A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “Second World War”

Blog Tour – ‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ by Maggie Mason ~ @LittleBrownUK @Authormary

‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ was published on the 18th April 2019 in paperback by Sphere and is also available as an eBook and in hardback.  I was thrilled to be invited by the author to take part in this blog tour and would like to thank the publisher for my review copy of this book.

You will find out in a minute what I thought of this book.  First though, here’s the blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

The perfect read for fans of Mary Wood, Kitty Neale, Val Wood and Nadine Dorries
***PREVIOUSLY CALLED BLACKPOOL EVACUEE***

Clara is forced to flee her home as the Nazis invade the beautiful island of Guernsey

Separated from her mother, far away from anything familiar, she is at the mercy of a cruel shopkeeper. Clara is worked like a dog, but the warmth of her Blackpool friendships will go far to save her.

Julia just wants to find her beloved daughter – but the trials of war will keep them far apart.

They will meet again – but the war will change everything for mother and daughter

 

My Review

As you probably know by now I love family sagas and historical fiction. I was really looking forward to reading ‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ and I can tell you that it was well worth the wait. I truly loved this story and was totally hooked all the way through. Maggie Mason is such a wonderful writer and tells it how it would have been in the 1940s. It is obvious that a lot of research and care and attention has gone into writing this book.

Set during the Second World War, this is the story of Julia and her young daughter Clara. The Nazis could invade Guernsey at anytime and Julia has no other option but to put her daughter’s safety before her own, even though that means they will be separated from each other. Clara is about to embark on a journey and doesn’t know where she will end up. When she finds out that she is being sent to Blackpool her spirits lift a little.

Clara’s life is far from easy and she has to do a lot of growing up quickly. Along the way she makes some good friends and they keep her going, even with things as unbearable as they are.

There were lots of characters in this story, many with their own tragic tale to tell. But whatever happened they kept going one way or the other. Then there were the unsavoury characters, i.e. the gangsters. The brutality Clara and others like her faced was appalling and at times there didn’t seem to be much hope for them, so it was nice to see that they could have a bit of fun together sometimes. Both Clara and Julia went through a lot and their lives changed so much over the years.

‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ is absolutely outstanding and is definitely one of my favourite books of the year. With unforgettable characters this is a story that will stay in my heart for ages. I hope Maggie Mason writes lots more books.

If like me you love family sagas then I recommend that you buy yourself a copy. You won’t be disappointed and will be wanting more.

~~~~~

‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blackpool-Evacuee-Maggie-Mason/dp/0751573191/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1555612146&sr=1-1-fkmrnull

 

About Maggie Mason

Maggie Mason is a pseudonym of author Mary Wood. Mary began her career by self-publishing on kindle where many of her sagas reached number one in genre. She was spotted by Pan Macmillan and to date has written many books for them under her own name, with more to come. Mary continues to be proud to write for Pan Macmillan, but is now equally proud and thrilled to take up a second career with Sphere under the name of Maggie Mason. A Blackpool Lass is her first in a planned series of standalone books and trilogies set in her home town of Blackpool.

Mary retired from working for the National Probation Service in 2009, when she took up full time writing, something she’d always dreamed of doing. She follows in the footsteps of her great-grandmother, Dora Langlois, who was an acclaimed author, playwright and actress in the late nineteenth – early twentieth century.

It was her work with the Probation Service that gives Mary’s writing its grittiness, her need to tell it how it is, which takes her readers on an emotional journey to the heart of issues.

 

Links

Website – https://www.authormarywood.com/

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Authormary

 

Blog Tour – ‘A Ration Book Christmas’ by Jean Fullerton ~ @rararesources @CorvusBooks @JeanFullerton_

‘A Ration Book Christmas’ was published in paperback and as an eBook by Corvus on the 11th October 2018.  I am beyond thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour and would like to thank the lovely Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate.  I would also like to thank the publisher and author for my review copy of the book.

I will tell you what I thought about ‘A Ration Book Christmas’ in a minute.  First though, the important bit.

 

Book Blurb

With Christmas approaching, the Brogan family of London’s East End are braving the horrors of the Blitz. With the men away fighting for King and Country and the ever-present dangers of the German Luftwaffe’s nightly reign of death and destruction, the family must do all they can to keep a stiff upper lip.

For Jo, the youngest of the Brogan sisters, the perils of war also offer a new-found freedom. Jo falls in love with Tommy, a man known for his dangerous reputation as much as his charm. But as the falling bombs devastate their neighbourhood and rationing begins to bite, will the Brogans manage to pull together a traditional family Christmas? And will Jo find the love and security she seeks in a time of such grave peril?

 

My Review

This is the very first book by Jean Fullerton that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was absolutely superb. I love sagas so this story was right up my street and I found that I didn’t want to put it down.

Set in 1940 during the Second World War, the author described in great detail the horrors of the Blitz and the people who lost their homes and/or businesses due to the bombing. The number of casualties kept growing on a daily basis and it didn’t look as if anything would improve anytime soon. So good were the author’s descriptions that I could virtually see the scenes in my head; the fires, the rubble from buildings which had been destroyed and the general mayhem.

I really enjoyed getting to know the Brogan family. Out of all of them my favourites were Jo and her grandmother, Queenie, who I thought was just hilarious at times. The war seemed to offer Jo a new-found freedom. She learnt quite a few useful skills along the way which meant she could do her bit. It was also when she fell in love, but as she was soon to find things weren’t as simple as she thought they could be. She fought for what she wanted thought. I thought Ida was lovely too, working hard and then going out in search of food for her family each day.

I really like how Jean Fullerton has added a couple of Ida Brogan’s Christmas recipes at the back of the book after the story. A nice finishing touch I thought.

I am so happy to have discovered another author whose work is new to me and I really hope to read Jean Fulllerton’s previous books when I get the chance.

