Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Anzac Biscuits

In my Australian novel, Southern Sons, the characters eat 'oat biscuits' which were also sent to the troops fighting in World War I.

Some history of the biscuit which came to be known as the 'ANZAC Biscuits'.

An Anzac biscuit is a sweet biscuit, popular in Australia and New Zealand, made using rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter (or margarine), golden syrupbaking soda, boiling water, and (optionally) desiccated coconut.[1] Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I.


For the full recipe and method.

Southern Sons
1914, Australia. As war is declared, the idyllic world of Blue Water Station is torn apart when Oliver, the eldest grandson and heir, shares his desire to enlist in the army. His enthusiasm ignites his brother, cousins and friends to do the same, but upsets his sister, Tilly. 
After a tragic family incident, Tilly is left to run the cattle station and take care of the older folk. A chance meeting with a sophisticated Lieutenant opens up a friendship through letters, but it’s a rogue stockman who attracts her attention with dire consequences. With the men at war, and her heart pulled in two directions, Tilly must grow up quickly and face the consequences of her rash decisions. Will She find her own happiness?
Surviving a baptism of battle fire in Gallipoli, Turkey, Oliver and the men are sent to France and feel the brutal force of the Western Front. The only glimmer of light for Oliver is his relationship with Jessica, an army nurse. But as the terrors of war impact him, he feels the heavy guilt of encouraging the others to follow him into combat. Will he, and they, ever make it home to Blue Water. 
Can the grandchildren of Kitty McKenzie survive the horrors of war?

Will they survive the war?


Saturday, November 11, 2017

New cover for Eden's Conflict

Eden's Conflict - My Victorian saga has had a revamp.  I felt the old cover wasn't getting the right response from readers. So I worked with Josephine, a graphics designer (JB Graphics) who is wonderful in my opinion, and after telling her about the story and what I envisioned, she came up with the cover you see below.
I love it. Those who have read the story will see how much the cover represents the story as well.


Eden's Conflict
Blurb:
1901 - A new century brings change to the carefully ordered world Eden Harris maintains, change that threatens all she holds dear. Despite years of devoted service to the Bradburys, the leading family of the community, Eden hides a secret that would affect them all. When an enemy returns, her world is shattered and her secret exposed. Torn and provoked, she strains to protect her family until a devastating accident leaves her alone and frightened. As the threat against her grows, Eden takes her precious daughters and flees from the only place she's called home, to live amongst masses in York. 
Her attempt to start anew is not so simple as the past haunts her, and the one man she thought lost to her so many years before, returns to claim what has always been his. Eden must gather her strength and look into her heart to accept what the future offers. 
Can she find the happiness she longs for?

Eden's Conflict is available now.
Purchase 
Amazon: myBook.to/EdensConflict

Friday, November 10, 2017

Remembrance Day


Tomorrow is November 11th - Remembrance Day.
It is one of those days that I am passionate about. The end of WWI should be remembered and honoured by all. 
After all the research I have done for my books set in WWI, I am utterly in awe of what that generation went through to keep us safe and to retain our freedom. 



The poem below makes me cry every time. 
Lest We Forget.
In Flanders Field by John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Australian historical novels don't sell...?

Three of my novels are in the top 10 of Australian category. Kitty McKenzie's Land, Nicola's Virtue & Southern Sons.

I'm so pleased that they are doing well because I feel that a lot of the time the reading public ignore the region of Australia and southern countries and islands, when in truth they are wonderful places to learn about and enjoy. I suppose everyone has their favourite areas where authors set stories, as they do by having favourite genres and historical eras. However, there is room for more, less known countries to be featured and explored, and I really encourage readers to try something new and different.

Throughout the many years I've been writing, I've been told constantly that Australian set historical novels don't sell outside of Australia. Well, I beg to differ. Agents who have said in the past to me to not bother writing Australian historical novels may not have been willing to take a chance, and I think that is a mistake.
I'm excited by the fact that people may be branching out and trying books set in other areas outside of the main countries that are so popular. If you are one of those readers, thank you!

Amazon UK. Australian & Oceania category. 13th October 2017. 9:48 am.
Proof that sometimes readers buck the trend.
 
