#ThrowbackThursday ~ A Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow #HistoricalFiction

The prequel to the Pattern of Shadows series, A Hundred Tiny Threads explores the lives of Winifred Duffy and Bill Howarth up to the beginning of their lives together. 

Winifred lives with her mother, the very unpleasant Ethel, and her much nicer and long suffering father, and works in the family’s grocery shop. Winifred is an innocent, leading a very sheltered life ruled by her mother. Until the day Honora O’Reilly enters her life with her independence and talk of a better life for women, persuading Winifred to join the Suffragette movement. That, and meeting Conal, Honora’s brother, changed Winifred’s life in ways she could never have envisioned.

The story alternates between the lives of Winifred and Bill Howarth, a young man who didn’t have the best of starts. Things were set to become so much worse for Bill with the terrible traumas and aftermath of life in the trenches during WW1 and his violent and cruel experiences with the Black and Tans. And although his nature was completely unappealing, the things he went through during the war went some way to explaining his character.

I can’t even imagine what that experience would do to someone but I think Bill already had the beginnings of those tendencies that eventually came to the fore. Winifred, on the other hand, was an engaging character, easy to empathise with. There were no options for women in those days,  and Winifred’s life was restrictive and quite sad for the most part. No wonder it wore her down. Having the story from both Winifred and Bill’s perspectives was very effective in building their characters, and gave the narrative impact.

Judith Barrow brings the characters and era to life, with authentic, vividly descriptive and atmospheric prose and dialogue. It’s an incredibly well crafted story and gives a compelling insight into life in the early part of the last century, the obviously well researched historical aspects are fascinating.

No era is without its problems but life was certainly very challenging in the early 20th century. The reality is shown in a gritty true to life form. Nothing is glossed over; the harshness and hardships of everyday life, the horrors of the trenches and the aggressive treatment of the Suffragettes. I enjoyed the Pattern of Shadows trilogy very much and it was very satisfying to learn about Winifred and Bill’s early lives, the way their experiences shaped the people they became.  
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.

John Eyre: A Tale of Darkness and Shadow by @MimiMatthewsEsq #HistFic #Gothic #RBRT

56036070._SY475_Author: Mimi Matthews

Due for publication on 20th July by Perfectley Proper Press

Category: Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Gothic, Romance, Book Review

four-half-stars

Yorkshire, 1843. When disgraced former schoolmaster John Eyre arrives at Thornfield Hall to take up a position as tutor to two peculiar young boys, he enters a world unlike any he’s ever known. Darkness abounds, punctuated by odd bumps in the night, strange creatures on the moor, and a sinister silver mist that never seems to dissipate. And at the center of it all, John’s new employer—a widow as alluring as she is mysterious.

John Eyre is quite a different offering from from Mimi Matthews. In a very good way. It’s a gothic and paranormal retelling of Jane Eyre, with genders reversed and another classic tale thrown into the mix. The broodingly dark atmosphere of evil and menace is palpable.

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#QandA + #Extract from The Lady in the Veil: The Talbot Saga by Allie Cresswell @alliescribbler #HistoricalFiction

I’m delighted to feature an extract from Allie Cresswell’s latest novel, The Lady in the Veil, plus a Q&A. Firstly, here’s what the book is about…

high res front cover only copyWhat secrets hide beneath the veil? When her mother departs for a tour of the continent, Georgina is sent from the rural backwaters to stay with her cousin, George Talbot, in London. The 1835 season is at its height, but Georgina is determined to attend neither balls nor plays, and to eschew Society. She hides her face beneath an impenetrable veil. Her extraordinary appearance only sets off gossip and speculation as to her identity. Who is the mysterious lady beneath the veil?

The Lady in the Veil follows on from The House in the Hollow, but stands just as well alone.

Book links ~ AmazonUK | Amazon US

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And now for the extract…

The ability of the newcomers to ignore her thick drapings made Georgina shrivel with shame. They must have been warned, she thought, they must have been prepared. But how ridiculous, how odd they must think her. What kind of creature was she—an aberration, a crank—that she must be excused, explained!

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Riviera Affair (The Yellow Cottage Vintage Mysteries #4) by J. New ~ #CosyMystery #BookReview

This week I’m looking back on the fourth book in a vintage 1930s cosy mystery series I really enjoyed. And discovering there’s a fifth book is a bonus.

throwbackthursday

My Thoughts

When Ella Bridges takes a frantic phone call for help from her mother Elspeth, who lives in Cap Ferrat in France, she and her aunt Margaret waste no time in travelling to the French Riviera accompanied by Margaret’s dear but eccentric friend, Pierre DuPont. 

