Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The chilling world of British Fascists.

In my latest release, Pocketful of Dreams, the villain Christopher Jolliffe, a Nazi follower who is working to overthrow the British Government and install a Fascist regime at the outbreak of war. 

Part of my job as an author is to show him and his odious political ideals in their true light. To do this my character has not only to do vile things but say words that are both offensive and cruel. 

Writing Christopher and his fellow fascist’s dialogue conversations was a challenge but I did what I always do to get the period details right and consulted primary sources, in this case the quotes and pamphlets written by fascist leaders of the time. 

Today, if you mention British pre-war Fascists people immediately think of Mosley and the Battle of Cable Street or Diana and Unity Mitford both frequent visitors to the Reich and ardent followers of Hitler.






However, while Oswald Mosley is certainly the best known British Fascist he is by no means the only one. In fact, it could be argued that others behind the scene, many of them upright member of society were more extreme and more influential. 




There was a tangle of pre-war organisation such as the The European Society for Christian Resettlement, British Vigil, The Anglo German Fellowship. 


One of the most influential was the Right Club which was headed up by the Right Honourable Captain Ramsey member of parliament for Peebles and South Midlothian. Ramsey was a fervent anti-Semitic who wrote tracts about the World Jewry's plot to take over international financial markets. Another influential Fascist organisation was 




The Link which as well as being anti-Semitic was actively pro-Nazi organisation founded by Admiral Domvile, who kept a photo of Hitler on his desk. 








The most active branch of this organisation was the Northampton branch headed up by Captain George Drummond who held Nazi social events and had a swastika at the bottom of his swimming pool.   





The fascist cause was supported across the social divide from the very top of society with people like Ben Greene active in the British Council for a Christian Settlement in Europe through to Jock Houston and his bully boys working in the working-class areas of East London in the British People’s Party. 






To be honest when I was looking for someone to model my Villain Christopher Jolliffe on I was really spoilt for choice.  However, to portray the visceral hatred of the fascists for Jewish people I also had to read some of their essays and transcriptions of their speeches.  Not a comfortable exercise. However, although the primary aim of historical fiction is to entertain the reader I feel in pursuits of accurate research we shouldn't shy away from including the less savoury aspects of the past. 

About Jean:

A Londoner who worked as a district nurse in East London for over twenty-five years and is now a full-time author.  She has won multiple awards and all her books are set in her native East London.  

Her first series was set in the early 1800s but her most recently four books about nurses Millie and Connie have jumped forward a century and are set at the end of WW2. 

Her latest book, POCKETFUL OF DREAMS, is the first of her East London WW2 series featuring sisters Mattie, Jo and Cathy Brogan and their extended family.

Twitter:  @JeanFullerton_
Pocketful of Dreams by Jean Fullerton. https://goo.gl/23Q35m

It's 1939, and the Brogan family of London's East End are ready to show Hitler what for. But things don't seem so rosy when rationing, evacuation and air-raids start to put this larger-than-life family to the test.
When a mysterious young man arrives at the Brogans' local parish church, he provides just the dazzling distraction they need - and for eldest daughter Mattie, the promise of more than she'd ever wished for. But as the pair fall deeper in love, they are drawn into secret dangers, rife on the very London streets they call home.
As the young couple race to protect the East End as they know it, can their dreams survive the darkening backdrop of war-time...?

Saturday, 13 January 2018

What to write or not to write; conundrums, conundrums ...


Christmas is dusted off and a New Year begins. A very happy, healthy and prosperous 2018 to all readers, writers and browsers of AnneMarie's awesome blog. For me, it's the culmination of a dream; to write the third of my Lizzie Flowers sagas - and to have LIZZIE FLOWERS AND THE FAMILY FIRM  ready for publication with Kindle Unlimited in June 2018. From the end of World War One to just before World War Two, separated by an unbelievable two decades, I wanted to take Lizzie through the Depression and into the turbulent late 30's. So when my cover arrived showing Lizzie dressed in red, outside her recently acquired nemesis, the Mill Wall Arms, I knew that I was not far away from realizing the plan! Every author here must know the feeling. Almost at the finish, the end in sight. But most important of all, is that satisfactory ending. And it's at this point that I've come up with an unexpected question mark. I could so easily barrel on into 1939's stomach-dropping events and the declaration of war. But that would be book four and unscheduled. Other stuff on the go. Ideas and outlines. However, so tempting ... so deliciously ripe! Conundrums, conundrums ...
www.carolrivers.com

