top of page
Urban Footwear


A Psychological Novel
Childhood sweethearts
don't stay sweet forever

When Sophie finds out that Jay committed a brutal murder, her world collapses.

Will she find out what turned her teenage love into a psychotic murderer?

Will she be able to forgive him? 


What makes someone lose their mind? Could you forgive your best friend if he had committed a crime so brutal it destroyed an entire family? Can you still love a man who has killed? These are the questions Sophie Liebtreu faces the day she discovers that her childhood best friend, Jay Adler, has been sentenced to 20 years in 'Solacium' a psychiatric institution on the outskirts of Berlin. 

Set against the backdrop of 90s street culture, skateboarding, BMXing, DJing, and graffiti art, the protagonists travel across Europe, enjoying a hedonistic lifestyle spiked with drugs and alcohol at raucous parties in Ibiza, Amsterdam and Berlin until the day Jay starts going off the rails.

'Solacium' is also a story about love, loyalty, and a friendship spanning over 20 years. Together and apart without truly letting go, even in the darkest depths of schizophrenia, the bond between Sophie and Jay may stretch but it will never break. Or will it?

'Gripping account of youth, love and mental illness'

rated 5/5 by P Garrido, Journalist 


rated 4/5 by Saaskia Aark Bennett, Author of 'Dodging Joe'

'Donnie Darko meets The Notebook'

rated 4/5 by B Deutscher, Father and prolific reader

'Great pageturner'

rated 5/5 by Tina Kaiser, Journalist Die Welt

'The characters are extraordinary while still being very easy to relate to'

rated 5/5 by Carole Llewelyn, Author of 'Une Ombre Chacun'

'Addictive tale of love and madness'

rated 5/5 by MonsterV, Avid reader 

Find more reviews on and



'Boyfriends and girlfriends come and go, but friends are forever' 

Sophie Liebtreu

{...He had wanted her too. He loved everything about her. Her smell. The fine white hairs at the base of her neck. The smiling crinkle at the corner of her eyes. He wanted to melt into her and never let her go.  She had always had this happy-go-lucky attitude. Carefree and brave, hungry for adventures and new perspectives. She was a good person, she deserved to be happy and cared for by someone who would ensure she would get everything she wished for in life.}  


‘My name is Jay, and I'm a good person’

Jay Adler 

{... Or was it his eyes? His intense, slightly haunted look? The luminous green of his pupils? The way he looked at her as if she was the only woman he had ever laid eyes on? Only for his gaze to darken seconds later, like a dark cloud covering the sun on a tentative spring day. There was something urgently wild and untamed about him. The way he moved across the room like every object in it was his and owed its existence to him, a commandeering silent force. Something mildly rebellious and devastatingly troubled.} 


Frank Stahl 

A selfish young man who didn't bow to his strict father and who's creative outlet is organising illegal rave parties and ruling the city with his graffiti art. He's got only but contempt for the law and an addictive predisposition. Sophie hates him and his psychopathic tendencies and general bad influence over her darling Jay.

Aisha King 


The Ethiopian beauty who falls irrevocably in love with Jay Adler but does he feel the same about her? While he isn't immune to her grace and beauty, he still doesn't seem to trust her, why is he so flirty with other men and how come she seems to be so close to Jay's surgeon stepfather Caspar van Winterfeldt? What deep dark secret is she hiding? 

Camelia Olsen


Sophie Liebtreu's best friend. She is punchy and bold. With her tank top, wide Carhartt cargo pants and skateboard trainers, Camelia is a cross between Tank Girl and the lead singer of Guano Apes, all piercings, wild hair and go-fuck-yourself attitude. She is a true and loyal friend, fierce and never a pushover. With her Sophie feels mischievous and untouchable, and deep down Sophie hopes that through spending time with Cam, some of her friend's toughness will rub off on her and she would learn to stand up more for herself. But when all is said and done just how far will Camelia's loyalty go? Would she go as far as betray her best friend?

Vera Liebtreu


Sophie's artist-head-in-the-clouds mother. A vegan with an obsession for converting everyone to her clean eating ideals, she is condescending to those who don't share her values. She doesn't walk, she floats. Living in a world of her own making, she hasn't paid a bill in her life and associates the word 'mainstream' with the death of all things creative. She relies heavily on her husband to fund her bohemian lifestyle and to deal with life's everyday mundane. Her narcissism hides under false modesty and feigned shyness. She says she loves Sophie and her siblings, so why won't she confront her husband for his abusive behaviour towards their children?

Jonathan Francis Liebtreu


Sophie's father. Plagued by a deep rooted constant anger, he's about as stable as an unpinned hand grenade. He wishes he could be a better husband and father but he caves under the pressure of the responsibility of looking after his fantasist wife and three kids, particularly his rebellious teenage daughter Sophie. 'She keeps hanging out with my best friend's son, Jay. All due respect to my friend, but his weak. No drive, no stamina. Not right in the head. Not a good influence for my daughter' he thinks.

