"Her Adolescence" is a story within the larger story told in Duke, a wildly original novel about the life of William Marmaduke Tilly, as imagined by his granddaughter Sara Tilley. Tilly (which later became Tilley when a typo on the family store sign stuck) was born to a wealthy merchant family in Elliston, Newfoundland, and struck out for the mainland when financial need, prompted by family disaster, dictated. The novel follows Duke's early days in Elliston through his time on steamboats and in the wilds of Alaska working as a trapper and logger to save money to send back to his abusive and alcoholic father in order to buy back the family business. "Her Adolescence," sprinkled throughout the novel (pp. 104-109, 188-197, 259-263, 321-326) tells the story of Duke's daughter, Eva, years later, contracting tuberculosis from her mother and recovering in "The San" while taking the rest cure – medically supervised fresh air, sunshine, bed rest and lots of food, a gold standard treatment for TB in the pre-antibiotic era.
Sara Tilley's work bridges writing, theatre and Pochinko Clown Through Mask technique, with each discipline informing the others. She's written, co-written, or co-created eleven plays, including new work for She Said Yes!, the theatre company she founded in 2002. Skin Room, her first novel (Pedlar Press, 2008), won both the Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers and the Percy Janes First Novel Award, and was shortlisted for the Winterset Award and the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize. Sara writes fiction, plays and nonfiction, teaches mask and clown technique, and acts, directs and designs for the theatre. She lives in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.