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The Lost Art of Letter-Writing

Posted on 16th August, 2018

The other day a young neighbour - let's call her Lucy - invited me to a dolls' tea-party. When it was time to leave, I asked her what she was going to do next, at which point her mum stepped in and said firmly that Lucy was going to have her bath. Lucy then politely asked me what I was going to do. I said I was going to write a letter to my pen friend.

 

"What's a pen friend?"

 

I explained. I made the mistake of saying that Jennifer and I had never actually met, thinking this made our pen-friendship all the more interesting, but instead it led to a brief diversion into the world of Stranger Danger. There's nothing quite like being lectured to by a 6-year-old. Meanwhile, Lucy's mum lurked in the background, grinning her head off.

 

Once the explanation was back on track, Lucy found the idea bizarre. "Why don't you email? Text? Skype one another?"

 

"Well, because we're pen friends and that means we put pen to paper and write letters to one another."

 

"What colour do you use?"

 

Another brief diversion, this time into the question of Lucy's favourite felt tips. She likes yellow, but how easy would that be to read on white paper? And what about writing with a Pritt stick and then sprinkling glitter on?

 

At some point, I said that Jennifer and I have been writing to one another for nearly 30 years.

 

"30 years?" She appeared suitably awed. "Do you write about what it used to be like in the First World War?"

 

Cue howls of laughter from Mum.

 

Am I alone in being a letter-writer? Does everyone else Skype these days? Or communicate purely by email? My late Auntie Amy used to love receiving letters even more than phone calls. A letter could always be taken out and re-read and enjoyed all over again; it could be shared with her friend, Elsie.

 

My mum and I wrote to one another every week for years after I left home; this was as well as phoning one another. Writing letters seems to have been pretty normal practice back then. It was a standard way of keeping in touch. I also corresponded for years with my gran, with a particular uncle and aunt, and with various friends who lived at a distance; and with my pen friends.

 

Do you write letters? Do you have, or have you ever had, a pen friend? And have you recently been lectured by a 6-year-old? Do tell!

 

 

 

This week I am delighted to welcome Deborah Smith to my blog.

 

Deborah is a keen reader who took her love of books to the next level by starting an online group for readers of sagas and other women's fiction. It is now a thriving and ever-growing community.

 

Debs is personally responsible for the tottering piles of to-be-read books in her members' homes all over the world!

Debs, welcome to my blog. It's the first time I have been joined here by a reader rather than a writer, so I hope you're going to enjoy answering my questions.

 
Fire away, Sue.

What are you reading at the moment. Why are you enjoying it?

 
I'm reading my first Lyn Andrews book, From Liverpool with Love. The story is set in the early 1900s where poverty is inescapable for this family. After trying very hard to manage after the death of the husband/father, who was the main breadwinner, they now have no choice but to enter the workhouse. This book follows their lives, loves and determination to free themselves from this godforsaken place called the workhouse.

 
I just love stories written around this era.

  

 
I know your TBR pile is about a hundred books high. Tell us about a couple of them that you're specially looking forward to reading.

h
L
OL, Sue, more like 500 high and growing almost daily 😂.

 
I'm very much looking forward to reading
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. I am fascinated with this historic subject and read both fiction and nonfiction regarding the lives of the Jews during WW11 and what horrific injustices they had to endure: certainly a piece of history we should never forget. Such an emotional subject, Sue.

 

I also can't wait to read Secrets of a Whitby Girl by Jessica Blair, as Whitby is close to my heart, having spent a great deal of time there throughout my life and know the place very well so hopefully I will be able to picture the places mentioned. My husband and I actually got engaged in the Abbey grounds - what a wonderful day that was.

 

I know that Anna Jacobs is a favourite author of yours. Is there one of her books or series that stands out in particular for you?

 

Oh yes, Anna is such a wonderful and talented writer. Her books imprison you from the first page to the last. I have to say that Anna's stand-alone book Freedom's Land and the 5 book series, The Gibson Family Saga, will be forever entwined in my heart, although I haven't read The Traders series yet 🤔 LOL.

