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Archive for the tag “WW1”

Blog Tour – ‘Echo Hall’ by Virginia Moffatt ~ @aroomofmyown1 @unbounders @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Echo Hall’ by Virginia Moffatt was published on the 28th November 2017 by Unbound and is available in paperback, eBook and Audiobook formats.

I would like to thank Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to participate.

I have an extract from ‘Echo Hall’ for all of you.

 

Book Blurb

Set against the backdrop of three wars – the 1991 Gulf War, World War 2 and World War 1 – the novel follows the fortunes of three women who become involved with the Flint family, the owners of Echo Hall.

Phoebe Flint visits Echo Hall in 2014, where she follows in her mother’s footsteps to uncover the stories of a house ‘full of unhappy women, and bitter, angry men’.

Ruth Flint arrives at Echo Hall in 1990 – newlywed, pregnant, and uncertain of her relationship with her husband, Adam. Ghostly encounters, a locked door, and a set of photographs pique her curiosity. But Adam and his grandfather refuse to let her investigate. And her marriage is further strained, when Adam, a reservist, is called up to fight in the Gulf War.

In 1942, Elsie Flint is already living at Echo Hall with her children, the guest of her unsympathetic in-laws, whilst her husband Jack is away with the RAF. Her only friend is Jack’s cousin Daniel, but Daniel is hiding secrets, which when revealed could destroy their friendship for good.

Rachel and Leah Walters meet Jacob Flint at a dinner party in 1911. Whilst Leah is drawn to Jacob, Rachel rejects him leading to conflict with her sister that will reverberate through the generations.

As Ruth discovers the secrets of Echo Hall, she is able to finally bring peace to the Flint family, and in doing so, discover what she really needs and wants.

Echo Hall is a novel about the past, but it is very much a novel of the now. Does history always have to repeat itself, or can we find another way?

 

Extract

2014

I should not remember this place, and yet every step towards the house unnerves me with its familiarity. The war memorial on the road from the village, the aromatic scent of the fir trees guarding the estate, the cawing of the rooks circling overhead, remind me that I have been here before. I was only a year old when I left. It should not be possible for me to remember this, and yet I do.

Perhaps it is because the stories our mothers tell us embed themselves so firmly in our DNA it is as if we lived the experience too. Or the location of our birth imprints itself upon our psyche, so that when we return it is as if we never left. Or perhaps it is just that Echo Hall has been on the edge of my memory for so long that being here feels like a homecoming.

Nonetheless, I hesitate before I pass through the large oak doorway, unsure whether I am prepared to become a tourist in my own life. Maybe it is enough to have reached its hard, grey walls, gazed up at the unforgiving windows, seen the skies louring overhead. And then I think how coincidental it is that I am visiting Sandstown on the weekend the National Trust has chosen to open the house. I realise the chance to visit my first home is too good an opportunity to miss; if I cross the threshold I might understand the past more fully.

So I enter, pay the fee and pick up a brochure describing the history of the Flints – a dry tale of dust and stone, slate and finance that misses the point entirely. Standing here, in the dark lobby, the grandfather clock in its rightful place, I am overwhelmed with a familiar sense of sadness. The ghosts may be long gone, but Mum was right – unhappiness seeps through the walls, even now.

I decide to begin at my beginning. I know exactly where to go: through the green baize door passing the old servants’ kitchens and turning right into the main kitchen. It has been reconstructed as it would have been 100 years ago, in my great-great-grandmother’s time, just before the war to end all wars. On the night Mum’s waters broke in here, there was an old gas cooker, an oak table and Formica cupboards on the walls. Now, the cooker has been replaced by a Victorian range; wooden shelves line the walls, piled with the cooking implements of the period; the table is laid as if the cook is about to prepare a meal, the walls adorned with recipes and household instructions relating to the Edwardian era. It is as if time has looped back on itself, returning the house to its starting point.

I wander back to the hall and enter the living room on the west side of the house – the site of my birth. An elderly couple are already there, examining the display of furniture separated from the rest of the room by a rope. The man is reading out a description of life for the lady of the house in a loud voice. The narrative grates; it bears no relation to reality – my great-great-grandmother was a dour woman, with no time for worldly distractions. It was her sister who enjoyed the finer things in life, although she lost them all in the end. The man finishes; his wife nods with interest, and they depart, leaving me alone.