~~~~~

‘A Ration Book Christmas’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://goo.gl/eZ4TD5

 

About Jean Fullerton

Jean Fullerton is the author of eleven novels all set in East London where she was born. She is also a retired district nurse and university lecturer. She won the Harry Bowling prise in 2006 and after initially signing for two East London historical series with Orion she moved to Corvus, part of Atlantic Publishing and is half way through her WW2 East London series featuring the Brogan family.

 

Social Media Links

Website: http://jeanfullerton.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Fullerton-202631736433230/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeanFullerton_

Blog Tour – ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ by Mary Wood

‘Brighter Days Ahead’ was published in paperback and as an eBook by Pan Books on the 30th November 2017. Mary Wood was looking for people to take part in a blog tour for this book and as I liked the sound of it I was delighted to participate. I would like to thank the lovely Kate Green at Pan Macmillan for my review copy.

This story is set during the Second World War from 1940 onwards. Molly lives with her repugnant father who has betrayed her on many occasions. From a young age, living on the streets of London’s East End, she has seen how harsh life can be. When Molly is kidnapped by gangsters and forced into their underworld her future seems bleak.

Flo spent her early years living in an orphanage. Years later and she is about to turn her hand to teacher training. When a kindly teacher at her school approaches her about a job at Bletchley Park, it could turn out to be the best move she makes.

It’s been absolutely ages since I’ve read a saga so I was really looking forward to ‘Brighter Days Ahead’. This is the first book I have read by Mary Wood and I am so glad to have come across yet another author. I somehow had the feeling I would enjoy this book and I wasn’t wrong. I loved the cover and thought it was beautiful. I also liked Mary Wood’s style of writing and the way the chapters were set out. The editing was excellent too and it was obvious that a lot of research had been undertaken.

The story is narrated by a few characters, but mostly by Molly and Flo. Through them the reader gets to follow their lives during the war, meeting a number of other characters along the way. I was so into the story that I actually felt at times as if I was there with Molly and Flo. My heart almost broke when reading about Molly and the abuse she went through. I kept hoping that she would have a happy ending. I absolutely adored Flo. She was such a loving and kind person who gave a lot of her time to people who were in desperate need of help. Even when things were tough for her she still carried on as best she could. Such a strong and charismatic person was Flo. I loved her northern accent too and the way she said ‘Eeh, it’d be grand’ quite often.

As well as the war, this story dealt with a number of other issues including homosexuality which was in those days a crime. I personally thought it was such a shame that people were imprisoned simply for being in love with a person of the same sex.

If you enjoy sagas then I definitely recommend reading ‘Brighter Days Ahead’. Though there is quite a lot of doom and gloom in the story, there is also a real sense of the community coming together during hard times.

I will be waiting patiently for Mary Wood’s next book, but in the meantime I can at least check out her backlist.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

About Mary Wood

Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1945, the thirteenth child of fifteen children, Mary’s family settled in Leicestershire after the war ended.

Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool during the summer and Spain during the winter – a place that Mary calls, ‘her writing retreat’.

After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 – 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels

Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle.

Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.

When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening. One of her favourite pastimes is interacting with her readers.

