Jessica Hart

The Trouble with Love

Release Date: 1992

When scatty photographer Poppy joins Dr Keir Traherne’s expedition saving the West African rain forest, he thinks she’ll be nothing but a distraction, and pretty soon she’s proving him right - her luggage goes missing at the airport and things go downhill from there. But Poppy is warm and funny, as well as accident-prone, and soon she’s distracting Keir and stirring his emotions in more ways than one ...

A Little Bit Extra...

West Africa isn’t the obvious setting for a romance, I know, but in 1988-9 I spent five months on expedition in Cameroon and I absolutely loved it. In theory I was PA in the expedition headquarters but in practice, as the only French speaker, I spent most of my time negotiating road blocks or getting visas stamped in the local police station. It wasn’t all administration. I visited some of the expedition projects too, one in the Korup rainforest, where the camp bears an uncanny resemblance to the one Keir and Poppy walk to, and canoed down the Munaya river, stopping at little villages just like the one where Keir introduces Poppy to the chief.

Returning to England felt very flat, but just before Christmas 1989 I heard that my first book, A Sweeter Prejudice, had been accepted for publication and after all the celebrations died down, it dawned on me that I would have to write another book. Casting around for an idea, I thought about Cameroon and what a good time I’d had there, and I set about weaving some of my experiences there into a story.

This isn’t an ideal way to go about plotting a romance, but it was certainly fun to write, and even more to reread recently, and to be reminded of incidents I’d forgotten: being made to change the wheel so that the expedition leader could keep himself clean for a meeting; walking through the rainforest; driving along muddy roads, and that scene where Poppy gets drunk on palm wine … yep, that was me.

Alternative covers:

Cover design by and copyright Debbie Lishman
Image of couple copyright Yuri Arcurs 2013, used under licence from