 

You’ve got a treat in store with The Traders books. Once you start reading The Trader’s Wife, you’ll race through the whole series. Guaranteed!

 

 

Tell us about a book that made you cry.

 
A few books have brought a tear to my eye, but I'm guessing The Tattooist of Auschwitz will take me on an emotional rollercoaster ride.
 

 
What were your favourite books as a child?

 
I have to confess I didn't read much as a child, apart from the
Ladybird books, i probably wasn't interested in books back then, which is quite a while ago LOL, but I think I've certainly made up for it since. Children should read - you learn so so much from someone else's mind.
 

 
As an adult reader, do you have an all-time favourite book? Who are your favourite writers?

 

Good question Sue. I have quite a few favourite books and I guess Miss Applesby's Academy by Elizabeth Gill is up there with best. Such a wonderful read.

 
At the moment my all time favourite
authors are:
Anna Jacobs (obviously)
Dilly Court
Kitty Neale
Rosie Goodwin
Kathleen Morgan

And a few authors I found after starting up my wonderful book group:
Susanna Bavin (
LOL )
Emma Hornby
AnneMarie Brear
Lynda Stacey
Elaine Everest, to name but a few.
Oh, and did I mention Susanna Bavin! 😉

 

**blushes and tried to look modest**
 

 
Do you re-read books you enjoy? If so, what have you re-read recently?

 
Oh Sue, that's funny. I have a hard enough time reading the ones I haven't read, the TBR pile grows by the day, so my answer is, no, I don't re-read a book, I may however re-read a page, ha
ha.
 

 
Physical books or e-books?
Well, either to be honest, my kindle is great for taking on holiday etc. and there's some excellent bargains to be had too, but a physical book feels much more t
actile and personal and I love looking at all the wonderful colour cover photos which you don't get with an ebook.
 

 

Where do you like to read?

 

Well, actually I like to read anywhere, but my favourite places are in my rocking chair in the living room, the garden (only when the weather is nice though) and in bed where's it relaxing and peaceful.

 

Debs, it has been a real pleasure to have you here on my blog. Thanks for telling us about your reading.

 
Oh Sue, I've enjoyed my first blog and it's been a real pleasure talking to you today. I've loved every minute.
Thank you so much xx ❤️

 

Happy birthday for Monday, Debs. Enjoy all those books you will undoubtedly get as birthday presents!

 

 

When Writers Get Together.

Posted on 20th July, 2018

Last weekend, along with 200+ other writers, I was at the RNA (Romantic Novelists' Association) Conference in Leeds. Times were when writing was a completely solitary activity for me; and when I say 'times were,' what I mean is: for years; as in, decades. Before you start thinking this makes me extremely old, I hasten to add that I was a child writer, so these decades started when I was in primary school.

 

Why do some writers keep their writing to themselves? In my case, it was partly through being a private person by nature. It wasn't that I made a conscious decision not to talk about my writing - I just didn't do it. And when I finally did do it, I didn't shout it from the rooftops but chose carefully whom to tell. (Annette and Jacquie, are you reading this?)

 

Then, a few years ago, I signed up for a writing holiday in Cornwall, during which I discovered the delight of being in the company of other writers. We were all interested in one another's work and experiences and felt confident sharing what we had written, knowing it would be received in an atmosphere of support.

 

Since then I have been to various conferences, events and workshops and I love them. You never stop learning. You never stop improving your craft. Best of all, being with other writers is a joy. Even if you have lucky enough to have dozens of non-writing friends (and I wouldn't be without mine) who are concerned and interested and sympathetic, the fact is that they don't understand in the same way that other writers do.

 

Writers will always share what they know and provide encouragement and support. It is a wonderful profession in that respect. Meeting other writers both online and in the real world creates friendships and support networks and can lead to new opportunities.

