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Cambridge educator Jude Williams publishes debut novel

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Author Jude Williams with her book Penitence. Picture: Keith Heppell
Author Jude Williams with her book Penitence. Picture: Keith Heppell

Expect lots of excitement, intrigue and darkness in Jude Williams’ first book, Penitence.

The Ely-based teaching assistant’s debut novel, Penitence, tells the tragic story of a young mother, Emma, whose past holds a dark secret.

Emma gives birth to a daughter, Sophie, whose father she met at a party when she was drunk and who has no idea of Sophie’s existence.

Later, Emma meets Gabriel at a nightclub and quickly falls in love with him.

She and Sophie soon move in with him, but before long cracks in their relationship begin to show...

“It’s quite dark and there are elements of mystery running through the book,” says Jude, “so you don’t find out until the end what the secret is, obviously.

“I would describe it, loosely, as a psychological thriller but it’s hard to put it into a specific category really.”

Jude says the book took her around a year to write. “I had major brain surgery about nine years ago,” she reveals, “and that kind of shook me into taking stock of my life and working out what my priorities were.

“I’d always wanted to write a book so I thought, ‘Right, now’s the time’. I wasn’t working, I was at home and my children were at school so I seized the opportunity to write it.”

Author Jude Williams with her book Penitence. Picture: Keith Heppell
Author Jude Williams with her book Penitence. Picture: Keith Heppell

The book was published by The Book Guild Ltd on May 28.

“I’ve left the story open-ended so I could quite easily write a sequel, I guess,” says Jude, “and the characters could definitely reappear. I’ll probably see how this one gets on and then go from there.”

Although it’s only just been released, Jude says that the reaction so far has been positive.

“I’ve mainly had feedback from family and friends, and they all say that they really enjoyed it,” she says.

“Some of them say that they didn’t see the end coming, which is quite nice to hear.

“Obviously, they would say that they enjoyed it because they’re my family and friends, but I’m yet to have an unbiased review. I’m hoping the feedback from the general public will be good.”

Jude adds: “When I wrote it, I did it for enjoyment and because I’d just always had a lifelong dream of writing a novel. I didn’t think about the actual act of publishing it and the marketing side.

"Now it’s suddenly hit me that people are going to comment on it and give their opinions on it. So fingers crossed it will be mainly good feedback.”

Reading the synopsis of the book suggests it may also make a good film.

“I think it could possibly,” says Jude, “there’s quite a lot of excitement and intrigue in it.”


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