.
Sue’s own family background is far stranger than any work of fiction. She would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Finding Nina, which is her sixth novel, is not that book.

Sue’s links:
Blog   Facebook   G+   Twitter   Instagram   Amazon  Goodreads  RNA


The Ghostly Father  Nice Girls Don’t  The Unkindest Cut of All  Never on Saturday  Heathcliff