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Cover Love . . . with Juliet Greenwood

Posted on 29th July, 2021

You may remember that my favourite book of 2020 was The Ferryman's Daughter, which was written by Juliet Greenwood.

 

This week I am delighted to welcome Juliet to my blog to talk about her new book, The Girl with the Silver Clasp, and tell us why the front cover is so special to her.

 

I love everything about the cover for ‘The Girl with the Silver Clasp’, my second book for Orion and out on 22nd July 2021. When I first saw the cover, I gave an audible gasp. It’s not only beautiful in itself, especially that hopeful clear blue of the sky, but it also perfectly reflects the story. I love the simplicity of the way the figure stands on the cliffs, with the hint of the harbour that lies at the heart of the book just visible in the background. I love her quiet dignity and look of contemplation as she gazes over the evening sea, and her sense of inner strength that all three of my heroines possess in their different ways. And the cliffs, of course, unmistakeably the Cornish coast where the story is set, with the heather giving it that summer feel. It is both calm and dramatic, and I just long to follow that path and find out where it leads!

 

 

What I also love is that the figure reflects a part of each of my three heroines. In the story, Jess stands on the cliffs in the evening light as she falls in love with the process of turning metal into stunning objects, and determines to pursue her creativity. The path on the cliffs above the harbour is also where Rachel tries to overcome what we could now call PTSD after her experiences driving an ambulance on the front line in WW1. While the tiny silver clasp barely visible on the figure’s hair reflects Giselle, the Hollywood actress with a broken heart, who turns out to have unexpected connections to both Jess and Rachel, and the harbour itself. When I was thinking of the cover, I couldn’t imagine choosing between my three heroines, whose intertwining stories are impossible to separate. I never believed it was possible to hint at each of them, while also capturing the determination they share to overcome the odds stacked against them, and for it to be so exquisitely beautiful.

 

But I have to say that the thing I love most, and is a total streak of genius that makes the cover come utterly alive, is the yellow scarf, blowing behind the figure in the breeze. I’ve tried to visualise the picture without the scarf, and it just wouldn’t be the same. It would be too blue, and with the heather and the evening light it would be too dark, which – despite the heartache all three women face at times – doesn’t reflect the story. It’s such a simple thing, but it provides that splash of brightness that makes all the difference and brings the cover into one.

 

I can’t imagine a better cover for ‘The Girl with the Silver Clasp’. Every now and again I have to take another peak to make sure it’s just as perfect as I imagined it to be – and it always is!

 

 

The Girl with the Silver Clasp

 

Will they find the courage to follow their dreams?
 
St. Ives, 1916.
 

Jess Morgan always hoped to become a celebrated silversmith, but when the men return from war she's forced to return to her job as a seamstress. All she can cling to is the memory of that delicate, unique silver clasp she created for a society bride.
 
Rachel Bellamy served as an ambulance driver on the front line during the Great War but now it's up to her to save the family home and picturesque harbour from her wealthy brother-in-law, before it's too late.
 
Giselle Harding fought her way up from poverty to become a Hollywood movie star. Yet even the most beautiful jewels she owns will never fill replace the man she lost.
 
As the lives of the three women collide, will they be able to overcome their differences and fight together for the dreams they once held so close?

 

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Juliet's links:

Her author page on Amazon  

 

Meet her on Twitter  

 

Juliet's author page on Facebook 

 

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The Story Behind the Story ... by Eva Glyn

Posted on 22nd July, 2021

The Missing Pieces of Us, the debut novel by Eva Glyn, was published on July 21st.

Eva writes emotional women’s fiction inspired by beautiful places and the stories they hide. She loves to travel, but finds inspiration can strike just as well at home or abroad.

She cut her teeth on just about every kind of writing (radio journalism, advertising copy, PR, and even freelance cricket reporting) before finally completing a full length novel in her forties. The Missing Pieces of Us is her first novel as Eva Glyn, and will be followed by The Olive Grove later this summer.

Eva lives in Cornwall, although she considers herself Welsh, and has been lucky enough to have been married to the love of her life for twenty-five years. She also writes as Jane Cable.

Here, Eva shares the story behind the story . . . .