 

I am happy to be on my own with my writing most of the time, but I enjoy getting together with writing friends and feel hugely lucky to have made new friends in recent years through my writing. With writer friends around you, success is more exciting and you are buoyed up in times of disappointment.

 

Best of all, being with fellow writers is fun!

 

 

Despatches from the Querying Trenches

June

Hello!

 

Each month, the idea for what I am going to write about on Sue’s lovely blog starts bubbling a few days before I need to put pen to paper. By the time, I settle down to write it, the most of the words are usually fully formed and almost write themselves. This month, that hasn’t happened at all. No bubbling ideas. No fully formed paragraphs. Zip. Zero. Nada. I didn’t even remember the post was due.

 

That’s because … I haven’t been writing! I’ve sent my edits back to my agent, Felicity and I’m waiting for her to work her magic. It’s the calm after the storm. The eye of the storm …

 

And it’s been lovely.

 

Well, except for the exams. My son has been doing A levels and my daughter GCSEs and the process has not been entirely stress-free (understatement of the century!). But, now that that’s over, I have been having a magnificent time on the dig.

 

We’re excavating a Roman ‘something’ at the top of a wooded hill about three miles from where we live. It might be a temple, it’s more likely to be a farmstead … who knows. That’s part of the fun.

h

We are (mostly!) competent amateurs under the direction of the South Oxfordshire Archaeological Group (who are very competent). Whilst we hope to find something earth-shattering, if it’s too exciting, the dig may well be given to the professionals - so we’re careful what we wish for!

Anyway, I love it there - the digging (much better than the gym!) the surveying, the camaraderie, the introspection, the FUN! And it’s so beautiful!

 

This was the view from the Portaloo in the spring!

 

Many of you will know that an archaeological dig is the setting for Book Two - affectionately nicknamed Muddy Milly. All that trowelling and sifting and daydreaming and people-watching is also research. I don’t think a writer ever really switches off. This one doesn’t anyway – I often stop to write a phrase, an idea or a plot twist into my phone. There’s just so much inspiration!

 

So, that’s been much June.

 

Not much writing.

 

Lots of fun!

 

Whatever you are doing this summer, I hope you have found your happy place too and have a lovely July.

 

Kirsten

xx

 

 

What a week! As well as hardback and e-book publication of A Respectable Woman, this week also marks the first book-birthday of The Deserter's Daughter. Publication day, June 22nd 2017, passed in a haze of excitement. I had wanted to be a published author ever since I was a child, though for many years as an adult I never actually submitted any of my work to agents or publishers.

 

On publication day, we celebrated with an afternoon tea for friends in the Imperial Hotel on the sea-front here in Llandudno. Some of my friends presented me with a fabulous flower arrangement - complete with an S in pink roses; cotton-wool flowers created by the florist (cotton = Manchester, the setting for The Deserter's Daughter); and all housed in a genuine 1920s mixing bowl, for my 1920s story.

 

 

There have been lots of wonderful moments since last year's publication day....

 

... such as the first time I saw my book in the library catalogue in Llyfrgell Llandudno Library....
...and my first shelfie... 
...though in a year of special moments, possibly the best was hearing The Deserter's Daughter being read as a talking book by Julia Franklin, who for years has been one of my two favourite audiobook readers. Having my book read by Julia is pure cherry-on-the-cake stuff!

 

Special moments, wonderful as they are, are just that: moments. I can honestly say that the best thing of all about the past year has been the friendship and support of all the people, both writers and non-writers, who have been part of my writing life; and in that group I include all the readers whom I have never met but who have tried out the book by this new author.

 

Thank you to everyone who has connected with me in the real world or the virtual world. I am grateful to you all.

 

 

It's the beginning of June and that means it's time for Kirsten to look back and tell us what went on last month.

 

And maybe it's time to change the series title from The Querying Trenches, Kirsten...?

 

* * * *

 

So now I have an agent, it’s all going to be a smooth-sailing, dream come true, happy ever after stuff …

Right?