 

Links

‘Brighter Days Ahead’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brighter-Days-Ahead-Mary-Wood/dp/1509811184/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1512496621&sr=1-1

Website – https://www.authormarywood.com/

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Authormary

 

Guest Post by Gillian Mawson

author-picture

I am delighted to have the lovely Gillian Mawson on my blog today.  Gillian has written a truly fascinating guest post which I hope you all enjoy reading as much as I did.

 

“I WON’T HAVE ANY EVACUEES!” – THE  BRITISH FAMILIES WHO REFUSED TO TAKE IN EVACUEES DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR

Since 2008 I have interviewed over 500 people, who were evacuated as children or as adults, from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Gibraltar and the Channel Islands. Families have also given me access to the testimony and documents of those who have passed away. During the Second World War it was viewed as an important part of the British war effort for householders to take evacuees into their homes. Letters from local councils and wartime posters appeared everywhere, entreating housewives with the words, “When you take in an evacuee you will be doing a splendid service for the nation” and “Caring for Evacuees is a National Service.”

picture-1

However, a study of wartime newspapers shows that, for various reasons, some householders emphatically refused to provide accommodation to evacuees. A Staffordshire newspaper revealed that housewives had slammed the door in the faces of the Women’s Voluntary Service when they called to ask how many evacuees could be accommodated at that house,  ‘There were occasions when householders slammed the door in the faces of  the WVS ladies! That, to say the very least, was adding insult to injury.’  James Roffey still recalls the day in early September 1939 when he and his sister were taken to a cottage in Pulborough, West Sussex:

The young man who had brought us there knocked loudly on the door. No one appeared and the door remained tightly closed, so he knocked again, much louder this time. Suddenly the door opened and a very cross-looking woman appeared and shouted, ‘Who are you and what do you want?’ The young man, who was obviously taken aback, replied, ‘I have been sent by the Billeting Officer to bring these two evacuees.’ She immediately answered, ‘Well you can take them away again. I won’t have any bloody evacuees!’ and slammed the door shut. He knocked on the door again and the woman immediately opened it and again started shouting at him, but this time he put his foot in the doorway to stop her shutting it. Then he pushed us inside, saying, ‘You’ve got to take them by law; if you don’t I’ll call the police.’

Few households were willing to provide a home to evacuated mothers with a child and the Rochdale Observer stated, ‘The accommodating of mothers and children presented great difficulties and in the final stages, compulsory powers had to be exercised. ‘ Alfred Goble will never forget his arrival in Somerset, with his mother and sister, ‘They gave us a bun and a cup of tea and put us into this hall for the night. No one wanted to offer us a home. The next day we had to go to Wells and the same again there – no one wanted the three of us. I remember standing by the Cathedral and Town Hall, weeping with Mum as we were kept waiting.’

picture-2

Some families initially took evacuees into their homes, then quickly tried to get rid of them.  One Cheshire housewife asked her local Billeting officer, ‘Can you find another home for the girl? I simply don’t have the time to look after another child as I already have two of my own.’   Newspapers described court cases involving families, who, for various reasons, refused to keep evacuees. The Stockport Advertiser stated, ‘Mr and Mrs Jones of Offerton were charged with refusing to accept an evacuee. The clerk pointed out to the couple that it was unpatriotic of them and they were fined.’ The Leek Post stated, ‘For failing to accept two evacuees Mr. William Wardles Sales of Leek was fined two pounds and ten shillings costs at Leek police court on Wednesday. This was the first case of its kind to be heard in a local court.’[i]  Later on in the war, more cases appeared in the Leek press when hundreds of London evacuees arrived in the town, fleeing the flying bombs:

Three people were each charged with failing to comply with a billeting notice and total fees and costs amounted to over £40 were imposed. The defence in each case constituted a plea of poor health and in 2 of the cases lack of domestic help also. Mr Horace Bowcock was charged with failing to comply with a billeting notice on the 25th of July, and with a similar offence on the 27th of July. The Clerk read a letter from Mr Bowcock stating he was unable to comply with the notices during the past 5 years. His wife has been in poor health and has constantly been receiving medical attention. At the time of the billeting notice they were expecting his wife’s unmarried sister who was ill to come from Macclesfield on a visit. They had only 2 bedrooms and a small room which was used as a study.[ii]

A Gloucestershire newspaper shared the tragic case of a couple who had become depressed because evacuees were billeted with them. As a result, Sir William Reid had gone into Burford Woods, killed his wife then shot himself:

Sir William’s brother stated in court, ‘Soon after the evacuees arrived, Sir William asked me to go over with him on his wife’s behalf to try and get the evacuees taken from the house. Afterwards he got very dissatisfied because I know he got rather short shrift.’ The coroner replied, ‘Did having to take in evacuees depress him?’ The brother replied, ‘Yes, it was owing to his intense fondness for his wife that he attempted to get rid of the evacuee children billeted with them. He told me that he was quite sure that his wife could not carry on.’ The jury returned a verdict that Sir William murdered his wife and then himself whilst not of sound mind.