* * * *

I wrote The Missing Pieces of Us a long time ago, and even then it had been a while brewing.

 

The starting point for the book was visiting the tree in the woods above the River Hamble, where the children leave their letters and the fairies, elves and wee folk who live there reply. And the children have their own way of saying thank you. Or please.

 

The oak stood on a rise just above the path, not too tall or wide but graceful and straight, its trunk covered in what I can only describe as offerings – pieces of ribbon, daisy chains, a shell necklace, a tiny doll or two, and even an old cuckoo clock.”

 

It must have been in the spring of 2010. 2009 had been my annus horribilis, with my husband having a major health scare, me ending up in hospital with blood poisoning, and a close friend having a breakdown so massive they absented themselves from the world for most of the year. The walk above the banks of the Hamble, bluebells lining the way on either side, and the sight of the tree ahead, seemed to me a sign of renewal, of new beginnings. But I knew it had stories to tell.

 

But the initial scene, where Izzie sees Robin as a homeless man in Winchester, was already written, in my head at least. The Christmas before we had gone to the city early one Sunday to visit the Christmas market and beforehand had had a coffee in Caffe Nero, which is opposite the medieval buttercross. As we sat inside, watching the homeless men gather there, a thought occurred to me – a thought so strong the inner author recognised it as an opening scene – and as we sipped our skinny lattes a character sprang to life in my head.

 

Inside the café, Claire sits me down at the nearest table while she queues for our drinks. She’ll be gone a while. I unbutton my coat and spread it over the back and arms of the low leather chair, sliding into its silky lining. I close my eyes but I can still hear Christmas: instrumental carols through the chatter. A face drifts across my memory… a pair of intense hazel eyes. No. It was twenty years ago.”

 

Now I had a place with a story, and a character with a story, and as is the way with these things, they became stronger and stronger in my head. But unlike Susanna, I write my books directly onto my computer, so much of the actual writing of what was then The Faerie Tree and is now The Missing Pieces of Us was done in my study in our cottage in West Sussex.

 

From the calculator on my desk you can tell I was still working as an accountant (which I did for a while even after we moved to Cornwall in 2017). The gladioli and sweet peas had just been brought up from our garden by my husband, and the photos on the wall were of our Cornish holiday home and of the property that inspired my debut novel, The Cheesemaker’s House. Which is of course another story entirely.

 

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The Missing Pieces of Us:

An emotional and page-turning family saga perfect for fans of Barbara O’Neal, Amanda Prowse, and Susanne O’Leary!

‘Full of mystery and magic’ Heidi Swain

There are three versions of the past – hers, his, and the truth.

When Robin Vail walks back into widow Isobel O’Briain’s life decades after he abruptly left it, the dark days since her husband’s unexpected passing finally know light. Robin has fallen on hard times but Izzie and her teenage daughter Claire quickly remind him what it’s like to have family…and hope.

But Robin and Izzie are no longer those twenty-something lovers, and as they grow closer once more the missing pieces of their past weigh heavy. Now, to stop history repeating, Izzie and Robin must face facts and right wrongs…no matter how painful.

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Website: www.evaglynauthor.com

Facebook: Eva Glyn, Author 

Twitter: @JaneCable 

 

Amazon: Eva Glyn's author page

Cover Love . . . with Michelle Rawlins

Posted on 16th July, 2021

 

This week, I am delighted to welcome Michelle Rawlins to my blog. Michelle is the author of Women of Steel, which is the true story of those wartime women who kept the steel foundries going.

 

Inspired by the knowledge she gained from this research and from the extraordinary women who shared their tales with her, Michelle has now embarked upon creating a saga series.

 

She's here today to talk about why the book's cover means so much to her.

Photo by Scott Merrylees.

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Cover Love by Michelle Rawlins

 

The cover for The Steel Girls makes me smile every time I look at it. Not only does it perfectly depict my main three main characters, but it is also symbolic of the journey my feisty wartime factory ‘sisters’ travelled.

 

 

The visualisation of Betty, Nancy and Patty, not only bring their vibrant and individual characters to life, it also is symbolic of a formidable band of women looked war in the eyes and made a vow to not just ‘do their bit’ but to do it with an extraordinary steely and determined resolve, in a bid to ensure their families were cared for and their menfolk came home.

