- Author: Judith Barrow
- Kindle Edition published June 2017
- Category: Short Stories, Historical, Fiction, Book Review, Books, Reading
Ashford, home of the Howarth family, is a gritty northern mill town, a community of no-nonsense Lancashire folk, who speak their minds and are quick to judge. But how many of them are hiding secrets that wouldn’t stand up to the scrutiny of others?
This is a wonderful collection of short stories, focussing on characters from Judith Barrow’s Howarth family trilogy and giving a brief but heartfelt glimpse into some of their lives, pre saga. Including situations and misfortunes, some of which were brought about by the restrictions and expectations of the time, unmarried women who have no choice but to give up their baby and the cruelty meted out to a conscientious objector to name just a couple. Others which are sadly still relevant today, namely the victims of incest and rape.
All are well written and filled with emotional reality, but these are the stand outs for me.
Edith Jagger’s Secret tells of an abused wife and the desperate measures she took to escape.
Struggling to her feet and holding her hand over the swelling on her cheek she waits, listening for a moment to the muted sounds of birds settling in skeletal branches, the bleat of scattered sheep, the rustle of the rising breeze through the dead heather. Sounds she has learned to hate.
She shivers. However reluctant to return to her home there is one more thing she has to do.
In Stan Green’s Secret, Stan, desperate to leave home, signed up for the army with his friend, Ernie. Both boys were underage and despite slight misgivings, they were unaware of what horrors awaited them or the enormity and terrible consequences of their decision.
‘Come on, Ernie, me old pal,’ he said, flinging his arm over his friend’s shoulder and hitching his bag under his arm. ‘Let’s go and see the world.’
Gwyneth Griffiths’ Secret means a life on the run from an abusive husband.
Raising his hand as he had so many times in the past. raising his fist to hit her.
Her past has caught up with her.
Judith Barrow has done a great job, giving a good sense of each character and their situation in just a few pages. The grim reality for working class people of the era is shown to great effect. I’m looking forward to the saga prequel which is due to be published next month.
About Judith Barrow
Judith Barrow,originally from Saddleworth, near Oldham,has lived in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for thirty eight years.
She has BA (Hons) in Literature with the Open University, a Diploma in Drama from Swansea University and a MA in Creative Writing with the University of Wales Trinity St David’s College, Carmarthen. She has had short stories, plays, reviews and articles, published throughout the British Isles and has won several poetry competitions. She has completed three children’s books.
She is also a Creative Writing tutor.