Saturday, 13 October 2018

First scene from A Ration Book Christmas - Free on kindle for a limited time.

Putting her feet on the brake and clutch, Josephine Margaret Brogan, known to everyone as Jo, stuck her right hand out of the driver’s side window of the five-year-old Morris 8 delivery van then, seeing the road was clear, turned across Melton Winchet High Street into Garfield General Store’s back yard.

Bringing it to a halt alongside the side wall, she pulled on the handbrake and switched off the engine. Jutting out her lower lip, she blew upwards to dislodge a brunette curl resting over her left eyebrow but the lock refused to budge. She wasn’t surprised.
It was the 6th , the first Friday in September and with the hot early-autumn sun blasting fully through the van’s windows, the inside of the vehicle was like an oven and Jo was perspiring accordingly.
It might not have been so bad if she’d been able to deliver the shop’s weekend orders in the sleeveless frock and cotton underslip she’d put on that morning, but no. Mrs Garfield was having none of it. Despite the BBC forecasting that the afternoon temperatures would nudge at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the shopkeeper had insisted that Jo wear her regular dull green rayon overall so she looked ‘tidy’, which was a cheek as the blooming thing fitted her like a sack and had to be turned at the cuff so the sleeves didn’t cover her hands.
Jo got out of the green van and swinging the keys back and forth around her fingers she walked between the stacked crates into the storeroom that was connected to the side of the shop.
Mrs Garfield, who was flitting a duster over a card of girls’ pastel-coloured hairslides hung up on the wall behind the counter, looked around from her task as Jo walked in.
The owner of Melton Winchet’s general store was a woman on the wrong side of forty, with hips so extensive she had difficulty turning around in the space behind the counter. She stood a little over five foot and had frizzy grey hair and an expression that would lead you to believe she sucked lemons as a hobby. As her deep-set eyes alighted on Jo, her lips pulled into a tight bud.
‘Where have you been?’ she asked, scrutinising Jo through the lenses of her spectacles.
‘I was held up at Rider’s Bridge,’ Jo replied, strolling behind the counter to hook the keys on the nail in the wall. ‘And Mrs Veres asked me to tell you she’s got some cooking apples from her orchard; they’re two shillings a crate, if you’re interested.’
‘Two shilling!’ snapped the shopkeeper. ‘They were half that last season.’
Jo smiled sweetly. ‘Well, there is a war on, you know.’
Mrs Garfield gave her a sour look. ‘I don’t suppose you’ve seen that brother of yours on your travels, have you?’
‘Can’t say I have,’ Jo replied.
The shopkeeper tutted. ‘Probably in detention again.’
‘Or playing football in the meadow with the other lads,’ Jo countered.
‘Well, I’ve got a shop to run so if he’s not here soon he’ll have to go without lunch,’ said the shopkeeper. ‘And he’d better not come home with mud all over his trousers either, like he did last week. I wouldn’t have volunteered to take in evacuees if I’d realised I’d have to skivvy for them. And tidy your hair,’ she continued, waving a couple of fat bluebottles away from the loaves on the counter. ‘I know you’re not used to such things in East London but out here we’re very particular about cleanliness.’
The shopkeeper’s gaze flickered disapprovingly over Jo again and then she disappeared through the door behind her into the small parlour.
Although it wasn’t the sort of thing a seventeen-year-old young woman who’d just gained a merit on her matriculation should do, Jo stuck out her tongue at the closed door.
Tucking the offending curl back behind her ear, she stepped behind the counter to mind the shop until Mrs Garfield reappeared.
Garfield & General Store  store was a double-fronted affair with two large windows and a central door. It sat like a well-worn and overloaded portmanteau halfway up Melton Winchet’s High Street and supplied the inhabitants of the small village ten miles east of Colchester with most of their day-to-day household needs. On the left as you entered the store was a serving counter, scrubbed smooth by Mrs Garfield and her mother before her, on which the baker deposited what remained of his morning stock when he closed at midday.  On the shelves behind the counter were packets of tea, tins of custard, Ovaltine and tins of National Milk, hermetically sealed to preserve it against gas attack. In a small section tucked in the corner were tins of condensed milk for babies, nappy pins and, in discrete grey striped packets, Dr White’s sanitary pads.
The household items such as carbolic soap, washing soda, candles and horse embrocation, metal polish, starch and blacking for the fire grates were stacked on the other side of the shop along with brooms, shovels and zinc buckets.
The bell above the door tinkled as Mrs Toffs, wife of the village doctor, strode in. She was a well-groomed woman with a massive bosom and an opinion of herself to match. While most women wore a frock and modest headgear to run their daily errands, Mrs Toffs had decided a navy suit with a red velvet collar and cuffs plus a wide-brimmed feather-laden hat would be more appropriate attire for a visit to the village shop.
‘Can I help you?’ asked Jo.