Elizabeth von Winterfeldt


A skilled manipulator and a woman of great distinction who, you can tell by the disdainful flick of her eyelashes, has very little regard for your pathetic little life. Unless you have money. Then you become the centre of her affections. She exudes the kind of aloofness and steely self-assurance of women born into decades of well-bred families. A woman who lives by her motto scheme, divide and conquer. Appearances are more important to her than showing loving vulnerability. She is the type of woman who wears real diamonds. Only the best is good enough for her and that applies to her son Jay too. Her son's future is to become the CEO of a conglomerate. He just needs to fix his scruffy phase and grow out of his 'depression' she says.

Henry Adler, Jay's dad


A man with the heavy weight of responsibility on his corporate shoulders. A CEO of an imperium, he knows what sacrifices need to be made in order to be successful. Still smarting from his divorce with Jay's mother, he buries his disappointment in hard and obsessive working. He wishes only the best for his son and secretly is proud of Jay's creative streak but ultimately he is looking for a heir to take over the company. 'Just what is going on in Jay's head? How can I unlock his potential? Why can't he just snap out of it?' He thinks.

Caspar von Winterfeldt


Germany's most famous plastic surgeon. He who brought Botox to the ageing celebrity obsessed women and who's mission in life is to plastify the nation one fake pair of boobs at a time. Married to Elizabeth von Winterfeldt and stepfather to Jay Adler, he is a slick perfectionist but under the carefully constructed exterior hides something utterly terrifying. 




By Amazon Customer


Such an intriguing story, unputdownable and thought-provoking, I fell in love with the main characters from the get go. The glimpse inside the mind of a schizophrenic and a life long repressed love story made it even more captivating.


It's not often you find a book that is about the party scene in the 90s. The ending was excellent and unexpected - I hope there will be a sequel.


Download the first 3 chapters for free:

                                     Emotional, punchy and truly gripping from start to end.

By Amazon Customer 

This is truly one of the best books I've ever read, so authentic and emotional yet seamlessly logical and well put together. SJ tells the story like she is entirely in the thick of what's going on within the story. This book also highlights a need for a deeper look at mental health and an accurate diagnosis that is needed in the first place. I won't forget this story in a while, maybe ever! If you want a page turner with heart then give this a whirl.



                                       Addictive tale of love and madness

By MonsterV 


A gripping story from the very beginning - part love story, part tragic descent into psychosis. This is one of those novels that you tell yourself you simply must stop reading and go to sleep as soon as you get to the end of the chapter...and then stay up all night because you can't stop! The alternating perspectives really help develop a relationship with each of the characters and the way it's structured (it's not chronological, but rather tells the story in a series of anecdotes throughout time) creates a chilling sense of urgency.

A really talented writer with a knack for creating memorable characters and a thrilling story, complete with deep psychosis and beautiful love. It's a must-read!


Find more reviews on and





Read more about SJ de Lagarde's writing process and thoughts about publishing options in her interview with book blogger and indie writers

'I rated Solacium 5/5 because its author broke my heart so many times. The last few pages of the book were definitely my favourite part of the book. It was the most emotional chapter believe me! I’m hoping for a sequel because I believe this is not the end of Sophie Liebtreu and Jay Adler’s story.'


Rojean, Book Blogger ----- click on the image to read the full review Emily Sexton-Brown interviewed SJ de Lagarde on the traumatic circumstances of the true story of her childhood best friend who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia ---- Click on the image to read the emotional interview.

Online magazine published an article penned by SJ de Lagarde on the stigma attached to mental health and its consequences. The article has been viewed over 1k. interviewed SJ de Lagarde in their section 'I don't know how she does it' on how to juggle a day time job, having kids and pursuing a career as a writer ---- click on the image to read the full article.

'The characters are beautifully portrayed in this book and even the illness, the drowning out of the voices in his head and the forgotten friendship of these two people, once so alike and now incredibly different, make that this book will keep having a prominent place in my book case for a long time to come.'

'' feel that this book is trying to break the stigma and to portrait the illness as best and as true as possible.'

'If you are looking to read a great coming of age, young adult book, I wholeheartedly recommend Solacium.'

Lieze Neven, Book Blogger -----click on the image to access the full review

US Book blogger Rachel Nace reviewed 'Solacium' and loved it! Click on the image to read her blog post. Find her on instagram @never_too_many_books, with over 22k followers she is a real influence in the #bookstagram community. 

'Solacium isn’t just a story about a young man with schizophrenia; it’s about never taking what you have for granted. If you are up to the emotional challenge of this book, I very, very much recommend it!'

RATED: 5/5

 'I just want to start by saying how much I really enjoyed this book. It was very different to what I'm used to reading, which mostly consist of Young Adult. But I LOVED this! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in psychology.' Sophie, UK Book Blogger with over 17k followers on her instagram account @sophiebookstagram ---- click on the image to read the full review.


bottom of page