Monday, 8 January 2018

Inspiration for Peace in My Heart

Having involved myself in a great deal of research about evacuees, I thought it would be good to show their love for Blackpool and the people who cared for them.

This idea came from a memory of my grandparents running a boarding house in the centre of Blackpool during the war, largely occupied by evacuees, Polish aircrew, soldiers taking a break, and many of their wives and children coming to visit their husbands. They apparently had a very busy and fascinating time. I learned from my father that he’d been trained as a shoe repairer when he was young before the war, working in Lytham St Annes. He remembered collecting and delivering shoes for George Formby, a lovely entertainer who lived nearby. He also used to do a lot of fishing, and knowing exactly where to do this, he would charge people to show them or provide them with some of the fish he’d caught.

Here they are seated on the right hand side of the first row. My mother worked for his parents for a while, being his girlfriend. Once the war broke out they quickly married. She moved back to live with her own mother in Accrington and worked in the textile industry throughout the war, largely producing parachutes. My father was only twenty and had to report for infantry training at Squires Gate in Blackpool. That only lasted about six weeks although he would have preferred it to have been much longer. But the tragedy of the defeat of the Army in France and the evacuation of Dunkirk, speeded things up. He was then moved on to Manchester, Bury, Scotland and various other places throughout the war. Writing details of his service he said:

‘It was about this time that the Blitz on Manchester started, and the 6th Battalion was called in to give help to the Civil Defence and the Police. Along with other Army units this was a terrible time for the people of Manchester, as it was for other Cities in the country and we did our best to help. Our own barracks did not escape, and if not on duty we took shelter.’ 

After the war I recall as a toddler often visiting my grandparents and watching a performance of brightly lit puppets where a curtain was strung across part of the dining room. They told me that had often taken place during the war. We spent many happy days in Blackpool, my favourite visits being the Tower Ballroom, the Circus, Winter Gardens and riding a donkey on the beach. Always great fun for a young child. I remember my grandmother coming home from shopping one day to find a dusty mess of plaster and rubble on the staircase, my Grandfather having knocked open the entrance to the loft and planned to put in another bedroom. I used this incident and one or two others in the story, which was great fun. Eventually my grandparents sold the property and moved to Burnley, but my memories of this part of my family’s life, and my own memories post war, proved to be very much an inspiration as a setting for Peace in My Heart. The owners in charge of the boarding house in this story were, of course, not my grandparents but two sisters who cared for Joanne and Megan as evacuees. But would they stay with them or move back home?


The war is over and Evie Talbert eagerly awaits the return of her three children from their evacuated homes. But her carefree daughters and son are barely recognisable – their education has been disrupted, the siblings split up, and the effect on them has been life-changing. Her son has developed serious behavioural problems and with her daughters, there’s jealousy and a nervous disorder that cannot be explained… 

Evie’s husband also has problems. Having returned from being in action, he suffers nightmares and fits of rage. He’s no longer the gentle, quiet man Evie married. Peace may finally be here, but Evie’s family is in shreds. Now she must rebuild a loving home to achieve the happiness she’s always dreamed of… 

Available from WH Smith and other good book shops.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Saturday, 9 December 2017

And the winner is.......!


It is with great excitement that the authors of Historical Saga Novels Blog announce the winner of the fantastic prize of 18 signed paperback books is.......

Sue Kitt !!

Congratulations, Sue!

We hope you'll enjoy all the books heading your way. I'm sure you'll have hours, days and weeks of reading pleasure.

If you could message me your details on my facebook page, please, we can then organise to send the books to you.