 

They stood together, united; unexpected bonds created as women from all walks of life worked as one, with a single common goal – to do everything they could to support the Allied forces and to do it with enthusiasm and passion.

 

The Steel Girls sits in the saga genre, and the covers for these books, do follow a certain and distinguishable pattern. However, I am in complete awe of Design Director, Kate Oakley, at HQ stories, who with my editor, and input from myself, created the cover, with all its well thought out nuances and unique individuality.

 

When you begin researching, planning, and then writing a book, it’s natural to start envisaging what your characters look like. From what colour hair they have, how tall they are, their smile, the colour of their eyes and what they wear, it’s all part of the process. And for me it’s intrinsic. Every paragraph I write, each section of dialogue and the screens I create, I have the images and physical description of my characters in mind. I ask myself: ‘Is that what they would really say? Is that what they would wear? Am I doing them justice?’ I’m always incredibly grateful for my editor, Katie Seaman, who goes through my manuscript with a fine-tooth comb, to check and double check, that how I portray my characters is in keeping with their personalities.

 

The cover isn’t just about the personifications of the individuals in the book, although they do take centre stage, but it also sets the scene and is symbolic of a time in history, a bygone age; in The Steel Girls case – World War Two Sheffield. The muted background of the industrial factories, smoking chimneys and a deliberate nod to the RAF, with a Lancaster Bomber soaring through the blue skies of England, protecting King and country, are all the cleverly created imagery to set the over-arching tone and atmosphere of the book.

 

Much closer to home, the cover, strikes a personal chord with me. My five-year-old daughter, Tilly, is always asking me what my characters are up to now. ‘Are they having fun Mummy?’ is a constant question. I happily tell an occasional white lie, and say yes, especially if I’ve hit a point in the book when one of my characters are having a difficult time - after all Tilly is far too young to deal with the atrocities war threw at my women. Sometimes, I don’t need to lie though, as Patty – one of my Steel Girls, and my little girl’s favourite character, for no other reason that she’s the youngest, has ‘vanilla’ (blonde to you and me) hair, a pink headscarf, and red lipstick, does love the lighter side of life.

 

When the book was published, I had an identical headscarf made for my daughter, which she wears proudly and tells everyone she is Patty, from Mummy’s book, leaving my heart close to bursting.

 

So, for a myriad of different but equally significant reasons, The Steel Girls cover, is incredibly special to me and, as I said initially, never fails to make me smile.

 

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Blurb:

 

Sheffield, 1939. With war declared, these brave women will step up and do their bit for their country

Housewife Nancy never dreamed that she’d end up in Vickers steelworks factory but when husband Bert is called up to serve, she needs to put food on the table for her two young children.

Betty’s sweetheart William has joined the RAF Reserves so she can’t sit around and do nothing – even if it means giving up her ambitions to study law at night school.

Young Patty is relishing the excitement the war brings. But this shop-girl is going to have to grow up quickly, especially now she’s undertaking such back-breaking and dangerous work in the factory.

The Steel Girls start off as strangers but quickly forge an unbreakable bond of friendship as these feisty factory sisters vow to keep the foundry fires burning during wartime.

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Links:

Michelle's author page on Amazon 

 

Michelle on Twitter

 

Michelle's author page on Facebook  

 

A Life-Affirming Story

Posted on 9th July, 2021

A while ago, I wrote a blog about the importance of life-affirming stories. That was before the pandemic and I imagine that this quality in a novel is even more important these days. In that blog, I described the life-affirming story as “the sort of book that touches on the strength of the human heart, and encompasses the resilience of the individual and a basic belief in goodness and hope.”

 

One of the novels I used to illustrate my point was Christmas at the Foyles Bookshop by Elaine Roberts. This is how I described it: “an emotional story, filled with love and loss, friendship and family, mystery and duty, heartache and hope... It gradually builds up to a gloriously satisfying ending brimming with that special life-affirming quality that, put simply, makes the reader feel good about the world."

 

After the success of her Foyles trilogy, Elaine is now writing a new saga series, of which the first is The West End Girls. The series will follow the fortunes of Annie, Rose and Joyce. This first story opens with Annie, who has yearned to leave her home in the country, deciding in a now-or-never moment that the time has come to set off for the bright lights of London in the hope of stardom. But this is 1914 and life is about to change for everybody.