 


Monday, October 09, 2017

Book Fair at Morley

Last Saturday I attended the Morley Lit Festival, which held a book fair in the Town Hall. Unfortunately the turn out wasn't great, perhaps due to the awful cold wet and windy day. But that didn't stop all visitors.






A selection of my books.
 

I met some lovely readers and signed some books. The highlight was meeting Deborah, an avid reader and supporter of authors, who runs a couple of Facebook pages promoting historical fiction authors like myself. I was so pleased to see her and have a chat in person - and of course we had a photo taken!



Deborah and myself

Friday, October 06, 2017

Novel setting, a peek inside...

My latest release, Southern Sons, is set in Australia and France during the Great War.
It's about the grandchildren of Kitty McKenzie, who live on a large cattle property (or cattle station) called Blue Water.
I set Blue Water in the country area of Northern New South Wales, near the town of Grafton which sits on the mighty Clarence River. A smaller river runs off the Clarence, called Orara. Blue water sits on the edge of the Orara River.
In a chapter in Southern Sons, Tilly learns to drive her father's motor car and she drives it miles from Blue Water to Grafton to do some shopping. She has to cross the Clarence River on a steam ferry, and I have found a picture of the actual ferry.



The picture below is something similar to the motor car, Tilly would have learned to drive while the men were at war.
 
Tilly also went on a cattle muster, to bring in the cattle that grazed the hundreds of acres of Blue Water...
 
 
and at night they would camp by the fire.
 

Read Tilly's story in Southern Sons.


 
Blurb: 1914, Australia. As war is declared, the idyllic world of Blue Water Station is torn apart when Oliver, the eldest grandson and heir, shares his desire to enlist in the army. His enthusiasm ignites his brother, cousins and friends to do the same, but upsets his sister, Tilly. After a tragic family incident, Tilly is left to run the cattle station and take care of the older folk. A chance meeting with a sophisticated Lieutenant opens up a friendship through letters, but it’s a rogue stockman who attracts her attention with dire consequences. With the men at war, and her heart pulled in two directions, Tilly must grow up quickly and face the consequences of her rash decisions. Will She find her own happiness?Surviving a baptism of battle fire in Gallipoli, Turkey, Oliver and the men are sent to France and feel the brutal force of the Western Front. The only glimmer of light for Oliver is his relationship with Jessica, an army nurse. But as the terrors of war impact him, he feels the heavy guilt of encouraging the others to follow him into combat. Will he, and they, ever make it home to Blue Water.

Can the grandchildren of Kitty McKenzie survive the horrors of war?

 
Out in ebook and paperback.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Friday, September 29, 2017

Southern Sons - WWI historical fiction

So, for those of you who have read and enjoyed Kitty McKenzie, and the sequel Kitty McKenzie's Land, you'll be pleased to know that I've written a third book to do with the family. Southern Sons is about Kitty's grandchildren. (If you've not read the first two Kitty books, don't worry, Southern Sons is a stand alone book as well.)
I absolutely loved writing this book. it was one of those books that just flew out onto the page without much hardship. The research I did was enjoyable because the era of WWI is fascinating to me. I have many books about the Great War, and spent hours watching documentaries. Also online are some wonderful forums and websites about WWI, the battles, the conditions and the soldiers' stories.

I felt the need to write about the young Australian men who went to war so naïve and fresh-faced, and who, by the end of 4 years of fighting, were renowned as a magnificent army of brave and gutsy men full of the new-born Australian spirit that still lives on today.
I used Kitty's grandsons for that honour, and her tenacious spirit flows in their veins.
To add to the drama of  the grandsons going to war, I needed a granddaughter to be at home on Blue Water Station to 'keep the home fires burning' so to speak. Matilda (Tilly) is definitely Kitty McKenzie's granddaughter, with the same braveness and can-do attitude.

I love this family like my own, I hope you do too.