‘I hardly think so,’ Mrs Toffs replied, running her critical gaze over her. ‘Is Mrs Garfield in?’
Before Jo could reply, the door behind the counter opened again and Mrs Garfield bustled out.
‘Mrs Toffs, what a pleasure,’ said Mrs Garfield, her sharp features lifting into an ingratiating smile. ‘What can I do for you?’
‘We’re having a few friends over  next Saturday,’ Mrs Toffs replied. ‘Nothing grand, you understand, and Footman’s delicatessen department has sent most of what’s needed but’ – slipping her hand into her pocket she withdrew a sheet of paper – ‘there are a few things Cook still requires, so if you would be so kind.’
Mrs Garfield pushed her spectacles back up her nose and looked at the proffered list.
‘A dozen eggs!’ A worried expression pulled the shopkeeper’s heavy eyebrows together.
‘I hope I can rely on you, Mrs Garfield,’ Mrs Toffs cut in. ‘After all, my husband does buy all the surgery’s surgical and methylated spirits through you rather than the wholesalers in Colchester.’
Mrs Garfield paused for a second then folded the list and shoved it in her overall pocket. Her beady eyes shifted to Jo. ‘Don’t stand there eavesdropping. Get on with the rest of the deliveries.’
Biting back a retort, Jo went back into the storeroom and took the list pinned to the corkboard. She collected together the half a dozen bulging brown-paper bags, placed them in one of the spare fruit boxes stacked on the floor and carried it out to the van.
Balancing the load on one arm, she opened one of the van’s back doors and slid the box onto the floor of the van. Holding the list in her right hand, she walked the fingers of her left over the twisted-topped brown-paper bags as she checked off Mrs Benboe in High Meadow Lane, Mrs Pedder, The Green, and Mrs Adams at Pucks Farm. Reaching the last name, Jo realised she’d left the Tillet sisters’ order in the storeroom.
Shoving the scrap of paper in her overall pocket, Jo retraced her steps and re-entered the storeroom.
Spotting the overlooked brown-paper bag containing the spinster sisters’ provisions still on the order shelf, Jo walked between the stacks of boxes and jars to get it. She’d just grasped the order when Mrs Garfield’s voice drifted in from the shop.
‘I tell you, Mrs Toffs,’ said the shopkeeper, ‘I don’t care if Rev Farrow preaches on about giving succour to orphans and widows from now to doomsday, if I’d know the trouble they’d both be, I wouldn’t have said yes to the placement officer.’
‘My husband says it’s a disgrace,’ said the doctor’s wife. ‘All the evacuees he’s had the misfortune to have in his surgery are running alive with nits.’
‘Their mothers ought to be ashamed of themselves for sending their offspring in such a condition and raising children with such terrible manners,’ the shopkeeper went on.
No manners, don’t you mean,’ said Mrs Toffs.
‘As you say,’ agreed Mrs Garfield. ‘You give them a roof over their heads and are they grateful?’
‘Grateful!’ echoed the doctor’s wife. ‘They don’t know the meaning of the word. The scruffy lad Mrs Yates at Three Trees Farm got saddled with complained that he has to get up at five to help with the animals and does nothing but moan about being hungry.’
‘She’s fortunate she’s only lumbered with one,’ said Mrs Garfield. ‘I’ve got that troublemaker Billy and his mouthy sister. And they’re Catholics.’
‘Still, at least the girl can earn her keep in the shop,’ said Mrs Toffs.
‘When she puts her mind to it,’ said Mrs Garfield. ‘But that’s not the worst of it.’
‘I suppose you have to keep an eye on the till,’ said Mrs Toffs in a meaningful tone.
‘And on my Noman,’ said Mrs Garfield.
‘Not that my son’s done anything wrong,’ added the shopkeeper. ‘But you know how impressionably young men can be around ... around ...’
‘Flighty girls?’
‘Exactly,’ said Mrs Garfield. ‘No young lad is safe with girls like that around. You want to keep an eye on her in case she takes a fancy to your Eric.’
‘I will,’ said Mrs Toffs. ‘So what happened?’
There was a pause before Mrs Garfield answered in a hushed voice. ‘Well, the other day I—’
Jo strode into the shop.
‘Only me, Mrs Garfield,’ she said, smiling pleasantly at the shopkeeper. ‘I can’t seem to find the Tillet sisters’ order.’
‘It’s on the order shelf,’ the shopkeeper replied as a mauve blush spread over her multiple chins.
Turning back into the cupboard, Jo picked up the bag she’d just put down and went back into the shop.
‘Found it,’ she said in a sing-song tone and giving both women a dazzling smile. ‘Sorry.
Did I interrupt something?’
‘No at all,’ said Mrs Garfield.
‘We were just chatting,’ added the doctor’s wife, struggling to hold Jo’s gaze.
Jo savoured their discomfort for a few seconds longer then smiled again.
‘I’ll be on my way then, Mrs Garfield. Nice to see you, Mrs Toffs, and tell your Eric I’ll see him at the harvest dance.’
Turning away from the two women, Jo’s mouth pulled into a hard line as, clutching the missing order, she marched back through the house to the back yard.
Yanking open the back of the van, Jo threw the bag of mixed vegetable into the box with the others then slammed the door.
Leaping into the driver’s seat, Jo jammed the key in the ignition and turned the engine on. With a face like thunder she slammed the gearstick into reverse and backed out of the yard. Swinging the wheel, Jo forced the car into first and roared out of the yard.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Free on Kindle!