Saturday, 2 December 2017

A Heartwarming Story of Life after the War

Peace in my Heart 

 
The war is over and Evie Talbert eagerly awaits the return of her three children from their evacuated homes. But her carefree daughters and son are barely recognisable – their education has been disrupted, the siblings split up, and the effect on them has been life-changing. Her son has developed serious behavioural problems and with her daughters, there’s jealousy and a nervous disorder that cannot be explained… 

 Evie’s husband also has problems. Having returned from being in action, he suffers nightmares and fits of rage. He’s no longer the gentle, quiet man Evie married. Peace may finally be here, but Evie’s family is in shreds. Now she must rebuild a loving home to achieve the happiness she’s always dreamed of… 

Extract - Chapter One 

May 1945
The celebrations for the end of the war had gone wild, the streets on V.E. Day packed with jubilant revellers all singing, dancing and laughing, much to Joanne’s delight. There were rosettes, flags and bunting all around; lights on everywhere and a band playing. Her gaze shifted to the lilting waves as they lapped below the North Pier. She felt quite familiar with all the moods of the sea from gentle and benign, as it was today to fiercely destructive when towering waves would fly over the promenade and small boats could be battered. Having adopted HMS Penelope, a ship the locals supported, they were devastated when it was tragically hit by a torpedo near Italy in 1944 and sank, killing 400 men. There had been a dreadful plane crash on Central Station and an air disaster in nearby Freckleton when a B-24 Liberator had crashed into the village school and houses killing over 50 people and dozens of children. The many airports had endured some problems throughout the war but the town had still welcomed holidaymakers in need of a little fun, and had generously provided accommodation to thousands of evacuees, including herself and her young sister. Fortunately Blackpool had suffered fewer disasters than many other places, certainly much less than Joanne’s hometown of Manchester. Life seemed to be rather like the sea, one moment calm and benevolent, the next cruel and harsh because of the horrors of war. But they’d found it a great place to live.
     Thankfully the war was at last over, so hopefully things would improve. Looking out across the calm blue Irish Sea, the sandy beach was smooth and golden, stretching for some distance. Joanne had brought some sandwiches and cakes to contribute to the party they would all enjoy later. She’d even seen someone bring along a stack of odd looking yellow pieces of fruit, which were apparently bananas, not something she’d ever tasted and greatly looked forward to savouring them.
     ‘God save the King,’ somebody called out. Cheers of joy met this cry, turning it into the national song.
     Joanne glanced at her watch. Three-thirty. Her afternoon break would generally be almost over at this point. Lunchtime at the boarding house where they lived, the two landladies having cared for them this last three years, had been busy as usual with many wives having come to visit their RAF husbands. Joanne always looked forward to an hour or two of freedom in the middle of the afternoon when she could refresh herself in the sea air and sunshine. Those two dear sisters, Aunt Annie and Aunt Sadie, readily encouraged her to take a break and today being one of celebration, there was no demand for her to rush back to work. No doubt they too were around somewhere enjoying this celebration. From where she stood on the promenade close to the Tower and the North Pier, Joanne watched her sister Megan happily dancing with Bernie, their nephew. He’d first asked Joanne but she’d politely declined, anxious to sit and wait for Teddy to come, knowing in her heart that she could love no man but this GI.
     Oh, but why hadn’t he arrived when he’d promised that he would, knowing she so enjoyed dancing with him? He was a most dapper and exciting GI, billeted in Garstang. Joanne did once visit him there to attend a dance at the village hall. She’d been shown around the camp, tripping along duckboards in her heeled shoes to view the Nissen huts, cookhouse and officers’ mess. It was a bit of a dump, packed with gallon drums, jeeps, fuel; wet clothing hanging on hedges or trees to dry that didn’t look at all proper. He’d taken her to see the tent where he and his mates were accommodated and had given her a cuddle and a kiss. She took care that he did no more than that, not wishing to be taken advantage of. Many girls were happy to lose their virginity with a man who could be killed in the war, something they felt they should not object to. Joanne was far more cautious being only seventeen, very young and innocent.
     How she loved him. These GIs were most attractive men and happy to come into Blackpool to visit one of the many pubs on the promenade, or enjoy the dancing at the Tower Ballroom, sometimes dressed as a civvie instead of in their uniform.
     After the dance she and Teddy would often take a drink in a pub and she would sit on his lap for him to kiss and caress her, sending her senses skittering at the thrill of his touch. More often than not there were other girls hovering close by. Joanne paid them no heed, accustomed to the fact that these guys were never short of admirers, being popular men. And she was perfectly certain that Teddy viewed her as his favourite girl. Hadn’t he told her so a million times?
     So why wasn’t he here on this special day? There was so much she felt the need to say to him now the war was over. Joanne gave a sigh and stood up, brushing away the sand that had blown onto her skirt.
     When a hand lightly touched her shoulder she felt a frisson of recognition. He’d arrived at last. Instantly filled with pleasure and excitement, Joanne quickly turned to give him a hug, eager to welcome him while inside she felt in complete turmoil. Did she dare to tell this man how much she dreamed of a happy future together?