Blurb: 1914, Australia. As war is declared, the idyllic world of Blue Water Station is torn apart when Oliver, the eldest grandson and heir, shares his desire to enlist in the army. His enthusiasm ignites his brother, cousins and friends to do the same, but upsets his sister, Tilly.
After a tragic family incident, Tilly is left to run the cattle station and take care of the older folk. A chance meeting with a sophisticated Lieutenant opens up a friendship through letters, but it’s a rogue stockman who attracts her attention with dire consequences. With the men at war, and her heart pulled in two directions, Tilly must grow up quickly and face the consequences of her rash decisions. Will She find her own happiness?Surviving a baptism of battle fire in Gallipoli, Turkey, Oliver and the men are sent to France and feel the brutal force of the Western Front. The only glimmer of light for Oliver is his relationship with Jessica, an army nurse. But as the terrors of war impact him, he feels the heavy guilt of encouraging the others to follow him into combat. Will he, and they, ever make it home to Blue Water.

Can the grandchildren of Kitty McKenzie survive the horrors of war?



Out in ebook and paperback.
Amazon myBook.to/SouthernSons


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Edwardian Fashion

I really enjoy looking at historical fashion, especially from the Victorian and Edwardian eras which are the periods I set a lot of my novels.
Below are some pictures of Edwardian gowns that I can easily imagine my characters wearing. I like the simple, clean lines of the Edwardian fashion and the soft subtle colours and textiles. They capture the essence of style and femininity.









Monday, September 04, 2017

Catrina's Return - Victorian saga

 
I'm highlighting another one of my books, which I really enjoyed writing.
Catrina's Return is a story of a young woman who is brave and strong and a survivor.
In this story I deal with issues resulting from selfishness.
Phillip, Catrina's half brother is the cause of a lot of Catrina's problems, like many of the men of those times, he had wealthy and power and ultimately abused both. 
Travis, the man Catrina loves, was wonderful to write. Although a flawed hero, (and we all love those, don't we?) Travis is torn between the love of Catrina and the loyalty to his family.
 
Set in the beautiful countryside of Yorkshire, Catrina's Return is a story I hope you enjoy reading.
 
 

Catrina's Return

 Blurb:
1899. A life altering event led Catrina Davies to hide from her family and society. Alone in The Highlands she exists in a lonely world cared for only by her saviour, a kind old gentleman. When she receives a surprise visitor, Travis Millard, the man she used to love, her head and heart are thrown into turmoil. 
Travis is determined to save her from this poor life and return her to her family where she belongs. No one is more surprised than he when she agrees to marry him. 
When Catrina arrives back at her family estate, Davmoor Court in Yorkshire, she is stunned to see the changes. While her father clings to life, Davmoor is nearly ruined by her brother's gambling obsession, and there is something strange about his new wife. 
As Catrina adjusts to her regained position in society and being with Travis, her marriage comes under attack from Travis's grandmother, who has her own secrets and reason for loathing the Davies family. 
When one of her brother's adversaries comes to stake his claim on the estate, the resulting chaos threatens not only Catrina's home, but the very lives of those she loves the most. 
Can she find the strength to fight once more for the right to be happy?

Catrina's Return is available now.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow

My guest today is author, Judith Barrow. Her latest novel A Hundred Tiny Threads, is out this month. It's a wonderful story set in a fascinating period that includes The Great War and Suffragettes. it's a story about love and making sacrifices.






A Hundred Tiny Threads

It takes more than just love to make a marriage...

It's 1911 and Winifred Duffy is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer's shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother.

The scars of Bill Howarth's troubled childhood linger. The only light in his life comes from a chance encounter with Winifred, the girl he determines to make his wife.

Meeting her friend Honora's silver-tongued brother turns Winifred's heart upside down. But Honora and Conal disappear, after a suffrage rally turns into a riot, and abandoned Winifred has nowhere to turn but home.

The Great War intervenes, sending Bill abroad to be hardened in a furnace of carnage and loss. When he returns his dream is still of Winifred and the life they might have had... Back in Lancashire, worn down by work and the barbed comments of narrow-minded townsfolk, Winifred faces difficult choices in love and life.

Praise for previous novels in the Howarth family series:
"Not... an ordinary romance but a book that deals with important issues which are still relevant today" Historical Novels Review

"An absorbing saga which charges along, tempting the reader from chapter to chapter" www.gwales.com

"Barrow's thoughtful and atmospheric novel shines a light on the shadowy corners of family life" Lancashire Evening Post
ISBN: 9781909983687
Language: English
 
 
 
 
 
About the author: Judith Barrow has lived in Pembrokeshire for thirty years. She has published poetry and short fiction in various anthologies, winning several poetry competitions, as well as writing three children's novels. Her play: My Little Philly was performed at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea. Judith grew up in the Pennines and has degrees in literature and creative writing. Pattern of Shadows is her first published novel. For more on Judith see her website. www.judithbarrow.co.uk.
 
