Valentine’s Day book: the perfect gift

The Chichester 22-year-old has not only had her work published by the Book Guild, but this first part of her trilogy is on sale at Waterstones, WH Smith, the Guardian Book Shop and Amazon.

Francesca decided to postpone university and put her efforts into a writing career.
Francesca decided to postpone university and put her efforts into a writing career.

Francesca Fratamico’s book, Emeralds Among the Sand, is perfect for Valentine’s Day escapism, as it tells the story of summer love in the Adriatic Coast, set in a small town of Termoli.

It’s a remarkable turnaround for this prolific reader who once convinced herself she wasn’t good at writing. But, a lifetime of summer holidays at her grandparents’ home in Italy provided plenty of inspiration, exam work kick-started her writing skills and her own determination produced the vital motivation to see her dream come true.

About the book

Imaginatively, the book is told from the view point of the castle in Termoli, a witness to the dangerous love between Mariella and Thomas. Their love deepens, but a dark past threatens their future happiness, with the added complication of a messy love triangle.

Francesca said: “It shows how love has a dangerous power of being something that could be used in an abusive and entrapping sense, yet how it can also be used to save and free a person. Through all the twist and turns of Thomas and Mariella's relationship, there love survives and finds happiness.

“I think people would be able to relate to the book’s concepts as everyone faces troubles in love and life, especially me, and I think this book shows that acceptance and truth is a vital thing for a healthy relationship, and that no matter how awful things are, it will all be ok in the end, even if your life does not turn out the way you planned.”

About the author

A regular visitor throughout her childhood to Termoli, Francesca fell in love with the castle itself and chose it as a central voice in her drama, a witness to the past, present and future unfolding.

She said: “I’m not sure who I am specifically aiming the book at as I think it can be read by anyone over the age of 15 who wants to escape for a few moments. The Book Guild was so supportive, despite all my silly questions, and has given me the confidence to keep writing, which I really appreciate.”

Francesca added that she began writing short stories, then had a change of heart at 18. “Many people were applying for universities, and I did not want to go. Instead, I made my goal to write and publish a book, as this was something which I had always wanted to do, and I thought studying at university would interfere with the time I had for writing.”

Now, as well as juggling her writing career, she also works at the University of Chichester.

Book one is currently on sale, priced £8.99.

Love book one? The second in the trilogy is due out in September 2022.

Find out more at and follow her on Instragram here.