My third book, ‘Evacuation in the Second World War told through Newspaper reports, Official documents and the Accounts of those who were there’ will be published on 30 November 2016 by Frontline Books. It contains testimony, wartime photographs and documents from hundreds of evacuees – children and adults – who spent the war years in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It also includes testimony from Channel Island and Gibraltar evacuees. For more information, see:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gillian-Mawson/e/B008MWQ0IE/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_

My British evacuation blog can be found at:

https://evacueesofworldwartwo.wordpress.com/

 

________________________

[i]      Leek Post and Times, 18 January 1941, p.1. The Argument was his wife’s bad health – they would like children but could not manage them.

[ii]     Leek Post and Times, 11 August 1944, p.1.

 

Guest Post by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

Author Picture

I would like to introduce you all to Phyllis Edgerly Ring.  Phyllis lives in New Hampshire and returns as often as she can to her childhood home in Germany. Her years there left her with the deep desire to understand the experience of Germans during the Second World War. She has studied plant sciences and ecology, worked as a nurse, been a magazine writer and editor, taught English to kindergartners in China, and frequently serves as workshop facilitator and coach for others’ writing projects. She is the author of the novel, Snow Fence Road, and the inspirational nonfiction, Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details.

Phyllis has written a guest post for my blog.

~~~~~

Not even in extra-large versions of my wildest dreams did I imagine I would write a novel in which Hitler’s wife is a character.

The Munich Girl is about many things, including a secret friendship between two women, one of whom was the megalomaniac’s mistress — later wife — Eva Braun.

But it’s really about two facets of human experience that matter a great deal to me.

The first is the inner reunion of “coming home to” our truest self that we all must eventually encounter. We each have our own timetable for this, but my opportunity to accompany many people toward the end of their lives has assured me that this is so.

The second, and even more intriguing facet, for me, is the mysterious role that others play in that process, often in highly unexpected ways.

Anna, my novel’s protagonist, grew up eating most family meals under her father’s war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun. This baffling situation has never been explained, other than that the portrait is a sort of emblem for her father of the Allies’ triumph over the evils of the Third Reich.

Everything in Anna’s life is turned upside-down when she discovers that her mother had a secret friendship with Hitler’s mistress, and that the portrait is a key to unwrapping all of the other secrets this enfolds. An added complication is Hannes, a man whose Third-Reich family history is linked with Anna’s. (I’m not a series writer, but if I were, Hannes would be the character who called me back.)

In the years I spent in Germany as both child and adult, some of the kindest, most morally courageous people I knew were those Germans who never wanted the war, or National Socialism, and found creative ways to outlast it and to help others as they did. They also found ways to endure, not lose heart, and keep faith and hope in times of enormous destruction and suffering. And, they made meaningful choices wherever they could, mostly on behalf of others, more than themselves.

I always sensed that there was a lot waiting to be revealed under the surface of such stores as theirs. I just never could have imagined that the path to them would be linked with the life of Eva Braun. When I learned that an action she took in the last week of her life saved tens of thousand of Allied prisoners of war, including some British family members of my own, it was a turning point for me as a novelist. When her portrait then surfaced in my own life, it started me on a journey determined to uncover the legacies that always outlast every war, all of which, of course, can arise only from love.

 

Book Cover

Find more about The Munich Girl: A Novel of The Legacies That Outlast War at:

http://www.amazon.com/Munich-Girl-Novel-Legacies-Outlast/dp/0996546987/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447865405&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Munich+Girl

 

Links

Find the author’s blog at: http://phyllisedgerlyring.wordpress.com

Connect on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PhyllisEdgerlyRing?ref=hl

On Twitter: http:// www.twitter.com/phyllisring

At Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2890301.Phyllis_Edgerly_Ring

For information about all books by Phyllis Edgerly Ring visit:

http://www.amazon.com/Phyllis-Edgerly-Ring/e/B001RXUFD6/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: