Margaret Ann Spence

About Me

Welcome to my webpage, Coming Home. Whether you’ve lived in many places, as I have, or like to nest, as I also like to do, there is nothing like “coming home”.

Entertained by a warm house, friendly faces, and a cup of something comforting is the best nourishment for body and soul. “Sit down and have a cuppa,” my mother used to say to the stream of visitors who knocked at our back door.

Lingering in the kitchen as she rolled piecrust or chopped vegetables, the droppers-in talked about their lives. My mother’s family were great story-tellers. As a child, I pretended not to listen.

Curious, I heard stories about war, money troubles, difficult mothers-in-law, unexpected pregnancies, weddings, men who gambled, men who bought flowers on a whim and about others who never did, not even on your birthday.

One and all, these life stories – women’s stories – are compost, to borrow a gardening term, for the writer. How to write their stories became my dream. Of course, novels are not real life.

Mulling over and repacking experience, trying to wrestle meaning out of randomness, is the writer’s task. Telling stories seems the best way to get at the truth.

Enjoyments like writing and cooking share this in common. If done well, they turn raw ingredients into something you can’t put down till you’ve finished the whole thing. 



“A group of Vietnam draft dodgers set up a commune in Joyous Woods. Fifty years later a film crew turns up to document the lives of these hippies, who appear to have made a success from living off the land and sticking to their principles.
This event coincides with the granddaughter of the founding members meeting a charismatic young doctor. The young lovers soon discover a bizarre connection. As children, they both lost a parent… in the same accident. Their curiosity and hunger for the truth lead to some unsavory revelations from the past. This idealistic hippie commune wasn’t all about peace, love, and mutual understanding. Hardship, abuse, and callous business decisions prevailed.
This insightful tale details the hopes and disappointments across the generations and examines the emotional impact of this experimental lifestyle.
A well-written and compelling read.”

Cheryl C.

“I bought your book (the e-version on Kindle), I really enjoyed it. Didn’t put it down until I got to the back cover!”

Peter R.

“I just finished reading "Joyous Lies" which I couldn’t put down—absolutely captivating. I was impressed with the research on so many issues: organic farming, yarns, and the kind of juniper berries in gin and I thought the characters and plot were really interesting with lots of twists and layers of complexity and secrets till everything came together at the end. The concept of filming the commune to convey the history, the personality of the leaders, and their goals and struggles worked very well. I am familiar with the Israeli Kibbutz practice of keeping children in separate houses and I like the way possible consequences were introduced—the benefits and problems. There was so much that was intriguing in a relatively short book. The author created characters that had depth and readers got to know and care about them.”

Phyllis S.

“At long last, I want to write to tell you how much I enjoyed your Lipstick on the Strawberry. I enjoyed reading it so much and the story just swept me along — one of those kinds of books where not much gets done by a reader caught up in the story and gobbling up words at every available opportunity. A true sign of a good book! It is a delightful read — and with many avenues to pursue in thought — family dynamics, settings, the need for love, the lure of past relationships that resurface, and the bravery that it takes to pursue love and feelings. It had many things to think about and such good description of the places and people. I am so glad to have had a chance to read it.”

Marcia M.

"Camilla Fetherwell lives in Boston but has close family ties in the UK. While entertaining and a romping good yarn this book also examines the challenges of those who settle far from home. The 'pull' of home for Camilla complicates her every move and it provides food for thought in this time of global translocation, of the destabilizing effects of migration. Camilla is coping with family loss, marriage loss, loss of youth with all that implies when it comes to motherhood, and a growing sense, as the book progresses, of loneliness. As an ex-pat Brit, living in the US, all these challenges are magnified and the author portrays Camilla as a gutsy young woman who despite her troubles would have it no other way. I love the sibling relationships she develops. Her older bossy sister whose life has been so circumscribed and the younger brother who has only recently come out as gay, reveal a scenario probably working its way through many other families as traditional norms and mores are challenged and changed. The plot is well-developed and the author has little (and big!) surprises a long the way that keeps this book sizzling. I loved it!"

Christine L.

“It’s very well-written – a real literary novel. Some great passages of writing, comparing the winters in Boston and London. Loved the scene when Camilla and her ex-husband had a car accident and the young, pregnant girl with the giant diamond emerged – and Camilla finally got over her divorce. I thought the main strengths were the family secrets – this was a page turner – and the parts where Camilla mourns her father despite the problems they had.”

Barbara H.



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