Author: W.C. Ryan
Published: October 2018 by Zaffre
Category: Historical Fiction, Murder, Crime, Mystery, Espionage, Supernatural, Book Review
Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.
At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.
A House of Ghosts is primarily a tale of espionage during the height of WW1, with a dark and atmospheric supernatural thread.
Don’t ask a woman her age … and expect the truth
That boys lied about their ages to enlist in 1914 is common knowledge. Less well known is that women did too. This blog features two unusual women who felt age was no bar to ‘doing their bit’.
In 1917, Mabel Lethbridge was desperate to become a ‘mutionette’ and work in the Danger Sheds where highly explosive materials were handled; the minimum age was 18. A rebellious teenager, she was accepted at 7 National Filling Factory at Hayes Common. On her way to work on her first morning, she rather dismissed the comments of a woman in the bus queue who, hearing Mabel’s destination, comfortingly confided, this was “one of them terrible places … twelve months come Christmas I lost my eldest … all blowed to bits she was … we never got her body home.”
In Mabel’s Shed, dangers extended beyond high explosives. The machinery they were using to fill shells with amatol had been condemned over a year ago; replacements had arrived but were not yet operational. Soon disaster struck,
A dull flash, a deafening roar and I felt myself being hurled through the air, falling down, down into the darkness. A blinding flash and I felt my body being torn asunder. Darkness, that terrifying darkness, and the agonised cries of the workers pierced my consciousness. (Mabel Lethbridge Fortune’s Grass) Continue reading