 

 

In this tale of love, ambition, heartache and the importance of following your dreams, Elaine Roberts has written another of her trademark heart-warming and engrossing sagas. The friendship of the three main characters shines through as they support each other, come what may, and this forms the cornerstone of the book and very probably of the whole series. Elaine has written another book with that very special quality – that of being life-affirming.

 

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Link to Elaine’s author page on Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

An Engrossing Wartime Saga

Posted on 2nd July, 2021

 

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be welcoming saga author Michelle Rawlins to my blog for the first time, so it seems appropriate to give her an introduction here to those of you who haven’t yet come across her, by sharing my thoughts on her debut saga, The Steel Girls.

 

The first thing to say about Michelle is that she isn’t simply a novelist. She is an accomplished and experienced journalist and she has written Women of Steel, which recounts the real-life stories of some of the brave women who worked in the steel industry during the Second World War… so it’s no surprise that she chose to use the knowledge she gleaned from these first-hand accounts as the basis for her saga.

 

The story follows the fortunes of Betty, Nancy and Patty through the weeks leading up to the declaration of war in 1939 and from then through the opening weeks of wartme, when they sign up to work as steel girls. Of the three of them, my personal favourite was Nancy. She had a lot to cope with and her sense of struggle was very true to life. I rooted for her from the start and was glad to watch her grow in confidnce.

 

All three of the friends grow and develop as characters, not just because of the ups and downs in their personal and family lives but also because of what they have to face in their day-to-day working lives at Vickers, including prejudice and resistance from some of the men.

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The story is rich in the detail of the era. Michelle is clearly very knowledgeable but she delivers her nuggets of knowledge with a light touch that is natural and highly readable. This warm-hearted, engrossing tale of friendship and courage is a lovely start to what promises to be an excellent series.

 

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Michelle's author page on Amazon  

 

Michelle's page on Twitter

 

Excerpt from 'The Olive Grove' by Eva Glyn

Posted on 25th June, 2021

Last week, my good friend Jane Cable was here, talking about why she thinks the cover of her forthcoming book, The Forgotten Maid, is just right for the dual-timeline story. This week, Jane is with me again, and once again it's to do with a book cover. This time I am joining in the excitement of the cover reveal for The Olive Grove, which is written under Jane's pen name, Eva Glyn. It will be published on September 3rd.

 

Also, I am very proud to be able to share with you an exclusive extract from the book, just to whet your appetite.

 

Here is the beautiful cover . . .

 

 

and here is the excerpt . . .

 

An island full of secrets… a summer to discover them all

 

KORCULA, 1996

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She watches him as he sleeps, dark hair plastered untidily to his head, one arm flung wide over the pillow. Like his father. Every day he grows more like his father. Except the boy’s pyjamas are decorated with faded teddy bears. He really needs a new pair. And new shoes. Things that are not easy to come by in a country that has been at war.

 

Her forehead creases into a frown. These have become small worries now. She had dreamed of raising a child more than anything, but not like this. All the same, the bonds of love and blood are strong. He is her sacred charge, sent by God in the hour of her greatest need. But however much she prays, He is completely silent on what she should do about the letter.

 

She had not known the writing on the envelope, but the postmark was clear. A woman’s hand too, so she had hidden it in her bedside drawer for days before she dared to open it. And as she read those fateful words, she sank down onto her knees and wept.

 

Of course, she could always pretend she had never received it, then nothing need be done. They could continue as they were, and she would know the small hand in hers until he grew too big to hold it, the trust in those deep brown eyes would be hers alone. But so many times she asks herself: what is best for the child? Best for the boy she loves more than life itself? Best for Ivan’s son?

 

She tears herself away from his sleeping form and retreats to the solitude of her bedroom. Sleep evades her; even the half-doze she has perfected in case he wakes from a nightmare of his life before he came here. She must decide how to reply. Consider not just the now, but the years that stretch far, far into his future. Think with a clarity that is not blinded by love.