 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Next to my author hero!

That happy feeling when two of your books are in the top 10 of the Australian category on Amazon UK, and right next to your author hero such as Colleen McCullough!
So pleased people are buying Australian historical novels and enjoying Nicola's Virtue and also Kitty McKenzie's Land (sequel to Kitty McKenzie). Thank you.


Friday, August 11, 2017


Primary sources, I feel, are a writer's best friend, especially for a historical writer.

   I collected Victorian diaries and journals, written mainly by women who have arrived in Australia after leaving England, but also by women born in colonial Australia. These diaries give me an insight to how they lived and what was happening in the world around them at that time. From their personal entries, we can learn what was important to them, their daily routine, their views and opinions. They can also lift some of those myths we in the modern world tend to think as true.

   Diaries aren't the only primary source available to us. We have so many museums and art galleries. I love studying paintings of the different eras and visiting museums that have wonderful displays of every era.

  We should be visiting our local or state libraries for books, letters, newspapers and articles written in the eras we write. Naturally this is difficult for those writing in the ancient periods, but those of us who write about the last few hundred years have sources available and we need to use them.

   If you are writing about the area where you live, join your local historical society, where as a member, you can study maps, paintings and photos are that district. Also the local councils will have documents and maps going back years.

   It is not always possible to visit your chosen setting, but if you can visit, make sure you don't simply go to the main attractions, like a castle, etc, but find the time to visit the graveyard of the local church, sit in a pew and study the stain glass windows, lay by the river and absorb the surroundings, listen to the birds sing, the insect buzz and imagine what it would be like in your era. Glance up at buildings, many have the dates of construction engraved at the top to give you an idea of how the street would looked. Walk the back streets of the village or town, find the oldest parts and touch the walls of the buildings and think of nothing but how your characters would have lived. Would their footsteps have walked where yours have?

 



The photo is taken from a sketch done of Lower George St, Sydney, Australia 1828. I used this as a guide for where my character, Nicola, goes in my book, Nicola’s Virtue, which is set in Sydney, Australia in the 1860s.

Sketches and paintings like these give us the artist's view of those times and from studying it we can see a little of what life was like then.

I found this photo in a book, but the internet has many websites with great antique photos and paintings, some even for sale.
 


 
 
 

Friday, August 04, 2017

Edwardian Picnic 1910




I came across this photo in a group on Facebook and found it interesting. These kind of photos help authors with our research.
Personally, I can never have enough photos of any scene and situation as each one, in its own way, help me visualise the era I am trying to portray in my novels.

1910 was a delightful era full of peace and good fortune. It was pre-war. The people in that photos had no idea that in four short years there would be a world war that would change everything they knew.

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

Photos like this one, gives us much information, especially about the fashion they wore.
It was a bygone age, never to be repeated, but one to be admired.



Sunday, July 30, 2017

Cover Wars

Where Rainbows End is currently in the Cover Wars this week.
Would love it if any of you could vote for it please?
You don't have to sign in or anything, it's just a click.
Thank you.
http://authorshout.com/cover-wars/


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Farm in West Yorkshire

Isabelle's Choice is set in West Yorkshire, in the area around Halifax, Hebden bridge and Heptonstall. This story was a favourite of mine to write, and after visiting the area I could really imagine Isabelle living there. The quaint village of Heptonstall, situated on top of a moor and over looking Hebden Bridge and the river below is the perfect setting for the run-down farm where Isabelle goes to live when she marries Farrell, a drunken waster. She thought him a better man than he was, and out of desperation for her and her brother's safety, she hopes marriage will give her a decent life after the trauma of being in the workhouse. Little does she know...


