Kate Riordan

Writing Coach

Historical Fiction


The Bestselling Author

A Richard and Judy Book Club must-read

Kate Riordan is the author of six books; five novels and short stories. The Girl in the Photograph was a Sunday Times bestseller, a haunting dual timeline novel about two women entwined by fate, published by Penguin in 2015 and described in the Sunday Times as ‘rich and atmospheric’ and a must-read for fans of Du Maurier’s Rebecca. It was Penguin’s bestselling e-book that summer. She has had three historical novels published by Penguin in the U.K. – The Girl in the Photograph, The Shadow Hour and The Stranger, which have sold in excess of 150,000 copies and been praised for their atmospheric evocation of 19th century England.The Stranger was a Top Ten Red Magazine choice of that year. Published in September 2020, The Heatwave was a must-read Richard and Judy Book Club Thriller pick. A tense psychological thriller, set in Provence, it went to No.1 in the Apple Fiction Chart. Published in 2022,  Summer Fever has been praised as a ‘sexy, sultry immersive read’.

Kate Riordan is a writer and journalist. She started out as an editorial assistant at the Guardian, followed by a stint as deputy editor for the lifestyle section of Time Out. Kate has written for Red, Stella, British Airways’ High Life, Grand Design magazine, the Guardian, Grazia, Living etc, and the Sunday Times

Kate lives in the Cotswolds with two rescue dogs and is at work on her sixth novel. If you’re writing mystery, suspense, or historical fiction you’ll find Kate a supportive and inspiring tutor.

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Read, read, read. I was a reader way before I was a writer. You will learn what you like and what you don’t like and what’s effective. If you read a book and you’re on the edge of your seat, you can look at why that is.

—Kate Riordan

Summer Fever

Nick and Laura are the hosts: pretending their marriage isn’t on the rocks. Madison and Bastian are the guests: neither is remotely who they claim to be.

Under the scorching Mediterranean sun, no secret is safe. No betrayal goes unnoticed.

Two couples. But will either survive the summer...



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Elodie was beautiful. Elodie was smart. Elodie was troubled. Elodie is dead.

Sylvie hasn’t been back to her crumbling French family home in years. Not since the death of her eldest daughter Elodie. Every corner of the old house feels haunted by memories of her – memories she has tried to forget. But as temperatures rise, and forest fires rage through the French countryside, a long-buried family secret is about to come to light. Because there’s something Sylvie’s been hiding about what really happened to Elodie that summer. And it could change everything. The must-read Richard and Judy Book Club Thriller Pick.


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The Stranger

Cornwall, 1940. In the hushed hours of deepest night a young woman is found washed up on the rocks. Was it a tragic accident? Or should the residents of Penhallow have been more careful about whom they invited in? In the midst of war three women arrive seeking safety at Penhallow Hall. Each is looking to escape her past. But one of them is not there by choice. As the threat of invasion mounts and the nightly blackouts feel longer and longer, tensions between the close-knit residents rise until dark secrets start to surface. In a house full of strangers, who do you trust?


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The Shadow Hour

Harriet Jenner is just twenty-one when she walks through the gates of Fenix House. Reeling from a personal tragedy, she doesn’t expect her new life as a governess to be easy. But she certainly does not foresee the spell Fenix House will cast. Almost fifty years later, Harriet’s granddaughter Grace follows in her footsteps. For Grace, raised on Harriet’s spellbinding stories, Fenix House is a magical place suspended in time. But the faded grandeur of the mansion begins to reveal the holes in Harriet’s story and Grace finds herself in a place of secrets and shadows. Fenix House hides truths about her family.


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The Girl in the Photograph

When Alice Eveleigh arrives at Fiercombe Manor during the long, languid summer of 1933, she finds a house steeped in mystery and brimming with secrets. Sadness permeates its empty rooms and the isolated valley seems crowded with ghosts, none more alluring than Elizabeth Stanton whose only traces remain in a few tantalisingly blurred photographs. Why will no one speak of her? What happened a generation ago to make her vanish? As the sun beats down relentlessly, Alice becomes ever more determined to unearth the truth about the girl in the photograph  and stop her own life from becoming an eerie echo of Elizabeth’s.


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In 2019, Kate was honoured to be asked to write the official novelisation of a major TV drama, Sanditon, to complete Jane Austen’s last, unfinished novel.

When a chance accident transports Charlotte Heywood to the seaside town of Sanditon, her life changes forever. And when she meets the charming and slightly wild Sidney Parker, she finds herself caught up in a whirlwind of romance, betrayal and changing alliances – nobody in Sanditon is quite as they seem. Discover the world Jane Austen left behind. Every coastal town has its secrets – but Sanditon has more than most.


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‘Exquisite writing that will keep you up.’

—Katie Fforde


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