Sort of ...

My agent, Felicity, is totally brilliant and lovely. Her editorial suggestions all make perfect, intuitive sense. All I need do is:

  • Streamline the first chapters so we get into the action more quickly.

  • Include a happy ‘before’ scene so we can see how far the protagonists fall.

  • Feed in one of the sub-plots gradually - rather than an info-dump at the beginning.

Then a final polish and off to the publishers.

Easy-peasy.

This, of course, is what I should have done:

1. Read through my notes

2. First draft of changes

3. Edit and polish changes

4. Celebrate



This is what actually happened:

1. Brilliant! All makes perfect sense. And there’s actually very little to do

*goes shopping*

2. It’s all so blindingly obvious I should have thought of it myself. What sort of writer am I? Felicity must think I’m crap. I think I’m crap

*jet washes patio*

3. *Opens laptop. Closes laptop. Colour-co-ordinates wardrobe*

4. So, this is what they mean by ‘The Fear’. I can’t do this. I don’t know where to start. Oh God. And now Felicity’s going to be sorry she’s signed me up. It will be the shortest agent/ writer relationship in history. Everyone will laugh at me. I’ll have to move continents …

5. *Binge-attempts African countries quiz. Now know exactly where Burkino Faso is. V useful for future WIPs. Not that will have agent … *

6. * Eats body weight in chocolate*

7. *Chocolate hangover*

8. Maybe Felicity will make the changes for me if I ask really nicely. Maybe she could be co-author …

9. *Attempts quiz of 2013 USA baby names. Useful research for future projects. What kind of name is Genesis anyway?*

10. This is a disaster. I really need to get started

11. *Opens document and cracks on*

12. All this slashing and burning and killing darlings is very therapeutic.

13. It’s reading much better

14. This is fun!

15. *Celebrates with a Curly Wurly*

16. This new chapter is tricky. The word count is going up …

17. So this is what they mean by The Fear …

18. *Repeats cycle again*

19. *And again*

20. *And again*



Somehow, though, I’ve culled 7,000 words, added the new chapter and am midway through feeding in the subplot. So, maybe it doesn’t matter how you do it, so long as you get on and do something.

Onwards and upwards!

I hope you’re all having a magnificent June.



 

So here's a question for you: who is reading this?

 

Recently I was involved in an online conversation, which started with the question: what constitutes a successful blog? The number of visits? The number of comments? In my case, those two numbers are wildly different. For example, in April my blog was visited by 840 people a total of 1,459 times. Yet my blogs receive very few comments by comparison.

 

 

So far this month, 96 people have visted my Welcome page a total of 140 times; and I'm thrilled about that, because since the start of the year, I have made a point of putting something new on the Welcome page every week. I like to think that readers appreciate that. When I look at other websites, I find it disheartening when some pages stay the same for months on end. I want my website to have something fresh every week, even if it only an update of the books I am reading/listening to and a link to a blog from the archives in the weeks when there isn't a new blog.

 

Similarly, by posting new photos of Llandudno on a semi-regular basis, I have encouraged more people to take a look and the 'Llandudno' page has substantially increased in popularity.

 

So: back to the original question. Who is reading this? Who are these lovely folk who take an interest in my website? I would love to think that some people are here because they enjoyed The Deserter's Daughter and they're looking forward to A Respectable Woman... but I have no way of knowing.

 

I know that plenty of people read blogs without ever leaving a comment, just as there are countless avid readers who have never posted a book review. If just one or two of you would take a deep breath and leave a comment to say, "Hi. I'm here because I read The Deserter's Daughter.... because I stumbled across your Llandudno page.... because I thought it was due to be one of Kirsten's guest blogs this week(!)...," I would be so chuffed. Go on: you know you want to....