I close my eyes, remembering Mum’s description of my delivery: how she crouched on all fours, gripping the sofa legs, grunting and screaming as I pushed my way from the silence of her womb into a dizzying new world. For a moment, I imagine I am there: the feelings are so strong my body shakes as if once more I am making that dark dangerous journey into life. I open my eyes, and steady myself on the wall. There is definitely something about this house; no wonder it had such a powerful effect on Mum.

My phone buzzes. It’s Dad:

How’s the revolution going , Comrade Phoebe?

He does love to tease. I’m about to text him an Emma Goldman quote when I remember it should be off. I shove it in my pocket. I will call him later for our weekly bout of political sparring, and tell him about this trip; but for now, I want to explore further. To my disappointment, most of the East Wing and the upstairs are still closed to the public. I glance at my watch. It is two o’clock; I have to be back at the conference by six. There is time for a walk, at least. I traipse back down the corridor by the kitchens, and out through the back garden. I climb the hill. I know instinctively where I will find the gap in the hedge, the gate through to the woods that will take me to Arthur’s Stone.

And, as I follow my mother’s footsteps, her stories lead me on.

 

About Virginia Moffatt

Virginia Moffatt was born in London, one of eight children, several of whom are writers. ‘The Wave’ is her second novel. Her previous publications are ‘Echo Hall’ (Unbound) and ‘Rapture and what comes after’ (Flash fiction collection published by Gumbo Press). She also writes non fiction. Virginia is married to Chris Cole, Director of Drone Wars UK. They have two daughters at University and a son still living with them in Oxford.

 

Links

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aroomofmyown1

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

Website: https://virginiamoffattwriter.wordpress.com/

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3ggdZxJ

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/39IOFOn

Blackwells: https://bit.ly/3ffdouO

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/3gfNjgw

Hive.co.uk: https://bit.ly/3fiaV2C

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Wheelwright Girl’ and ‘The Ambulance Girl’ by Tania Crosse ~ @Books_n_all @JoffeBooks @TaniaCrosse

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour.  I have been following Tania Crosse on social media for quite a while now and am always happy to share her posts.  I love the sound of her books, so when I heard that a couple of them were being republished and that there was going to be a blog tour I jumped at the chance to take part.  I would like to thank the author for making me aware of this blog tour and Jill Burkinshaw of Books ‘n’ All Promotions for inviting me to participate.

‘The Wheelwright Girl’ and ‘The Ambulance Girl’ were republished by Joffe Books on the 4th February 2020 and are available as eBooks.  Here is a little bit more about both books.

 

Book Blurb

A compelling wartime saga about a spirited young woman seeking happiness on her own terms.

Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Rosie Goodwin, Dilly Court, Freda Lightfoot and Catherine Cookson.

Originally published as Wheels of Grace.

 

Dartmoor, 1914. Grace Dannings is a farmer’s daughter. But that’s never stopped her wanting more.

She dreams of making her mark as a London Suffragette. Too bad she’s still stuck in Walkhampton, the sleepy village where she was born.

As a child, she could escape to the wheelwright’s mill. Spellbound, she’d watch labourers hammer white-hot iron and timber into wagon wheels.

Now she’s a woman and nothing about the village feels like home. The men are brutish, the women afraid of change. Her best friend is trapped in an abusive marriage, yet no one seems to care.

GRACE WON’T SETTLE FOR THAT.

Perhaps she could have married Martin, the mill owner’s son. But society says she’s not good enough. So Grace must find a new dream.

SHE WILL PROVE THEM WRONG. BUT CHANGE IS COMING . . .

When World War One breaks out, no one in the village escapes untouched. Grace wants to be part of the war effort.

When the wheelwright’s men leave for the front, Grace immediately volunteers to fill in. The move raises eyebrows in the village.

But Grace has her sights set on a fulfilling new vocation. And she’s not about to stop for anything — or anyone. But at what cost to her own happiness?

A poignant, sensitive and intensely moving account of one village’s war and the endurance of those who wait at home for news of their loved ones.

 

‘The Wheelwright Girl’ can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/WHEELWRIGHT-GIRL-compelling-wartime-self-discovery-ebook/dp/B084HM33L7/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+wheelwright+girl+by+tania+crosse&qid=1581755934&sr=8-1

 

Book Blurb

A compelling wartime saga of love, loss and self-discovery at the battlefield’s edge.

Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Rosie Goodwin, Dilly Court, Freda Lightfoot and Catherine Cookson.

Originally published as Teardrops in the Moon.

 

A YOUNG WOMAN WHO DOESN’T WANT TO BE TIED DOWN

Dartmoor, 1914. Twenty-four-year-old Marianne Warrington is in danger of being left on the shelf. That’s what her mother says and that’s precisely how she wants it.