Blurb
Halifax, 1876. On the death of her mother and sister, Isabelle Gibson is left to fend for herself and her brother in a privately-run workhouse. After the matron's son attempts to attack her, Isabelle decides to escape him and a life of drudgery by agreeing to marry a moorland farmer she has never met. But this man, Farrell, is a drunkard and a bully in constant feud with his landlord, Ethan Harrington. When Farrell bungles a robbery and deserts her, Isabelle and Ethan are thrown together as she struggles to save the farm. Both are married and must hide their growing love. But despite the secrecy, Isabelle draws strength from Ethan as faces from the past return to haunt her and a tragedy is set to strike that will change all of their lives forever.


Isabelle’s Choice is available now
Purchase:
Amazon: myBook.to/IsabellesChoice

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Places in Yorkshire

Apart from the historical novels I have set in Australia, the rest of my historical stories are set in various areas around Yorkshire, England. I think I chose Yorkshire because my family and ancestors are from this region.
Yorkshire has some beautiful countryside, and it's worth visiting, but it also has quaint little villages and historic cities full of wonderful architecture. It has a rugged coastline and bleak moors, sweeping valleys and mountains.

The map below shows you its size and location within the UK.



Novels I have set in Yorkshire and where.
 

 
Kitty McKenzie - York
To Gain What's Lost - Leeds
Aurora's Pride - York
Broken Hero - near Bridlington
Isabelle's Choice - Heptonstall & Hebden Bridge
Eden's Conflict - Gargrave
Catrina's Return - York
Grace's Courage - Leeds
Where Dragonflies Hover - Wakefield

I have visited all of the above places, but because my stories are set in Victoria & Edwardian time, I've relied heavily on maps from those eras and non-fiction research books, paintings and so on. Luckily for me, the eras I write in are not that long ago, unlike say, Roman or medieval, therefor I can still see evidence of Victorian streets and buildings. Some villages have not been modernised for centuries and that helps me as an author to visualise my characters in those places.



Gargrave, and the river Nathan gets swept away in - Eden's Conflict.
 
 





The photos of York, featured in Kitty McKenzie and Aurora's Pride.
 
 
 
 
The farm is something similar I pictured for Isabelle at Heptonstall in Isabelle's Choice.

These are just a few examples of places and images to show where my books are set, or where my characters might have visited. I could go on for hours and fill the page with photos, and perhaps I'll do some more another day.







Short story- Art of Desire

Art of Desire - short story
After visiting New York on my honeymoon, I wrote a short story featuring Manhattan, a city I loved being in. This short story is about Antonia and Ronan and how they find love.


Arriving in New York, Antonia is using her inheritance to start a career as an artist. In Manhattan she needs to be focused and committed to her art, wanting to make her late father proud, and to make a point to her cold mother that she can make a success of her life. 
Only, her plans don’t include meeting Ronan Kelly, the sexy teacher living in the same building as her apartment. 
They can’t deny their attraction, and despite her good intentions to only concentrate on building her career, Antonia is soon swept up in a whirlwind romance. 
Just when she thinks she has found the happiness she’s been searching for, Ronan’s ex-girlfriend appears with devastating news and re-instates her claim to him. 
Antonia does what she does best, she flees - again - this time to Paris, to forget Ronan and the love that could have been hers. 
Will Ronan allow the one woman who has filled his heart leave him for good? 
Can Antonia stop running and face what could be hers? 
Art of Desire
 
 
 

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Aurora's Pride -Victorian saga.

Aurora's Pride


My
Victorian historical novel, Aurora's Pride, is set in 1898 Yorkshire.
 This is Aurora and Reid's story and will be available in paperback and March 14th 2017.

Back blurb:
Aurora Pettigrew has it all, a loving family, a nice home, a comfortable life. She’s waiting for the right man to offer her marriage, and the man for her is Reid Sinclair, heir to the Sinclair fortune and the love of her life.
But, Reid’s mother, Julia, is against the match and her ruthlessness unearths a family secret that will tear Aurora’s world apart.
Unwilling to bring shame on her family and needing answers to the allegations brought to light by Reid’s mother, Aurora begins a long journey away from home. She leaves behind all that is familiar and safe to enter a world of mean streets and poor working class.
Living in the tenements of York, surrounded by people of a class she’d never mixed with before, Aurora struggles to come to terms with the way her life has changed. By chance, she reconnects with a man from her past and before he leaves with the army to war in South Africa, he offers her security through marriage.
Aurora knows she should be happy, but the memory of her love for Reid threatens her future.
When tragedy strikes, can Aurora find the strength to accept her life and forget the past?



