Debut novel based on mystery of orphanage in Egypt

Jo Jackson
Jo Jackson

A former Riseley resident has published her first novel based on a true story from her time living in Egypt.

Jo Jackson, who lived in the village for 20 years with her husband and three children, was a nurse and midwife, before becoming a psychotherapist.

It was during that time that she began to write and her early short stories were published in the former Bedford newspaper, The Express.

Now in retirement, Jo has found time to continue her passion for writing and published her first novel, Too Loud A Silence, which is receiving high reviews on Amazon.

Real events were the inspiration for the story, set in 1980’s Cairo where poverty was rife and it was not unusual for babies, especially girls, to be abandoned.

Jo, who was living in Egypt with her family and was a regular visitor to an orphanage, came to know some of these children and to slowly win their trust. Then without explanation the institution was abruptly closed to foreigners. She doesn’t know what happened to the youngsters she cared for and this is a fictional story she wanted to write for them.

It is 2011. Egypt is in the grip of the Arab Spring. Maha, a young journalist flies to Cairo. She is drawn into the political and religious mayhem as a country deposes its president and a struggle for power begins. She tries to make sense of her own cross-cultural identity and uncovers a web of lies and deceit. The story her mother will tell begins 30 years earlier.

Editor and author Sarah Vincent said: “This is a truly wonderful story, a multi-layered novel handled with insight and sensitivity.”

Jo, who still has family in Sharnbrook, now lives near Much Wenlock in Shropshire.

Her book is available from her website from Amazon, on Kindle and in paperback, and from Waterstones.