She has her future mapped out and it doesn’t include marriage or babies. Instead, she vows to devote herself to rearing horses on her parents’ farm.

BUT HISTORY HAS OTHER PLANS

Then World War One breaks out and the Warringtons’ peaceful existence is shattered forever. Amid the chaos, Marianne seizes her chance to prove she’s more than just a spinster.

When her brother leaves for the battlefield, Marianne is determined to follow. She signs up to serve as an ambulance driver in war-torn France. There, she witnesses unimaginable horrors.

Yet there’s one face she can’t banish from her thoughts. It belongs to Major Albert Thorneycroft: a handsome and perplexing stranger who means more to Marianne than she’d care to admit.

WHAT IF FINDING HAPPINESS MEANS LOSING HERSELF?

As the war rages on, a battle ensues between Marianne’s head and heart, testing her resolve like never before.

 

TANIA CROSSE weaves blissfully human stories with impeccable research, giving her characters all the complexity and colour of real life. Tania has been shortlisted for Best Romantic Saga in the 60th annual RoNA Awards.

 

WHAT READERS SAY ABOUT TANIA CROSSE:

I know you spend many hours researching your subject and this truly shows by the way you bring your stories to life. I can never put the book down! I have always enjoyed your books – particularly the Devon ones as it gave us “up country folk” an insight into Devon life and its social history. Can’t wait for the next one now!!” H.

Highly recommend this read. Moments of tragedy are uplifted by a sense of empowering and inspiring strength from the main characters. The narrative is brilliantly authentic and every emotion that is expressed by the characters is mirrored in the reader’s heart.” Cindy

I now look forward to reading more from this brilliant author.” John H.

“Tania Crosse is an excellent story teller. She tells a story of how tragedy turns to happiness in the most unexpected way. ” S.J.

“This is the first book I’ve read by Tania Crosse, but it won’t be the last. I started this just before bedtime, feeling rather sleepy, and then just couldn’t stop reading. I loved everything about this heartwarming story and will look out for all future books by this author. Highly recommended.” Sarah M.

 

‘The Ambulance Girl’ can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/AMBULANCE-GIRL-compelling-wartime-self-discovery-ebook/dp/B084HM3MCH/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1581756719&refinements=p_27%3ATANIA+CROSSE&s=digital-text&sr=1-1&text=TANIA+CROSSE

~~~~~

Both books sound great and I am really looking forward to reading them.

 

 

About Tania Crosse

Historical novelist Tania Crosse was born in London and lived in Banbury Street, Battersea, where her two most recent titles are set. However, at a very young age the family moved to Surrey where Tania’s love of the countryside took root. She always enjoyed reading and has composed stories ever since she could hold a pen. After studying French Literature at university, she devoted twenty years to bringing up her family. But her passion for writing never left her, and side by side with her in-depth research into Victorian social history, she began to pen her novels in earnest as her family grew up.

When Tania discovered Morwellham Quay, the restored Victorian copper port and now living history museum in Devon, she fell in love with this magical place and felt a spiritual compulsion to create a story that would illustrate life there in times gone by. This led to the publication of her debut novel, ‘Morwellham’s Child’, and now Tania has fourteen published titles with which to thrill her readers.

Tania has now completed her series of novels illustrating the rich history of Tavistock and the surrounding area of Dartmoor from Victorian times to the 1950’s. She is now working on a series of Twentieth Century stories set in London and the south east. She draws very much on her own experiences of life to create her books. She hates being catagorised as a writer of historical romance. The history comes first, she insists, and the human tales develop from her research. The characters lead harsh, demanding lives and their stories are often cruel and harrowing.

Tania has been happily married for forty five years and claims she would never have achieved her success without her husband’s support. They have three grown up children, two grandchildren and three grand-dogs!

 

Links

Website – http://www.tania-crosse.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/TaniaCrosse

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TaniaCrosseAuthor

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1797249.Tania_Crosse

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Fall of Poppies’ by Various Authors

Fall of Poppies Cover

I am very excited today to be taking part in this cover reveal.  Read on to find out more about ‘Fall of Poppies’.

 

Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War

by Heather Webb, Hazel Gaynor, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer Robson, Jessica Brockmole, Kate Kerrigan, Evangeline Holland, Lauren Willig, Marci Jefferson

Top voices in historical fiction deliver an intensely moving collection of short stories about loss, longing, and hope in the aftermath of World War I—featuring bestselling authors such as Hazel Gaynor, Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig and edited by Heather Webb.

A squadron commander searches for meaning in the tattered photo of a girl he’s never met…

A Belgian rebel hides from the world, only to find herself nursing the enemy…

A young airman marries a stranger to save her honor—and prays to survive long enough to love her…The peace treaty signed on November 11, 1918, may herald the end of the Great War but for its survivors, the smoke is only beginning to clear. Picking up the pieces of shattered lives will take courage, resilience, and trust.

Within crumbled city walls and scarred souls, war’s echoes linger. But when the fighting ceases, renewal begins…and hope takes root in a fall of poppies.

 