 

The next morning, after he has left for school, she writes her reply first with a shaking hand, and then again with a bolder one. She copies the address straight onto her envelope and sets it to one side to post. The woman’s letter is trembling in her hand. There must be no trace. No trace. Her fingers fly in fury as she rips it into tiny pieces that fall like blossom around her feet.

 

It is a foolish gesture and means she has to sweep them up. She gathers the fragments into the pocket of her apron and sets off through the olive grove, checking the fruit as she passes. Hand on a gnarled trunk she stops, the roughness of bark beneath her palm, the warmth spreading with the morning sun as it finds its way through the dappled shade. This should have been Ivan’s heritage, and now it will be his son’s. Her letter has made sure of that, and it is better for the boy this way. Because he will forget.

 

She meets no-one on the short path to the rocky cove, alone with the buzz of the bees and the scent of wild thyme. On the deserted beach she fingers the smooth wooden beads of her rosary, while the scraps of paper spin and flow with the lacy edges of the waves until they have melted into the Dalmatian sea. She never wants to read those words again. She has done right, right.

 

What she does not know is that her unconfessed sin will take her from her faith, and her guilt will be etched into her soul until the day she dies. But through it all, it will be worth it, because she will know the joy of his love.

 

* * * *

 

Publisher blurb:

 

An English woman searching for a different future

A man desperate to escape his war-ravaged past

Can these two find what they are looking for on the beautiful Croatian island of Korčula?

Antonia Butler is on the brink of a life-changing decision and a job advert looking for a multilingual housekeeper at a beautifully renovated Croatian farmhouse, Vila Maslina, is one she can’t ignore.

Arriving on the tiny picturesque island of Korčula, Antonia feels a spark of hope for the first time in a long time. This is a chance to leave the past behind.

But this island, and its inhabitants, have secrets of their own and a not-too-distant past steeped in tragedy and war. None more so than Vila Maslina’s enigmatic owner Damir Maric. A young man with nothing to lose but everything to gain…

 

Cover Love. . . with Jane Cable

Posted on 18th June, 2021

This week I am delighted to welcome my friend Jane Cable back to my blog to talk about the cover of her forthcoming novel, The Forgotten Maid, which is the first in her Cornish Echoes series of dul timeline stories, written for Sapere. It will be published on August 3rd and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

 

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There was so much that could have gone wrong with the cover of The Forgotten Maid, and being the first book of my Cornish Echoes series for Sapere Books there was a great deal at stake as it would set the tone for the rest.

 

The Cornish Echoes books are dual timelines set in the early nineteenth century and the present day. Each one is centred on a great house and the hidden stories of the people who lived there, blending the present and the past in haunting tales of mystery and love.

 

The early years of the nineteenth century were at the heart of Cornwall’s economic heyday, a fascinating period when Truro rivalled Bath for style; fabulous houses and forbidding mine chimneys sprang up around the county; and smuggling was rife. An exciting time, as Winston Graham perfectly understood when he set his Poldark novels in this era. But in the world of romantic fiction the period carries the Regency tag with all the stiff formality of high society – and a very definite style of book cover.

While writing the book of course I had to become immersed in the ways of Regency society but I knew Cornish Echoes would be a million miles from Georgette Heyer or Julia Quinn. And when Sapere decided the titles of the first two books would be set firmly in their genre, I began to worry perhaps the overall impression given could be misleading.

 

Which is why I love the cover so very much. It’s modern. Really modern. And that balances the Regency style of the title perfectly. The girl on the beach says holiday read and Cornwall; the way she looks over the sparkling sea hints at loneliness and mystery. Is she waiting? Or has she indeed been forgotten?

 

In the book I describe the glorious north coast of Cornwall where the story plays out, with its cliffs and coves, its wide expanses of sand at low tide, and the changing moods and colours of the sea. And here’s a photograph of one of my locations. The fact the cover captures it perfectly is just another reason for me to fall head over heels in love with it.

 

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Blurb:

Two centuries apart, two lonely women seeking a place to call home....

 

Cornwall, 2015

 

Nomadic project manager Anna Pritchard has arrived in the village of Porthnevek to oversee the construction of a trendy new glamping site. But with many members of the local community strongly opposed to the development, she quickly finds herself ostracised and isolated.