Kitty McKenzie Book 1 FREE on Kindle 5 days only!!
After losing everything, can she keep her family safe?
‘5 Stars – enjoyable read!’
#Historical #Victorian @amazonkindle

1864 - Suddenly left as the head of the family, Kitty McKenzie must find her inner strength to keep her family together against the odds. Evicted from their resplendent home in the fashionable part of York after her parents’ deaths, Kitty must fight the legacy of bankruptcy and homelessness to secure a home for her and her siblings. Through sheer willpower and determination she grabs opportunities with both hands from working on a clothes and rag stall in the market to creating a teashop for the wealthy. Her road to happiness is fraught with obstacles of hardship and despair, but she refuses to let her dream of a better life for her family die. She soon learns that love and loyalty brings its own reward.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Blog Tour dates of The Promise of Tomorrow

The Promise of Tomorrow is going on a blog tour - when I write that I always think of a rock star tour - haha - anyway, my lovely historical novel is being featured at the blogs below from October 1st - 8th.
Everyone is welcome to stop by each blog and say hello.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

New Release!

Happy Release Day to me!!
The Promise of Tomorrow has been released!
Can Charlotte find the happiness that always seems under threat, and will Harry return home to her?

Available in ebook and paperback on Amazon:

The Promise of Tomorrow blurb
Charlotte Brookes flees her lecherous guardian, McBride, taking her younger sister with her. After a year on the road, they stumble into a Yorkshire village where the Wheelers, owners of the village shop, take them in. This new life is strange for Charlotte, but preferable to living with McBride or surviving on the roads.  Harry Belmont is an important man in the village, but he’s missing something in his life. His budding friendship with Charlotte gives him hope she will feel more for him one day, and he will marry the woman he yearns for. 
When McBride discovers where Charlotte lives, his threats begin. Harry fights to keep Charlotte safe, but World War I erupts and Harry enlists.  Left to face a world of new responsibilities, and Harry’s difficult sister, Charlotte must run the gauntlet of family disputes, McBride's constant harassment, and the possibility of the man she loves being killed.
Can Charlotte find the happiness that always seems under threat, and will Harry return home to her?

Friday, 24 August 2018

East Enders before Eastenders

Perhaps if you've a spare minute, you'd like to check out my virtual East End turf this weekend? is where you’ll find out about my stories, all set in the East End of London. If you’re partial to a melting pot of family drama, action, crime and courage, bent coppers, strong heroes and feisty heroines then you’ve found the right place. My historical characters are rough, tough, dockland folk, marketeers and costermongers, all of whom are the predecessors to the ‘Eastenders' you watch on the telly!