Excerpt:

Aurora walked along the streets of York, head down against the wind. The end of summer was proving difficult this year and warm days would be followed by squalls of rain and blustery winds such as today. Since Ethel Minton’s visit six days ago, Aurora had gone out looking for work and new accommodation. Each day she had come home despondent on both issues. Without a wage they couldn’t look at the better houses, and the poorer areas were the likes of Edinburgh Yard, which she and Sophia were adamant not to go back to. Noah and Lily had spoken as one offering their home to them, but Aurora was reluctant to agree as they’d be on top of each other, especially when the two babies came.
  Aside from the anxiety of finding money and lodgings, she had become aware over the last few days of someone watching her. She couldn’t define what made her so sure someone was, but instinct told her she didn’t walk the streets alone. Then, last night, while closing the curtains a stranger lingered in the lane looking at her windows. As yet she hadn’t mentioned it to Sophia, who after the attack was nervous enough and jumped at any loud bangs or sudden shouts. Perhaps she should mention it to Noah, ask him to keep an eye out, and just hope that she was imagining it all.
  Her feet throbbed as she turned into Coney Street. The baby kicked, a new sensation that Aurora marveled at in secret joy. She rubbed her stomach and hurried on. She needed to buy some buttons and thread, as Sophia was letting out all her skirts. She’d have liked to buy some linen material too, for a blouse, but every penny had suddenly become precious now neither of them was working.
  She passed a tailor’s shop and was bumped into by two men coming out of the doorway. She apologized, even though it wasn’t her fault, at the same time the gentleman did too. Then she stopped and stared. Tom Sinclair stood gaping back at her, open-mouthed.
  “Aurrie?” He frowned, puzzled.
  She was the first to recover. “How are you, Tom?”
  “My God!” Tom enveloped her in a tight embrace and for a moment she relished being held by him. It’d been a long time since a man had held her, and Tom was as close as she would get to Reid. He stared at her in amazement. “What are you doing in York?”
  “Shopping.” She smiled brightly, acting as though them bumping into each other was an everyday occurrence. “And you?”
  “Oh this and that.” His gaze roamed over her and his grin faltered as he took in her appearance. He’d never seen her in anything but beautiful clothes and neatly groomed. She put a hand to her hair escaping from her felt hat and blushed. He’d noticed her faded clothes beneath her coat, which also needed a sponge and brush. Her shoes hadn’t seen polish for weeks.
  Tom turned to his companion. “Hal, my friend, I’ll meet you back at the hotel.”
  Hal, a tall, healthy-looking young man winked, a devilish smile in his eyes. “As you wish, my good fellow, but remember we leave on the evening train tomorrow.”
  Aurora’s blush deepened, imagining what Hal would think of her. “You should have introduced me, Tom. He thinks the worst judging by that remark.”
  “That’s more exciting than the truth though, isn’t it?” Tom’s smile flashed, but the amusement in his eyes had vanished completely. “There’s a tearoom on the corner. Let’s go.” He took her elbow and so shocked was she to see this serious side of him that she let him escort her into a small tearoom and assist her onto a wooden chair in the corner. He sat on the other side of the square table and lifted his hand to the passing waitress. “Tea and a plate of-of cakes…er…food, sandwiches and the like.”
  “Tom, I—” The words dried in her mouth as she saw the agony in his eyes. “What is it?”
  “I cannot believe it.” He shook his head and looked as if he was going to cry.
  Her heart leapt to her throat and she leaned forward. “Good God, Tom, what?”
  “What happened to you?” His voice came out on a whisper.
  She sat back in her chair, again conscious of her appearance. “You must be shocked.”
  “Shocked?” he squeaked and then clearing his throat, he held his hands out as if in question. “I thought you were travelling with your father’s aunt? That’s what your mother is telling everyone. Is this aunt without funds? Doesn’t your father know—’
  “Please, Tom, stop.” She rubbed her forehead, wondering how to tell him, whether she should tell him. “I’m not with my father’s aunt.”
  “I don’t understand.” He scratched his chin. “Aurrie, dearest, you look like hell. You’re so thin and…and shabby.”
  She wanted to laugh at being called thin, especially when the front fastening corset she’d bought only two weeks ago no longer fitter her. The top button of her blue skirt was left undone and her white blouse strained across her breast, which she hid with her coat, but his expression of horror wiped the laughter from her instantly. Apart from the parts of her body concern with the child, the rest of her was thin, her hands and arms especially. “It’s a long story.”
  “And I’ve got all day.”
  “But I haven’t.” She stood. “I must go. It was nice seeing you again.”
  “No.” He grabbed her wrist and forced her to sit down, causing the other customers to glance in their direction.      “Don’t go, not yet.” He let go of her as she sat and the waitress brought over a tea tray, which she set out on the table. Tom watched Aurora the entire time and she knew he was full of questions. “I want to hear it all, Aurrie.”
  “Do you?” She pulled off her gloves, revealing her red and work-chapped hands and ignored his gasp of surprise at the sight of them. Dropping a cube of sugar into her cup, she then stirred it slowly with a teaspoon. “I don’t think you want to know, Tom, not really.” She gave him a sad smile, knowing his personality as one of fun and laughter, never taking anything seriously.
  “I thought we were friends?”
  “We were. When life was simple.”
  “Aurrie, please. I can’t bear to see you like this.”
  “This?” She waved at her worn clothes. “Good lord, Tom, this is a good day.” Her chuckle was brittle. “We had enough water last night for a bath so I washed my hair…’
  “We?” He leaned forward over the table, cradling his teacup in one hand and took her hand in his other.
  “My mother, Sophia. We live together.”
  “Your mother Sophia?” His eyes widened. “Dearest, are you ill?”
  “Mad you mean?” This time she did laugh. “I wish I was, but alas I’m quite sane.” She bent over the table until their faces were nearly touching. “Can you cope with knowing the truth, Tom Sinclair? The man who has never had a moment of responsibly in his life?”
  Review:
If you're looking for a fairy tale with a twist, then look no further than Aurora's Pride. The characters may not fill out all the classic roles precisely, and you'll get to meet the entire townspeople around the "castle", but they are beyond a doubt entertaining and very adeptly written. It's a great read that reminds the little girls in us that sometimes the princess has to become Cinderella in order to be a good queen one day.
Books N Beans