~~~~~

 

Excerpt from “Hour of the Bells”

A short story included in Fall of Poppies

Beatrix whisked around the showroom, feather duster in hand. Not a speck of dirt could remain or Joseph would be disappointed. The hour struck noon. A chorus of clocks whirred, their birds popping out from hiding to announce midday. Maidens twirled in their frocks with braids down their backs, woodcutters clacked their axes against pine, and the odd sawmill wheel spun in tune to the melody of a nursery rhyme. Two dozen cuckoos warbled and dinged, each crafted with loving detail by the same pair of hands—those with thick fingers and a steady grip.

Beatrix paused in her cleaning. One clock chimed to its own rhythm, apart from the others.

She could turn them off—the tinkling melodies, the incessant clatter of pendulums, wheels, and cogs, with the levers located near the weights—just as their creator had done before bed each evening, but she could not bring herself to do the same. To silence their music was to silence him, her husband, Joseph. The Great War had already done that; ravaged his gentle nature, stolen his final breath, and silenced him forever.

In a rush, Beatrix scurried from one clock to the next, assessing which needed oiling. With the final stroke of twelve, she found the offending clock. Its walnut face, less ornate than the others, had been her favorite, always. A winter scene displayed a cluster of snow-topped evergreens; rabbits and fawns danced in the drifts when the music began, and a scarlet cardinal dipped its head and opened its beak to the beauty of the music. The animals’ simplicity appealed to her now more than ever. With care, she removed the weights and pendulum, and unscrewed the back of the clock. She was grateful she had watched her husband tend to them so often. She could still see Joseph, blue eyes peering over his spectacles, focused on a figurine as he painted detailing on the linden wood. His patient hands had caressed the figures lovingly, as he had caressed her.

The memory of him sliced her open. She laid her head on the table as black pain stole over her body, pooling in every hidden pocket and filling her up until she could scarcely breathe.

“Give it time,” her friend Adelaide had said, as she set a basket of jam and dried sausages on the table; treasures in these times of rations, yet meager condolence for what Beatrix had lost.

“Time?” Beatrix had laughed, a hollow sound, and moved to the window overlooking the grassy patch of yard. The Vosges mountains rose in the distance, lording over the line between France and Germany along the battle front. Time’s passage never escaped her—not for a moment. The clocks made sure of it. There weren’t enough minutes, enough hours, to erase her loss.

As quickly as the grief came, it fled. Though always powerful, its timing perplexed her. Pain stole through the night, or erupted at unlikely moments, until she feared its onslaught the way others feared death. Death felt easier, somehow.

Beatrix raised her head and pushed herself up from the table to finish her task. Joseph would not want her to mourn, after two long years. He would want to see her strength, her resilience, especially for their son. She pretended Adrien was away at school, though he had enlisted, too. His enlistment had been her fault. A vision of her son cutting barbed wire, sleeping in trenches, and pointing a gun at another man reignited the pain and it began to pool again. She suppressed the horrid thoughts quickly, and locked them away in a corner of her mind.

With a light touch she cleaned the clock’s bellows and dials, and anointed its oil bath with a few glistening drops. Once satisfied with her work, she hung the clock in its rightful place above the phonograph, where a disk waited patiently on the spool. She spun the disk once and watched the printed words on its center blur. Adrien had played Quand Madelon over and over, belting out the patriotic lyrics in time with the music. To him, it was a show of his support for his country. To Beatrix it had been a siren, a warning her only son would soon join the fight. His father’s death was the final push he had needed. The lure of patrimoine, of country, throbbed inside of him as it did in other men. They talked of war as women spoke of tea sets and linens, yearned for it as women yearned for children. Now, the war had seduced her Adrien. She stopped the spinning disk and plucked it from its wheel, the urge to destroy it pulsing in her hands.

She must try to be more optimistic. Surely God would not take all she had left.

Reprinted Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers

 

William Morrow Trade Paperback; March 1, 2016; $14.99; ISBN: 9780062418548

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