 

Seeking to ease her loneliness, Anna begins voluneteering at a nearby National Trust house in Trelissick, once owned by the aristocratic Daniell family. Anna soon feels her attachment to both Porthnevek and Trelissick deepening, and as she spends more and more time steeped in local history, it seems that the past and the present are beginning to collide.

 

Belgium, 1815

 

After losing her brother in the Battle of Waterloo, French army seamstress Thérèse Rugel is taken to London by war artist Thomas Chalmers, becoming his reluctant muse. But Thérèse is soon sent to Cornwall as a lady's maid to Elizabeth Daniell, a kindly relative of the Chalmers family.

 

Able to speak only a little English - and with the other servants suspicious of her - Thérèse feels lost and alienated. And when she discovers her brother may still be alive, she must decide whether to continue with her new life in England or brave the dangerous journey back to her homeland...

 

What became of Thérèse? Can Anna unearth the ghosts of the past?

 

And has she finally found where she belongs...?

 

Finding Inspiration in the Location.

Posted on 11th June, 2021

A couple of weeks ago, historical novelist Tania Crosse was here talking about the inspiration behind The Harbour Master's Daughter. This week, I'm delighted to welcome her back again, this time to discuss the inspiration behind The River Girl.

 

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My debut novel, published in 2004 and now re-released by JOFFE BOOKs under the title The Harbour Master’s Daughter, was inspired by a visit to Morwellham Quay, the restored Victorian copper port on the Devon bank of the River Tamar. But through repeated research visits there from my home over two hundred miles away, I got to know and fell in love with nearby Dartmoor, which subsequently provided the inspiration for my next novel, recently reissued as The River Girl.

 

I was utterly stunned by the spectacularly savage beauty of the moor, its wild rivers and bleak, open wilderness dotted with magnificent granite crags and tors. My imagination was at once triggered, and I could picture in my head what life must have been like on a remote farmstead way in the past, when the only means of transport would have been on horseback if you were lucky enough to own such an animal, or on foot, traipsing for miles across a barren landscape. Not only would life have been harsh and unforgiving, but what secrets could be kept hidden behind the doors of such isolated, primitive dwellings? So, once again, my original inspiration came from the location itself.

 

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My head was spinning with ideas for a second, this time moorland, saga, but I was keen to link it with the previous story. Dartmoor is principally known as hill farming country, famous for its wild ponies but also for the hardy sheep and cattle that graze free on its uplands. Not every visitor will realise, though, that in the past, the moor was very industrial. One of its main industries was mining, mostly for copper but a variety of ores was extracted from the western areas. Until the arrival of the railway in 1859, the majority of all this heavy ore was taken to Tavistock in waggons and then transferred along the canal to be exported through Morwellham. So what better way to link the two books than by choosing a Dartmoor location that was both nearby and known for its mining?

 

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The choice was obvious. Not far north of Tavistock was the most important copper mine on western Dartmoor, Wheal Friendship, on the Mary Tavy side of the River Tavy. It was said to have the biggest waterwheel in the world, driven by a leat that today still drives the small hydro-electric power station there. Other mines came and went on the opposite bank, on the Peter Tavy side, but while I wanted a link with mining, I wished to concentrate on the remote life at an exposed farm. So while Mary Tavy and mining comes into the story, I decided to set the main action on the windswept slopes above the fascinating village of Peter Tavy leading up onto the heights of the moor.

 

The River Tavy itself, though, has its source way up in a lonely and desolate valley known as Tavy Cleave, ‘where only the mewing cry of the buzzard and the harsh bark of the raven could be heard above the howling wind.’ It is a place where the heroine escapes when her soul is in turmoil, thus the title of the novel, The River Girl. The background image on the cover is that very place, taken by Dartmoor guide and historian, Paul Rendell, editor of a wonderful bi-monthly magazine, The Dartmoor News. I must thank Paul once again for allowing the publisher to use his fabulous photograph.

 

 

The heroine is brought up on her uncle’s lowly tenant farm high above the valley. She yearns to train in medicine, but will have to content herself by following in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife and herbalist. Besides, her uncle has other secret plans for her. When she appears to have escaped his clutches, a vengeful obsession from another source brings the past back to haunt her. Even the man she comes to love holds a dark, terrible secret, and in a heart-stopping climax, each of them is forced to confront a personal terror.

