Sandi Burrill and the Beach of Flames

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“She was beside me all the time, holding my hand as we both sank inside the mellow sweetness of nicotine oblivion.”

This is a fiery novel about the experience of teen lesbian love in a small seaside town amid a languorous summer in the upper-sixth.

With one year remaining of sixth-form a tragic beach accident strikes the heart of a close-knit group of teenagers, killing two of their dear friends. As they attempt to come to terms with the grief for their loss, political forces threaten to claim and overrun their town, destroying the places and sanctuaries the group frequents.

Determined to withstand any attempts to further fling their friendships apart, the small group closes ranks and vows revenge. When two of the teens, Sandi Burrill and Cherry Trove, fall hopelessly in love with each other, the flames of their passion ignites their independence but overwhelms their understanding. Neither girl is aware how fraught with danger and peril their love will become. When Cherry’s brother is accused of raping Sandi’s sister, a local councillor’s wife Jonquil Davis plots to split the couple, and drive the Burrills away from Amberleigh.

As details begin to emerge that the tragedy was not accidental but a serious crime, it becomes clear where Conservative power-brokers in the town will look to assign the blame. Amid the confusion of the subsequent police investigation, one question looms: will Sandi and Cherry’s love survive their remaining tenure in Amberleigh, and the power of political force?

At once a deeply told love story and a coruscating comment on British politics, Sandi Burrill and the Beach of Flames presents a searing portrait of a community on the brink, and eloquently explores the desperation of teenage love trapped by a forbidding and uncontrollable environment.

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A Dramatic Conclusion

“The final school year brings intrigue, love, lust, angst and clarity to the teenagers as the outside world becomes a greater part of their lives. In another wonderfully crafted and executed novel the author treats us to those tumultuous teenage emotions through the eyes of her characters. The dialogue and inner voices are natural and expertly narrated to the listener. There’s even a dramatic twist at the end of the tale, enjoy.”

Simon Gibson

Boldly chaotic, clearly co-ordinated

“At first I had no idea what on earth to make of this book. It is really very deep. A lot of thought has gone in to its construction. It’s deep really and scattered like the emotions of teenagers exploring their identities but it’s even more than that. I find it intriguing and fascinating in an odd sort of way. Thought provoking, I think this book needs to be read more than once. I think it’s well worth the time taken to really explore this book.”

Rose Aitken