 

 

 

This week, I am delighted to welcome Kate Field to my blog. Kate is the author of The Magic of Ramblings and  The Truth About You, Me and Us, both of which are contemporary romance novels about relationships and romance, and both of which I highly recommend. I enjoyed The Magic of Ramblings so much I named my cat Cassie after the heroine!

 

Kate is here to contribute to my occasional series, What I Learnt From....

 

* * * *

 

 

What I learnt from… taking part in an anthology

 

For the last couple of years, I’ve been a member of a writing group called Authors on the Edge, made up of romantic fiction authors from across Yorkshire and Lancashire. We meet several times each year in Hebden Bridge, a pretty Yorkshire town close to the border with Lancashire, to have lunch, catch up on writing news and to cheer and comfort each other as needed.

 

I couldn’t believe my luck when I was asked to join: the other members are a hugely talented bunch, and include Mary Jayne Baker, Sophie Claire, Jacqui Cooper, Helena Fairfax, Melinda Hammond, Marie Laval, Helen Pollard and Angela Wren.

 

Over lunch last summer, Helena asked whether we’d be interested in joining together to produce an anthology of stories. Everyone loved the idea and the theme was swiftly settled: we would write about a mysterious character called Miss Moonshine and her quirky shop, where people found what they needed rather than what they wanted.

 

That was the easy part – then we had to write the stories and put it all together in a book! I’m delighted to say that we’ve done it and as I’m writing this, we’re looking forward to publishing Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings on 18 May.

 

I’ve learnt a few things from the experience:

 

The book cover is crucial. It’s an obvious point, but I’ve never seen the effect of it before. We were incredibly lucky, as Mary Jayne Baker is a graphic designer and she produced our cover for us. It’s absolutely gorgeous! The anthology became a bestseller on Amazon within a week of going up for pre order, and I’m sure the cover paid a large part in that.

 

I can write outside my ‘comfort zone’. So far, I’ve only written full length novels set in Lancashire, so it felt quite a challenge to be asked to write a short story set in Yorkshire! I also found it difficult at first to write about a character that I hadn’t invented myself and spent time developing. Having said that, I came to love Miss Moonshine and now I’ve read all the stories, it’s remarkable how we have all written such a similar character!

 

Even in a joint project, I need to find my own ‘voice’. My novels tend to be character-driven rather than plot-driven, and I struggled for a long time with how to develop the characters as I wanted to, in roughly one tenth of my usual word count. There were a couple of times when I didn’t think I could do it and wondered whether to drop out, so I didn’t spoil the anthology with a rubbish story. Even when I made it to the end of the first draft, it didn’t feel right, but I couldn’t say why. Then, after putting the story aside for a while, I realised what I should have done with it from the start. I made some changes and I knew immediately that the story now sounded like ‘me’. It was a huge relief! One of the things I love most about the anthology is that I can hear each individual author’s ‘voice’ in their story, even though we were starting from the same idea.

 

I’m not good at sticking to word counts. We were supposed to aim for 8-10,000 words. Mine weighs in at over 11,000. I gratefully accepted Helena’s advice: a story is as long as it needs to be!

 

It’s much easier to promote an anthology. I hate doing ‘buy my book’ type posts on social media. ‘Buy our book’ posts don’t seem anywhere near as pushy, as I can convince myself I’m doing it for the other authors!

 

It’s always an anxious time waiting for reviews to arrive on a new book. I didn’t think it could be more nerve-wracking, but now I’ve found it can be! I live in dread of the reviewer who loved all the stories except mine. I would hate to let the team down.

 

 

Self-publishing isn’t as scary as I thought it would be. This is largely thanks to the members of Authors on the Edge who have self-published before and know what they are doing! But it’s been good to be in control of every detail: the blurb, the cover, the marketing strategy, the timing of publication… Everything has been done the way we wanted, when we wanted, so it really feels like ‘our’ project. A committed group of writers can knock the socks off many publishers when it comes to preparing for publication.