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Cold Case in Nuala (The Inspector de Silva Mysteries Book 10) by Harriet Steel #HistoricalFiction #Mystery @harrietsteel1

51j1kZZScBSAuthor: Harriet Steel

Kindle Edition

Category: Cosy Mystery, Historical Fiction, Book Review

four-half-stars

It’s January 1940 and the day of Nuala’s famous motor rally. Excitement is at full throttle, but matters take a dark turn when that same evening, human remains are found buried in a lonely corner of a local tea plantation.
Inspector de Silva has a cold case to solve. Add a playboy racing driver, a missing Bugatti and a family scandal hushed up years ago into the mix and he has plenty to think about. You can be sure that whatever happened in the past, now de Silva’s in the driving seat, you’re in for a gripping ride.

The story opens as Inspector Shanti de Silva and his wife, Jane are attending Nuala’s famous car rally, the Hill Country Challenge held every four years, along with Archie and Florence Clutterbuck and Charlie Frobisher and his lady friend. This was de Silva’s third time at the rally but his appreciation of the array of wonderful cars, including a Bentley, Maserati and Bugatti, has not diminished. After the excitement of the race Charlie treated them all to a round of cocktails. 

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#ThowbackThursday ~ Flood (Fenland #1) by Ann Swinfen #Historical Fiction set in 17th Century East Anglian Fens

I loved this book and choosing it for my Throwback Thursday post reminds me I have book two on my kindle.  

My Thoughts

I love fictional stories set against true historical facts. Flood tells the story of Fenlanders in 17th century East Anglia whose hard working but peaceful way of life is compromised by those who believe they are entitled to profit by whatever means necessary.

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Tears of Amber by Sofía Segovia, translated by @SimonBruni @msofiasegovia #HistoricalFiction based on fact #NetGalley

55983905._SY475_Author: Sofía Segovia, translation by Simon Bruni

Published: May 2021 by Amazon Crossing

Genre: Historical Fiction based on fact, WWII, Book Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

With war looming dangerously close, Ilse’s school days soon turn to lessons of survival. In the harshness of winter, her family must join the largest exodus in human history to survive. 

Not far away, trying and failing to flee from a vengeful army, Arno and his mother hide in the ruins of a Königsberg mansion, hoping that once the war ends they can reunite their dispersed family.

Tears of Amber follows two Prussian families, the Hahlbrocks and the Schippers, leading up to and during the Second World War, mainly from the perspectives of Ilse Hahlbrock and Arno Schipper. Ilse and Arno are small children at the beginning of the story, with no idea of what was to come as war looms ever closer. We learn of their everyday lives, the changes, decent into poverty and conflicting feelings that begin to occur with the rise of the German army and the Nazis.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ Sitting Murder: A Lancashire Detective Mystery by A.J. Wright #Historical #CrimeFiction

Sitting Murder was originally published in 2017 and choosing this book for my Throwback Thursday choice has reminded me I have the next book on my kindle.

Set in a North-Western English town during the late 19th century, this murder/mystery whodunnit brings the history of the era to life with the terraces of houses, local dialect and a community living in close proximity to one another. The main source of work were the cotton mills and the mines. Alice Goodway, only married a year, has lost her husband, Jack, in a mining accident, which also took the life of her friend’s husband. Since her husband’s death, Alice has become a medium, offering comfort to those who have lost loved ones, through her spiritual contact with Jack.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Curse of Arundel Hall by J. New, 1930’s #HistoricalFiction

This is the second installment of The Yellow Cottage Vintage Mysteries, featuring Ella Bridges in a cosy mystery series with paranormal undertones.

The ghost residing in the secret dining room beyond the pantry was causing Ella some problems in that Mrs Shaw, the housekeeper-cum-cook, refused to enter the pantry. Ella’s temporary solution was to move the food stuff into the kitchen proper, but she was determined to try and solve the mystery of who the woman had been and how she died. Ella decided she needed to visit her friend, Harriet, a local historian, to see if she could research The Yellow Cottage and shed any light on who the mysterious spirit was. Harriet is the founder of the local library and that’s where Ella finds her. It seems Harriet had found a connection between the cottage and Arundel Hall, now owned by Harriet’s old friend, Sir Robert Harlow. Harriet discovered that Ella’s cottage was once The Dower House belonging to the Hall.

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#Extract ~ Old Cases New Colours (A Dudley Green Investigation) by @ActScribblerDJ #HistoricalFiction @rararesources

Today I’m pleased to help launch the blog tour for Old Cases New Colours by Madalyn Morgan, with an extract from Chapter One, courtesy of the author and Rachel’s Random Resources.

Intro: After the war in 1945, Ena worked for The Home Office as head of the cold case department. After exposing the mole at MI5 and learning that the man she had worked with for thirteen years – and had respected for as long – was the head of the spy cell, Ena left her job. She was a good investigator but didn’t want to work for the government or the intelligence services, so she started a private investigation agency.

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