Joy Bounds

I am a retired person who had a long career in social work and social care management. I live on the Suffolk Coast and love to sing, to engage in political discussion, to cook (I have two cookbooks published by Luscious Books), and to develop my practice of mindfulness. I have one son who is an academic historian.

I've been interested in women's equality issues over many years, and have worked with other women to raise the profile and celebrate the achievements of remarkable women both past and present. I have written a local history book entitled A Song of their Own (The History Press 1914) which is about the actions of women in and around Ipswich who contributed to the campaign to get the vote. The research for this book contributed to the development of my new novel, Shining Threads.

I became interested in Ethel Smyth (1858-1944), the composer, when I came across her ‘March of the Women’. This song was the anthem of the suffragette movement, and I was interested to find out more about its composer. I discovered a story of determination and persistence in the face of many obstacles as she tried to get her music accepted in the classical world of the time. It tallied with my interest in ‘forgotten women’ – the lives and achievements of women which have been ignored, dismissed or lain undiscovered over time - and inspired this novel, Shining Threads.

I also self-published in 2012, with Matador, a novel entitled Far From Home, which explores the life of Joan of Arc from the perspective of her mother.

You can see more about my books at








Joy Bounds's Books

ISBN: 9781915603791


Shining Threads

28 Aug 2023

It is the late nineteenth century and Queen Victoria is on the throne. Upper-class girls are expected to get married and be content with entertaining, embroidery and elementary music-making. But, from an early age, Ethel has other ideas.

She will need to be forceful and persistent if she is to fulfil her dream of becoming a composer and having her music performed. Meeting with the best musicians of the day in England and Europe, she shows how good she is, and begins to make her mark as an opera writer. Yet time and time again, the musical world fails to support her.

Her romantic relationships with both women and men are stormy. Will she find lasting love? As the twentieth century dawns, and the campaign for Votes for Women becomes more militant, her life will take a different turn…

Shining Threads is based on the life of composer Ethel Smyth. An inspiring story of hope and determination in the face of many obstacles, it shines a light on an overlooked, pioneering composer.



Long fascinated by history’s forgotten women, Joy Bounds became interested in Ethel Smyth when she came across her ‘March of the Women’ in her research for a local history book. Joy is the author of a historical novel, Far From Home, and A Song of their Own, a book about the actions of women in and around Ipswich in the campaign for the vote. Joy lives on the Suffolk Coast.