 

Probably the most important one – it’s so much more fun to publish a book with friends! Perhaps Miss Moonshine might consider opening a second branch in Lancashire one day and we can do it all over again…

 

 

 

Links:

 

Twitter: @katehaswords    

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KateFieldAuthor/      

 

 

Miss Moonshine's Emporium of Happy Endings on Kindle   

 

 

Well, here it is, the one we have all waited for ever since Kirsten started writing her guest blogs at the beginning of last year.....

 

 

Despatches from the Querying Trenches – April

 

Or

 

THE ONE IN WHICH I GET AN AGENT!

 

 

So, this was the month *it* happened.

 

The month I signed to an agent.

 

Yippee!

 

It’s been thrilling! Exhilarating, overwhelming and probably not an exaggeration to say one of the most exciting things ever to happen to me.

 

You may remember from my last post, three weeks ago, that I’d just sent my revised full manuscript to six agents. As with the previous round of submissions, I think I was expecting some nice comments about my writing together with the usual ‘didn’t quite love it enough,’ and ‘not quite right for our list’. You know the sort of thing! And that was fine, I decided … it was my debut novel, I’d revised it a couple of times, I could do so again. But there was always, always that little glimmer of hope. Maybe this time I’d be lucky …

 

And I was!

 

In fact, I was lucky enough to have a little flurry of interest from several agents. And two rejections - there are always rejections, aren’t there? Then Felicity Trew from the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency sent me a lovely email saying how much she had enjoyed the book and how she’d stayed in her dressing gown all Sunday to finish it and would I like to come up to London to discuss it with her? Wow!

 

I’d seen Felicity speak at the RNA Conference last year and really liked her energy and enthusiasm and obvious passion - and she was one the Bookseller’s Rising Stars of 2016 - and, running a boutique agency myself, I was keen to be represent by one …. Anyway, it was safe to say I was very, very excited. And funnily enough, when I saw where the agency is - three minutes’ walk from Notting Hill Gate - that was the icing on the cake. Not that I’d chose an agent based solely on location, obviously, but Notting Hill has a very special place in my heart. My uncle and late aunt used to have an antiques stall on the Portobello market and my sisters and I would visit the market on a Friday, buy some old tat and then spend the afternoon cleaning it up before trying to flog it on the stall the next day. Oh, the excitement! When I was about ten, I bought a silver spoon for 20p and sold it for £2.50 and then there was that little teak condiment set that made £3 profit and ….

 

Anyway, I digress! I met the same uncle - now 90 and still living the high-life - for lunch and then went to meet Felicity, Caroline and Georgia at the agency and then Felicity swept me down the street to Polpo for tea.

 

We got on like a house on fire and then she offered to represent me and said she’d like to take my book to The London Book Fair later that week. Honestly, it was brilliant! I was so excited that I couldn’t finish the gorgeous orange meringue I’d ordered. I finished the bubbly though.

 

Hurrah!

 

So here am I with an agent and feeling a curious mixture of pride, relief, excitement and fear. To be honest, it feels a bit weird. When you decide to attempt the traditional publishing route, getting an agent becomes everything. It’s almost the goal in itself and you have shamefully little idea of what happens next. Or, at least, I don’t. It’s a bit like scrambling up a very steep hill with lots of slipping and sliding and once you haul yourself over the edge, yes, there’s the gorgeous vista you’d hoped for but there but there are also mountains in the distance and you realise you have no idea how to scale them. Luckily, I’m now part of a team and I love the feeling of moving from ‘me’ to ‘us’. It’s wonderful discussing possible editorial and title changes with someone who not only ‘gets’ my book but also loves it and is really excited to be representing it and me.

 

I’m very, very happy indeed!

 

And I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way and who has shared in my excitement over the last week or so. Thanks so much for the messages and the cards and the flowers.

 

You’re all fantastic!

 

 

In two months, on June 21st, my second saga for Allison & Busby, A Respectable Woman, will be published. Recently I blogged about how my heroine, Nell Hibbert, came by her name. This week, I thought I'd show you the possible blurbs I wrote for the book.