 

When it was first published in 2006, an Amazon reader declared The River Girl to be the best book since Jane Eyre. Why not see if you agree?

 

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Blurb:

Dartmoor, 1858

Elizabeth Thornton has every reason to want to escape from home — a ramshackle farm in the middle of nowhere. Since her father’s death, she’s been trapped here, in the clutches of her lascivious uncle.

 

When a position opens up at Rosebank Hall, she jumps at the chance. She will be a domestic drudge at the beck and call of the house’s cantankerous master. It’s hardly the career of her dreams. Elizabeth wants to be a doctor, but she’ll do anything to be free of her uncle.

 

Then one night, the master’s wayward son turns up, a wounded soldier from a far-flung battlefield — damaged in every way a person can be. But as Elizabeth nurses him back to life, the pair grow closer and everything changes. But Elizabeth’s uncle isn’t ready to relinquish her yet . . .

 

Will she keep on fighting for her freedom? Even with her dark past nipping at her heels?

 

Fans of Nadine Dorries, Rosie Goodwin, Dilly Court, Freda Lightfoot and Catherine Cookson will adore this emotional coming-of-age story.

 

ALSO BY TANIA CROSSE

 

DEVONSHIRE SAGAS

Book 1: The Harbour Master's Daughter

Book 2: The River Girl

Book 3: The Gunpowder Girl

Book 4: The Quarry Girl

Book 5: The Railway Girl

Book 6: The Wheelwright Girl

Book 7: The Ambulance Girl

 

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The River Girl on Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

Calling All Old Ducks!

Posted on 4th June, 2021

 

Since summer has come at last, I'd love to share with you a book that makes perfect summer reading - The Old Ducks' Club by Maddie Please.

 

Maddie is an accomplished author of romcom and this is her best book yet. The heroine is Sophia, who has been badly let down in her personal life and heads off to beautiful Rhodes to lick her wounds. All she wants is peace and quiet - what she gets is the Old Ducks in the next-door apartment, three ladies in their sixties who are out to make the most of life and have lots of fun.

 

 

Through these new friendships, Sophia rediscovers herself. After years of doing what suits everyone else, now it's time for her to suit herself. Oh yes, and that might include a relationship with the gorgeous Theo...

 

The Old Ducks' Club is a warm and funny story and while it's lighthearted, that doesn't mean it's superficial. On the contrary, this is a story about society's expectations of ladies of a certain age as well as being about the way we see ourselves and what contributes to a person's sense of self-worth.

 

It's also worth mentioning the wonderful sense of place. Maddie describes the local area so beautifully that you can almost feel the sunshine on your face.

 

A heartwarming and uplifting story, with fun, sun and friendship. I guarantee you'll want to be an Old Duck as well!

 

* * * *

 

Blurb:

Sophia Gregory has lost her sparkle...

 

Recently single and about to turn sixty, Sophia doesn’t recognise the old woman staring back at her in the mirror. How has life passed her by? A quiet holiday in beautiful Rhodes is the perfect chance for her to find herself.
 
Until she meets the Old Ducks!
 
Juliette, Kim and Anita are three friends who are determined not to grow old gracefully! Bold and brash, they are Sophia’s worse nightmare, until they make her an honorary member of The Old Ducks’ Club! Now dancing and drinking till dawn Sophia starts to shake off her stuffy old life and start living again!
 
And when she meets her gorgeous Greek neighbour, Theo, she thinks that maybe, if she’s just a little braver, she can learn to love again too...
 
It’s never too late to teach an Old Duck new tricks!

 

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The Old Ducks' Club on Amazon

 

 

Finding Inspiraton in Dartmoor's History

Posted on 28th May, 2021

This week I am delighted to welcome historical novelist Tania Crosse back to my blog. Tania is having an exciting time at the moment, as two of her early novels are being reissued. Today she is here to introduce The Harbour Master's Daughter and in a couple of weeks, she'll be returning to tell us all about The River Girl.