Lizzie Flowers and the Family Firm is the third and most popular book in the Lizzie Flowers series. When loved ones die and family is threatened by the most vicious crime lord of them all, Lizzie must take action before it's too late. Heard of Charlie Brown's tavern, the East End pub that never died? And the Krays' notorious Blind Beggar? Then step into Lizzie Flowers's Mill Wall and the shady taverns of 1930's docklands! End crooks, villains, protectionists, bent coppers, pimps and tarts - they are all here, clamouring  to jump from the pages, while Lizzie battles to save her turf and find love into the bargain. 

Amazon available in ebook and paperback.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Saga authors at the RNA Conference!

Last weekend the Romantic Novelist Association UK held their annual conference at Leeds University.
It is always a chance for authors to spend three days together to 'talk shop' and attend workshops about the industry of being a writer and publishing in general.
It is also a great opportunity to meet old and new friends. The authors of this blog were able to finally get together and, amongst the fun, we took a photo of us, which we thought to put up on this blog so our lovely readers can actually put a face to their favourite authors.

Gathering of the clan. — with Elizabeth Gill, Jean Fullerton, AnneMarie BrearFenella Miller Francesca Capaldi BurgessElaine EverestElaine RobertsSheila Riley.
Front row: Leah Fleming, Shirley Dickson Lizzie LaneFreda Lightfoot and Shirley Dickson. 

Monday, 16 July 2018

Cover reveal for my debut novel - Belle of the Back Streets

As a debut novelist,  I'm VERY proud and happy to be able to share the cover of my first novel Belle of the Back Streets.

The book comes out in hardback, audio book and ebook in November this year, and in March 2019. It is pubished with Headline. 

Belle of the Back Streets is set in the northeast coal mining village of Ryhope in 1919, which is where I grew up (although not in 1919... I'm not quite that old, yet!)

All details at The Headline website

Glenda Young

Twitter: @flaming_nora

Women Affected by World War One

More than 700,000 British men were killed during World War One, and women suffered badly from bereavement, grieving for their lost loved ones. More than a million women never found a man to marry, or the opportunity to bear children. They came to accept they never would have any, their lives having changed forever. They felt lonely with solitary lives and many lost their jobs, once the war was over. At least 750,000 women were made redundant in 1918. All men who returned were highly given priority, and even if a woman had children to care for, and no husband, she would still find it extremely difficult to gain a job.

Many began to seek careers, the facility to be able to vote and the opportunity to live their own life. They also wanted the freedom to enjoy themselves by going to the picture-palace or the palais-de-danse, if they wished of an evening. They weren’t interested in going back to being servants or maids, they either wished to keep the job they’d worked on during the war, or find a better one with good pay to care for themselves or any children they might have. Unfortunately they were not granted equal pay, and had no right to vote until 1918 when a law granted that ability to those over thirty who owned property.

Even those women who were married, their task now was to stay home, cook, clean and care for their family and be a dutiful wife. Their husbands generally felt ashamed of having her working and employers agreed and sacked them. Men saw themselves as the ruling section of society. But some men who had survived were likely to have been injured, maimed, or psychologically damaged, and their wives needed to be the one to work and care for them too.

There were many surplus women after the war. Those lucky enough to have secure financial independence often had no wish to hand it over to a husband and become ruled by him. Others felt desperate for a husband, but suffered loneliness, virginity, no children, grief for lost loved ones, or the loss of their job and rights. My books usually has a strong woman as the main character - who must succeed against all odds. She can be found fighting against the difficulty of her life, aspiring to better herself, and battling against the restrictions and prejudices of the time or whatever other dire circumstances she finds herself in. She must pit good against evil and win by her own efforts, no matter what she has suffered or lost along the way. Cecily greatly believed this, attempted to help her sister and women battling to achieve an improvement in their life. As a member of the suffragists, she was happy to assist local women who risked going on strike in order to earn more money.

Extract from Girls of the Great War: 

