Win a free audio book of Finding Penelope. Enter the quiz

My novel Finding Penelope has just been made into audio with ACX narrated beautifully by Sarah Brady. You may link to the opening sample (press ctrl + click to follow link) at or
Apart from casting a wry glance at the phenomenon of chick lit and treating of the role of patriarchy in a family, the novel Finding Penelope is essentially a love story marking a growth in self-realisation in the protagonist Penelope Eames. It delves into the drugs culture and its associated criminality in Spain (where a lot of Celtic Tiger money wound up laundered), Ireland and the UK. The prompt for the novel was from Cervantes and a motif may be interpreted as a sort of modern day parallel of Don Quijote’s attack on the proliferation of romance novels of that time. As seventy per cent of readers are now female, I wanted to understand more of the female mindset. So I picked the brains of women of my acquaintance, including two adult daughters and I researched contemporary women writers and books like Everywoman and I reread with new female (or at least androgynous eyes) my well-thumbed de Beauvoir, Anna Karenina and Portrait of a Lady. Simultaneously, I was studying the crime culture on the Costa. The result was the character Penelope Eames.
Thirty three year old romance novelist Penelope Eames moves to Spain to avoid her oppressive father and drug-addicted brother, Dermot. When she meets Ramón, a young Spanish school teacher, she is immediately attracted to him and feels the happiness that eluded her all her life may at last be hers. However, she receives a distress call from Dermot saying he is at the mercy of Charlie Eliot, a pimp and drug dealer on the Costa. Ramón, whose mother was killed by a drug addict, tells her to have nothing to do with Charlie Eliot. Penelope must decide: is she prepared to compromise herself with Charlie Eliot and jeopardise her chance of happiness with Ramón for the sake of her drug addicted brother?
‘Lawless reinvented the millennia-worn story line to reveal not only a Dublin expat Costa del Sol akin to the RTÉ Love Hate series but beautiful writing.’ Books Ireland
‘Penelope’s is an authentic voice, full of human contradiction and composed desperation.’ Sunday Independent
‘This is a really, really fine piece of sharp, precise and accurate work. A novel that will give deep, literary pleasure.’ Carlo Gébler, author.
Win a free audio book. Enter the quiz. I am offering ten complimentary codes to the book. For a chance to win, answer the question: What was the name of Penelope’s brother? Enter your answer with your email address on the contact page of my website or email it to


Author: James Lawless

Irish novelist, poet and short story writer.

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