Tania Crosse Introduces Another New Book!

Posted on 4th March, 2022

I'm delighted to welcome Tania Crosse back to my blog again for her second appearance here in as many weeks, as part of her blog tour to celebrate her two latest books. Like last week, Tania will introduce The Girl at Holly Cottage through a Take Two Characters blog.


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I’d like to start by thanking Susanna once again for hosting not one but two stops on the blog tour for the double release of books eight and nine in my Devonshire series. So very kind of her. The first article featured Terri Nixon’s A Cornish Homecoming together with book eight of my own series, The Dartmoor Girl, originally published by Allison and Busby as Lily’s Journey back in 2009, but now being re-released under its new title by Joffe Books. Book nine was also published by Allison and Busby back in 2010 as Hope at Holly Cottage, but is now re-released by Joffe Books as The Girl at Holly Cottage.


But first I want to talk about the main character from Judith Barrow’s wonderful novel, The Memory. I’ve read many fantastic books in the last year, but for me, as a piece of literature, this one stood out. The tag line on the cover is Mother and daughter tied together by shame and secrecy, love and hate, and that’s exactly what the story is about. Anyone who, like myself, has cared for an elderly parent with dementia, will utterly empathise with the heroine and that’s without the addition of The Memory to cope with, the memory being something the heroine witnessed in her youth that turned her world upside down.


One of the joys of the novel is its structure. Each chapter starts with a short piece that throughout the book moves through a period of two days, almost hour by hour, in 2002. In this we see the heroine, Irene, as a grown woman, utterly worn down, being disturbed every few hours both day and night by her mother. ‘I can’t go on, Mum,’ she says in the first chapter, and yet she does, driven by devotion and duty. But not just to her mother. To the ghost of her little sister whom she adored. Rose sadly had Downs’ Syndrome and passed away as a child. And Irene knows why.


The bulk of each chapter then takes us through Irene’s life, starting in 1963 when she was eight years old and Rose was born. The book ends when the two timelines merge. We see Irene as a happy young girl, but lurking in the background is a sense of unease at her family situation. Gradually as she goes through life and matures, this intelligent woman is beaten down by circumstances. She can never have a proper life of her own. Even her marriage becomes endangered. It all comes down to her mother and yet Irene refuses to give in and put herself first. As it says on the back cover, they are two women trapped. You can’t help but feel Irene’s resentment and complete weariness totally entwined with her love and determination. And then comes the huge, unexpected twist that turns her life and her past on its head. I was so pleased that Irene finds some sort of peace at the end of this powerful, tragic tale. She deserves it for her utter devotion, loyalty and self-sacrifice.


Moving on now to The Girl at Holly Cottage. It begins in Plymouth in 1954. Schoolgirl, Anna, and her family have kept a tragic secret from a terrible night in the Blitz on the city during the war. But when that secret rears its ugly head, Anna flees to nearby Dartmoor, believing that she could be in danger. Here, her attempts to create a new life for herself are thwarted by her own naivety, but along the way, she meets various other women of different ages and from completely different backgrounds, all of whom have a secret cross to bear. It is one of these women, Queenie, I would like to tell you about.



Apart from a period during the First World War when she went to work at a munitions factory, Queenie has lived her entire life at remote and tiny Holly Cottage on the moor. It has been a hard life with no running water or electricity, scraping a living by growing her own vegetables, keeping goats and running a little tea shop for walkers. As a result, Queenie appears much older than her sixty-odd years. Known by all the locals in nearby Princetown for her heart of gold, she rescues Anna from a dire situation and welcomes her, as a complete stranger, into her humble abode. The two become inseparable, supporting each other through thick and thin.


But Queenie has a tragic secret from her youth that has never left her. Anna notices little things she says, slips of the tongue. Or is Queenie’s mind starting to play tricks? She has little lost moments, possibly what we would diagnose nowadays as mild TIAs or transcient ischaemic attacks which can lead to vascular dementia, thus linking to what I have written above about The Memory. It is clear that Queenie will always be troubled by her secret past, and yet her warmth and kindness to others is unfailing. She was an absolute joy to create and I think will continue to live on in my heart for a very long time.


So, I do hope you have enjoyed my pieces about not just my own characters but from other books I have greatly admired. Hopefully they have whetted your appetite to read the stories in full, and once again, a huge thank you to Susanna for her kindness and support. Please do read her novels written under her various pseudonyms. They are amazing!


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The Girl at Holly Cottage on Amazon  


Tania's other books on Amazon  



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Comments (2)

I love your review of Judith Barrow's The Memory - it's such a powerful and moving book! Now I need to have a look at The Girl at Holly Cottage!
I am overwhelmed by these comments on Irene and her mother in The Memory. Thank you so much, both of you, for this. Love the sound of The Girl at Holly Cottage. Needless to say, as a great fan of Tania's stories, I have bought it. Congratulations and good luck with your latest book, Tania.. xx