It came to Cecily that having been involved with the suffrage movement for so long, she could possibly attempt to assist them in this battle.
    ‘Are you managing to resolve this problem?’ she asked Sally Fielding, one of her former tram workers. A group of them were standing on the Old Town Street holding posters high, one stating: Is a Woman’s Place in the Home? Another said: We Believe in Equality. ‘I can understand why I was not granted my job back on the trams, having been away entertaining the troops in France. Those of you who’ve worked for them throughout the war should have that right.’
    ‘Indeed we should,’ Sally agreed. ‘They accuse us of having less strength and more health problems than men. Absolute tosh! The bloody government treats us like servants. We were doing our bit for the duration of the war but are now being dismissed and replaced by men they consider to be more skilled. We women have worked damned hard and done well. They see us as less productive, which we’re most definitely not and surely have the right to the same pay.’
    ‘Did you join a trade union?’ Cecily asked.
    ‘We did indeed. Once we’d registered to work in the war, why would we not protect ourselves? It was recommended we do that when we were sent a leaflet issued by the War Emergency Workers’ National Committee.’
    ‘Are you managing to provide some funds for unpaid women on strike?’
    ‘Not very well,’ Sally said, pulling a face.
    ‘Right, I’ll help with that.’ She remained with them for the remainder of the day. Taking off one of her boots she held it out to passers-by, begging a donation as a token of their support . When dusk fell she handed over a fair sum of money to Sally. ‘I’ll try to collect more tomorrow. How long will this strike last?’
    ‘Maybe just a couple of days this week. Then if we don’t get anywhere, even longer next.’
    ‘I’ll be there to join you,’ she promised.
    Cecily continued to spend time each day assisting more women by raising money to provide them with an income, as they received none while on strike. It felt such a satisfaction, giving her a fresh purpose in life. Despite the troubles they were enduring she too sorely missed the work she’d been involved with during the war, and her talent. She wrote a brief letter to Boyd, to tell him of her satisfaction in helping these women on strike, being a suffragist. She sorely missed him too.
    ‘Can I do anything more to help?’ s

he asked her friend Sally.
    ‘Aye, you could write a newspaper report depicting our success and why we deserve to receive the same rate of bonus that is being given to men workers, as a result of the war.’
    ‘I’ll be happy to give that a go,’ Cecily agreed. She wrote at length about how many women during the war had worked in munitions, coal, gas and power supplies, factories, transport and various offices.

Cecily Hanson longs to live life on her own terms—to leave the shadow of her overbearing mother and marry her childhood sweetheart once he returns from the Great War. But when her fiancĂ© is lost at sea, this future is shattered. Looking for meaning again, she decides to perform for the troops in France. 

Life on the front line is both rewarding and terrifying, and Cecily soon finds herself more involved—and more in danger—than she ever thought possible. And her family has followed her to France. Her sister, Merryn, has fallen for a young drummer whose charm hides a dark side, while their mother, Queenie—a faded star of the stage tormented by her own secret heartache—seems set on a path of self-destruction. 

As the war draws to a close and their hopes turn once again to the future, Cecily and Merryn are more determined than ever to unravel the truth about their mother’s past: what has she been hiding from them—and why? 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Thursday, 12 July 2018

I can hardly believe that publication day is just next week, Wednesday18th July.

I’m very happy to say that the Amazon ebook of Lizzie Flowers and the Family Firm, the 3rd book in the Lizzie Flowers series, will be published in just a few days time on Wednesday 18th July. Publication has seemed a long wait, but I wanted to make this story very special. Lizzie’s romance with Danny Flowers hasn’t run smoothly. After her traumatic experiences in The Fight for Lizzie Flowers, (book 2), she has to dig deep to face her most feared adversary of all, a masked man known as The Prince. A misnomer for a very dangerous character indeed!
It was great fun writing this book and especially the baddie. I've been asked if I'll write a fourth Lizzie book. I think I may, since we all know how popular wartime books are. Much love to everyone, Carol xx

Monday, 2 July 2018


A paperback copy of my historical novel, Isabelle's Choice is the prize in a competition held on the Coronation Street blog this week.
Enter for your chance to win.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Soldiers in World War One

Their physical and mental stress was so strong at times that it blocked out their minds, filling them with fear, grim reality, tension, strain and anxiety whenever they approached a battle zone. They would fall into silence, asking themselves if they could cope with the dangers they were about to face. They always dreaded snipers, shell shock, infections and injuries, or to be damaged with shrapnel. It could make their mind go completely numb, particularly if they suffered the loss of a friend. Some could be walking wounded, or could only sleep on a groundsheet against the cold.

Infantry soldiers often knew very little about where they were or what was going on elsewhere. They lacked the facility of maps, news and information, relying on gossip and rumour. Food in Blighty was very much a problem. They might be given bacon and liver, brawn and kidneys, bread and dripping, but not too much food was available. They might have porridge with a few smashed army biscuits boiling in a mess tin with some water and sugar. Sometimes they were given a small drink of beer, and they would take a sip of rum and roll it on their tongue. Soldiers were also expected to keep their boots, caps, badges and buckles well-polished, and would hide them at night in case one of the other chaps might pinch them. Life was not easy, and they very much depended upon friends and letters from their family. It was a relief for them to be given a short break from the frontline when they were feeling worn out, perhaps to walk through the streets unthreatened by locals. Or to enjoy a performance.