 

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As an author, I’m often asked where I get my ideas from. Well, while I draw a great deal on my own experiences of life – and when writing about the Second World War, stories my parents told me of that terrible time – I would say that my greatest inspiration comes from locations. The places can be inspirational in themselves, such as the wilds of Dartmoor where so many of my books are set. But more than anything, it’s the history of the locations that inspires me, and imagining how life would have been there in the past.

 

This was never truer than with my debut novel, THE HARBOUR MASTER’S DAUGHTER. Originally published under the title, Morwellham’s Child, back in 2004, it was inspired by a visit to Morwellham Quay in Devon, once said to have been the greatest copper port in the whole of Queen Victoria’s empire, and a living history museum since the 1970s. If you recognise the name, that’s because it’s where the BBC series, The Edwardian Farm, was filmed. In fact, I was there once when they were filming and sat eating ice-cream with Peter Ginn who was as lovely in person as on screen.

 

While the farm continues to this day, the port went into decline in the last decades of the Nineteenth Century, and it is this period, the beginning of the end, that I depict in the novel. The picturesque location of Morwellham on the banks of the River Tamar that separates Devon from Cornwall, was inspirational in itself, but the turbulent years in the late 1860s to the early 1870s was what interested me most.

 

Copper had been mined in the area for years, and was transported to the river port along the Tavistock Canal. However, in 1844, the greatest deposit of high quality copper ever found in Europe was discovered in a slightly different direction at what became Devon Great Consols. Within a year, a one pound share increased its value to £800! A massive new dock was built, together with a new steam-powered railway to haul the ore over steep Morwell Down immediately behind Morwellham and down to the quay. The port expanded and was incredibly busy with many other goods as well as copper passing through it for many years.

 

However, in the late 1860s, the price of copper fell, and the easily accessible lodes at Devon Great Consols were pretty well exhausted. As the copper trade declined, so did the port, and this had a dreadful knock-on effect on the inhabitants of this small community. But where you have copper, you will often find arsenic, and Devon Great Consols, as well as Wheal Friendship on Dartmoor, survived on this for another twenty years. But it is a very different kettle of fish, extremely dangerous and requiring far fewer workers. Eventually, the arsenic industry, too, met its demise. Morwellham went into rapid decline, existing only as a rural, agricultural community, until the Morwellham Quay and Tamar Valley Trust was set up in the early 1970s to restore the port and open it to the public. The living history museum is now in private ownership.

 

So that terrible era of change is the one I depict in the novel. The harbour master and his family were, of course, in the thick of the action, and his spirited young daughter’s personal life is inextricably linked with the fortunes of the port. She finds herself fighting not only for her life but for the very forces that will govern the port’s future. I do so hope you will enjoy her story as she struggles with both economic and personal misfortunes!

 

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Blurb:

 

Prepare to be swept away by an utterly heartrending saga of one woman’s fight to find happiness.

 

Originally published as Morwellham’s Child.

 

Devon, 1867

Free-spirited Rebecca Westbrook knows her perfect match when she sees him. His name is Captain Adam Bradley.

 

She is the harbour master’s daughter.

 

He is smouldering and sophisticated — the most eligible captain ever to sail into the quay.

 

Anyone can see it’s meant to be. But Rebecca is anything but charmed. Her heart belongs to Tom Mason, a lowly cooper she’s known forever.

 

In her father’s eyes, Tom will never be worthy. But Tom has a plan to prove him wrong. And until then, passionate Rebecca refuses to wait to be with him.

 

But fate has other plans.

 

Tragedy strikes, shattering the couple’s dreams of a life together. Vulnerable and alone, how will Rebecca survive without her soulmate?

 

With the threat of destitution nipping at her heels, Rebecca can see only one way out. Is she strong enough to take it?

 

Fans of Nadine Dorries, Rosie Goodwin, Dilly Court, Freda Lightfoot and Catherine Cookson will adore this emotional coming-of-age story.

 

ALSO BY TANIA CROSSE

 

DEVONSHIRE SAGAS

Book 1: The Harbour Master's Daughter

Book 2: The River Girl

Book 3: The Gunpowder Girl

Book 4: The Quarry Girl

Book 5: The Railway Girl

Book 6: The Wheelwright Girl

Book 7: The Ambulance Girl

 

Link to Tania's books on Amazon