 

It may surprise you to know that the author doesn't write the blurb that appears on the book. That is the job of the publishing elves. But the elves like to have a bit of guidance and so I was asked to produce a blurb for them to take as their starting point.

 

So I wrote three blurbs. Why? Well, to provide as much information as possible for the elves to choose from. The first blurb was almost all about Nell, the heroine; the second introduced other characters and story elements; and the third concentrated on Nell and Jim, the hero.

 

(Incidentally, the other thing about being asked to produce a blurb is that you are given a word count. Mine was to write a blurb of approximately 200 words. All three of mine are exactly 200. Result!)

 

I have published them all here. What do you think of them?

 

* * * *

 

A Respectable Woman - blurb 1

 

After losing her beloved family in the Great War, Nell is grateful to marry Stan Hibbert, believing that with him, she can recapture the loving family feeling she has lost. Five years on, she is just another back-street housewife, making every penny do the work of tuppence and performing miracles with scrag-end. When she discovers that Stan is leading a double-life, she runs away to make a fresh start elsewhere.

 

Two years later, in 1924, Nell has carved out a fulfilling new life for herself and her young children in Manchester, where her neighbours believe she is a respectable widow, as do her fellow-workers in the garment factory where she is a talented machinist. Even her children believe their father is dead. Nell lives for her children and tries hard not to fall in love with Jim Franks, the handsome window cleaner who does so much to help her. After all, she is really a married woman.

 

When a figure from the past turns up, Nell has to face a court case. Will the respectable life she has fought for be enough to allow her to keep her children or will her lies mean she will lose them forever?

 

 

* * * *

 

A Respectable Woman - blurb 2

 

Manchester, 1924. Nell Hibbert has a secret. Her back-street neighbours and her fellow-workers in the garment factory admire her as a hard-working, respectable young widow, but really she is the runaway wife of a duplicitous husband. Over the past two years, she has carved out a fulfilling new life for herself and her young children and believes her shameful past is behind her.

 

Nell's dear friend, Leonie Brent, has a secret. Her overbearing son-in-law is making her life a misery, but she can't speak out because she can't bear to upset her daughter. Besides, what would the neighbours think?

 

Leonie's young granddaughter Posy also has a secret. Her charming father is really a cruel bully and her mother pretends not to know.

 

Jim Franks has no secrets. Everyone knows he is a former solicitor who has worked as a window cleaner since the War while coming to terms with deep-rooted feelings of loss. He is in love with Nell, but what can he do to make her notice him?

 

When a figure emerges from Nell's past, she and her friends face fresh challenges as hidden truths emerge, relationships are strained and Nell is threatened with losing her beloved children.

 

 

* * * *

 

A Respectable Woman - blurb 3

 

1924, Chorlton, Manchester. Life is looking up for young widow Nell Hibbert. She and her two small children live with a loving elderly couple and Nell's skill with the sewing machine enables her to get a desirable job as a sewing machine demonstrator in a department store. Discovering a flair for teaching inspires her to think of working for herself. Could a lass from the back-streets really do that? Nell devotes her life to her children and her work, while trying not to fall in love with Jim Franks. He may be the perfect man for her, but Nell Hibbert has a secret. She isn't a widow; she is a runaway wife.

 

Jim Franks has no secrets. Everyone knows he was a well-to-do solicitor before the War. Now he works as a window cleaner while coming to terms with deep-rooted feelings of loss. He loves Nell but can't get her to notice him. His former fiancee, the elegant Roberta, on the other hand, is eager to get back together.

 

When a figure emerges from Nell's past, she must face a court case. Can Jim help her keep her beloved children? And can Nell and Jim find the happiness they deserve?

 

 

* * * *

 

So there they are, my three attempts at writing a blurb for A Respectable Woman. Which do you think is best? Do leave a comment and tell me. And if you like the sound of Nell's story, I hope you'll put in a library request for it.