 Aurora's Pride is available now.
Apple iBook https://goo.gl/1oY8BH

Friday, July 07, 2017

Victorian saga - Grace's Courage - on sale 99c or 99p




Grace's Courage



       My Victorian historical novel, Grace's Courage is set in Leeds, West Yorkshire,  England 1870.

 I truly enjoyed writing Grace's Courage. It's many engaging characters and the twists and turns this novel took as it evolved, had me gripped from page one.
 I wrote the first draft in five months because most chapters just flowed really well, which is very rewarding for the writer when that happens! But then, who couldn't have fun with seven daughters, a tyrannical father, a
selfish mother, a lost love, a handsome butler and a quiet, enigmatic coal miner?
 I hope readers enjoy it too.

Blurb
As the Victorian Age draws to a close, lonely and broken-hearted, Grace Woodruff fights for her sisters’ rights to happiness while sacrificing any chance for her own.
The eldest of seven daughters, Grace is the core of strength around which the unhappy members of the Woodruff family revolve. As her disenchanted mother withdraws to her rooms, Grace must act as a buffer between her violent, ambitious father and the sisters who depend upon her.
Rejected by her first love and facing a spinster’s future, she struggles to hold the broken family together through her father’s infidelity, one sister’s alcoholism, and another’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy by an unsuitable match.
Caring for an illegitimate half-brother affords Grace an escape, though short-lived. Forced home by illness and burdened with dwindling finances, Grace faces fresh anguish –and murder– when her first love returns to wreck havoc in her life.
All is not lost, however. In the midst of tragedy, the fires of her heart are rekindled by another. Will the possibility of true love lead Grace to relinquish her responsibilities in the house of women and embrace her own right to happiness?

 Grace's Courage is now.
Online
Kobo UK
Apple iBook

*Please note that Grace's Courage was originally published with the title, The House of Women.

