Take Two Characters ... with Poppy Cooper

Posted on 19th November, 2021

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Before I introduce this week's blog, I wanted to grab your attention to ask you to join me here on my website on Monday 22nd for some special news.


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And now onto the main business, which is Kirsten's return to my blog, this time in her Poppy Cooper persona. Poppy's second novel in her Post Office Girls saga series will be published on 25th November and she's here today to reveal some insights into one of her characters, but first she's going to tell us about a character into a different book.


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I’m was so thrilled when Susanna asked me to participate in her marvellous Take Two Characters series as I’ve really enjoyed reading all the contributions to date. Thank you so much for asking me to get involved, Sue.


I've just finished Louise Fein's wonderful novel, The Hidden Child, a poignant and thought-provoking book - and my first memorable character comes from there. Set in 1929, the novel explores some terrifying themes - most noticeably the burgeoning eugenics movement in the UK.



The bumpf tells us:


Eleanor Hamilton is a dutiful mother, a caring sister and an adoring wife to a celebrated war hero. Her husband, Edward, is a pioneer in the eugenics movement. The Hamiltons are on the social rise, and it looks as though their future is bright.

When Mabel, their young daughter, begins to develop debilitating seizures, they have to face an uncomfortable truth: Mabel has epilepsy – one of the 'undesirable' conditions that Edward campaigns against.

Forced to hide their daughter away so as to not jeopardise Edward's life's work, the couple must confront the truth of their past – and the secrets that have been buried.

Will Eleanor and Edward be able to fight for their family? Or will the truth destroy them?’

I loved the character of Eleanor. Louise Fein is brilliant at bringing to life characters who can have pretty unpalatable beliefs and yet who remain real and credible and multi-dimensional. Eleanor is a product of her time and place and she has to develop the inner strength and conviction to overturn the social mores of the time and to do what she thinks is right – despite what she is almost certain to lose in the process. She is compelling both as a mother and a warrior (or maybe the two go hand in hand!) and I loved both her and the book as a whole.

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For a character from one of my own books, I turned to Milly Woods who is the protagonist in my latest book, A Post Office Christmas. This is the second in my Post Office Girls series - written as Poppy Cooper - which takes place in the Army Post Office’s Home Depot in London’s Regent Park in World War One.


Like Louise Fein’s Eleanor, Milly is very much a product of her time and place – although she is several years younger than Eleanor, comes of age fifteen years earlier and is form an altogether humbler background in the East End of London. When war breaks out, Milly is determined both to ‘do her bit’ but also to make the most of the hitherto undreamed-of opportunities that are opening up to women while their menfolk are away fighting.



Milly is also passionate about righting some of the wrongs in her world; in particular, the fact that women don’t have the same rights as men – and do not even have the vote. Like Eleanor, Milly has to learn to stand up and fight for the things that she believes in; a more fiery and headstrong character than Eleanor, she also needs to learn - the hard way! - when she has gone too far and how to rein it in.


Milly was a fabulous character to research and write and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her, her strengths and weaknesses and her softer, more vulnerable side. The war was a great melting point for women of all backgrounds and Milly forms two great friendships with women she would not otherwise have met. I enjoyed writing about their camaraderie and their tensions and whenever I needed inspiration on that front, I had only to look at my own eighteen-year-old daughter – another ordinary young woman (although never to me!) living through extraordinary times.


Thank you, Sue, for inviting me back onto your wonderful blog and for asking me to participate in your fabulous series. I’ve really enjoyed it.



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Kirsten's / Poppy's Links:


A Post Office Christmas on Amazon  


The Post Office Girls on Amazon 


Poppy Cooper's author page on Amazon


Kirsten's author page on Amazon 


Kirsten's page on Twitter  


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