War might drain men of energy, but Cecily firmly believed that their minds and spirit needed nurturing. Her team gave regular performances in the camp and at local hospitals. It was not unusual for wounded men to be wheeled out of the wards and lie on stretchers in order to watch, having been treated or were simply waiting for the necessary care. They often happily accepted they could be soaked as rain beat down on them. Cecily would regularly sing and on one occasion, they performed a play. Because some couldn’t be moved, following a concert Cecily would visit the hospital and sing to patients in their beds, or to one alone if he was blind or dying. It was exhausting but moving, her team’s situation ripe with danger too. They performed popular songs, poetry, Shakespeare, comedy and gave a glimpse of ‘Blighty’ often to an audience of thousands. The soldiers were always overjoyed to be entertained.

Extract of Cecily’s first performance in Girls of the Great War. 

There was no proper stage, no curtains, dressing rooms or footlights, but they did have acetylene gas lamps glimmering brightly around the boxes. They worked for hours rehearsing and enduring more instructions from Queenie on what and how they should perform. Cecily suffered a flutter of panic as she became aware of hundreds more men gathering in the audience. A few were seated on boxes or benches, the rest of the area packed with a solid mass standing shoulder to shoulder. Many had been patiently waiting hours for the concert to start. Looking at the state of them it was evident that many had come direct from the trenches where they’d probably been trapped in horrific conditions for months. Those unable to move from their tent pulled the flaps open so that they too could hear the concert.
    Heart pounding and nerves jangling, Cecily felt the urge to turn and run as the moment for the concert to start came closer. Was her mother right and she couldn’t sing well at all? Would they roar and boo at her as they had that time at Queenie?
    She steadied her breathing, smoothed down her skirt with sweaty fingers and when she walked on stage the men gave a loud cheer of welcome. The excitement in their faces filled her with hope and as she stepped forward to the front of the boxed stage the audience instantly fell silent, looking enthralled and spellbound. She exchanged a swift glance with Merryn, counted one, two, three, four . . . and her sister and Johnny both began to play, sounding most professional. Cecily started to sing:
          There’s a Long, Long Trail A-winding. 
          Into the land of my dreams,
          Where the nightingales are singing 
          And a white moon beams: 

    As she sang, her fears, depression and worries vanished in a surge of elation, soaring into a new life, and bringing these soldiers pleasure and relief from the war. When the song was over she received a tumultuous applause, cheers, whistles and roars of appreciation from them. Smiling broadly she went on to sing ‘Roses of Picardy’, followed by ‘Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag’ and many other popular favourites. Most of the Tommies would readily join in to sing the chorus whenever Cecily invited them to do so. Others would weep, as if fraught with emotion because they were homesick and felt greatly moved by this reminder of England. Then would again cheer and roar with happiness at the end, urging her to sing an encore.
    ‘You are doing quite well,’ her mother casually remarked during the short interval, a comment Cecily greatly appreciated. ‘Now sing some of those jolly music hall songs that I recommended.’
    ‘Right you are.’
    Cecily went on to sing ‘Burlington Bertie From Bow’and ‘Fall In And Follow Me’. These brought bright smiles and laughter to all the Tommies’ faces. She finished with ‘Your King and Country Want You’, bringing forth loud cheers of agreement. How she loved singing to these soldiers. If she hadn’t been a star before, she certainly felt like one now.

Cecily Hanson longs to live life on her own terms—to leave the shadow of her overbearing mother and marry her childhood sweetheart once he returns from the Great War. But when her fiancĂ© is lost at sea, this future is shattered. Looking for meaning again, she decides to perform for the troops in France. 

Life on the front line is both rewarding and terrifying, and Cecily soon finds herself more involved—and more in danger—than she ever thought possible. And her family has followed her to France. Her sister, Merryn, has fallen for a young drummer whose charm hides a dark side, while their mother, Queenie—a faded star of the stage tormented by her own secret heartache—seems set on a path of self-destruction. 

As the war draws to a close and their hopes turn once again to the future, Cecily and Merryn are more determined than ever to unravel the truth about their mother’s past: what has she been hiding from them—and why? 

Amazon UK

Amazon US