Review Rating: 5 Cups
Grace Elizabeth Woodruff is one of seven daughters who witness her family crumble before her.
Montgomery Woodruff, the father of the household, does not love his wife and hates being saddled with seven daughters.
Diana, the mother, neglects the household duties leaving everything to Grace.
William Ross holds a part of Grace's heart. It has been six years since she has seen him.
William Doyle, the new butler admires Grace.
George Henry Walters is shift foreman and a union man who fights for the rights in the mines. He is smitten with Grace.
Grace wishes for joy and pleasure just once in her life. She has always been the strength of the family and now the pressures are rising into one giant boiling pot about to explode. Her father pawns his daughters into marriages that tighten his money belt. The daughters see it as escape from an abusive, selfish father. Grace tries to keep peace while taking care of ailing sisters and wishing for her own flight. When an old love returns, a new butler is hired and a shift foreman enters her life, Grace wonders is this her chance to leave a family that has needed her many years.
Grace's Courage is a saga about a family full of betrayal, hate, lies, infidelity, disappointments and often love. Grace is a strong character that strives to keep things intact while facing many frustrations. Her deep felt emotions interweave within the pages. Ms. Brear paints a remarkable novel with well-developed secondary characters that bring out the good and the bad in the worse of families. She instills believability with all her characters. She pens a story that will touch the heart, often irritate and sometimes make the reader cheer. This is a most rare gripping read.
Cherokee
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

After finishing Grace's Courage by newer author Anne Brear I applaud this author for this immensely satisfying and fine example of a riveting Victorian historical. I can promise that once started you will not put it down until the final page is turned.
In Leeds, England 1870, Grace Woodruff, eldest of seven daughters is mired in responsibility. Grace runs the household and serves as a buttress between her sisters and the father who sees all his daughters as nothing but worthless commodities to be wed in order to forge business ties, gain wealth and ingratiate himself with the nobility. But fate is about to deal the entire Woodruff family some devastating blows and losses that will send this dysfunctional family spiraling out of control leaving Grace to stand alone in forging a new way of life in trying to manage both household and her heart.
What an amazing story from this newer author that chronicles a strong and resilient young woman's journey as she put aside her own broken heart in order to battle and stem the tide of the downward disintegration of her family from the result of their father's perfidious ways. Grace was a terrifically strong and resilient  heroine whose loving heart and loyalty to her siblings was unwavering and constant in a life turned upside down. Coming on the heels of the authors fabulous debut of KITTY MCKENZIE this sticks to a common theme of featuring a well to do family that must learn how to live in reduced circumstances while surmounting real
problems that people face even today. Brear excels with a deft hand in creating superb depictions of her characters with amazing depth. Frankly, if you've ever been a fan of Catherine Cookson, you are going to love AnneMarie Brear. This was a remarkable, deeply moving and powerful read I hated to see end and one in which I highly recommend.
Marilyn Rondeau, RIO - Reviewers International Organization

Nobody wants to help Grace Woodruff deal with the running of the household or managing the problems of her mother and many sisters. It would, by all rights, be enough to drive anyone crazy, but Grace rises to each and every challenge that comes her way. Placed in a time period where women had very little power, Grace proves again and again what strong women are capable of achieving.
AnneMarie Brear has created a truly remarkable heroine, along with a cast of characters that will keep you guessing until the end.
"Grace's Courage" is full of twists and turns that are sure to entertain. Ms. Brear's character development has certainly impressed me. Kudos to the author. -
Diane Wylie - author

AnneMarie Brear has penned a wonderful historical novel addressing hurtful family issues as well as triumphs. Grace's Courage is set in 1870 Leeds, England, in a time when women had few choices.
Despite the abuse of her father, the emotional abandonment of her mother, and the unpredictability of her six sisters, stalwart Grace Woodruff keeps the family together through thick and thin. But all she really wants is her own family.
Grace's Courage is a story of serious family issues, of love lost and love gained, of financial strife and crossing class lines.
Ms. Brear brings amazing strength of character to Grace as well as depth of emotion to all characters--characters you're sad to leave at the end. I would recommend The House of Women to anyone.
- Jacquie Rogers author.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

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