Available in WH Smiths, good bookshops and online

WH Smith 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Bumper Saga Novel Give-Away Competition!

How would you like to receive this bumper list of SIGNED books from your favourite saga authors just in time for Christmas?

THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE WINNER!

For your chance of winning complete the title of this popular Charles Dickens novel: 'A Christmas _ _ _ _’ Then post your answer below, along with your name, and share.

                              The competition ends midday on 8th DECEMBER

Follow your favourite saga authors on Twitter with the hashtags #SagaSaturday & #LoveSagas

Authors taking part:

AnneMarie Brear
Isabelle’s Choice
Ebook, Paperback

Will the choices she’s made ruin her?






AnneMarie Brear
To Gain What’s Lost
Ebook, Paperback

She thinks her life has changed for the better, her dark secrets hidden, but little does she know…






Felicity Dwyer
When Blossoms Fall
Paperback, Ebook
For Matti life has not been easy, brought up through the hardship of war and the heartbreak of the loss it brings was difficult enough without her own physical challenges. Matti steadfastly refuses to accept less from life and with the strength and protection of her friends she faces head on the bitter past and secrets that threaten her happiness. Gladys has a physically abusive father that destroys her trust in any man and decides that marriage is definitely not for her. Ada is a feisty young lady who achieves her dream of being a fire-fighter but at what cost.

Elaine Everest
The Woolworths Girls
Paperback, Ebook, Audio
Pan Macmillan
Amazon link
It's 1938 and as the threat of war hangs over the country, Sarah Caselton is preparing for her new job at Woolworths. Before long, she forms a tight bond with two of her colleagues: the glamorous Maisie and shy Freda. The trio couldn't be more different, but they immediately form a close-knit friendship. Sarah soon falls into the rhythm of her new position, enjoying the social events hosted by Woolies and her blossoming romance with young assistant manager, Alan. But with the threat of war clouding the horizon, the young men and women of Woolworths realise that there are bigger battles ahead. It's a dangerous time for the nation, and an even more perilous time to fall in love . . .

Elaine Everest
Christmas at Woolworths
Paperback, Ebook, Audio
Pan Macmillan
Amazon link
Best friends Sarah, Maisie and Freda are brought together by their jobs at Woolworths. With their loved ones away on the front line, their bonds of friendship strengthen each day. Betty Billington is the manager at Woolworths, and a rock for the girls, having given up on love . . . Until a mysterious stranger turns up one day – could he reignite a spark in Betty?
As the year draws to a close, and Christmas approaches, the girls must rely on each other to navigate the dark days that lie ahead . . .
With so much change, can their friendship survive the war?


Marion Fellows
Bridie McMahon
FeedARead.com Publishing
Ebook, paperback
Amazon link
At the turn of the twentieth century Ireland is in the throes of depression, work is scarce and families are starving. Michael McMahon makes the decision to emigrate to England but his vision of a new life is ephemeral. Blighted by the squalid conditions that his family are forced to endure, it is with a heavy heart that he sends his daughter Bridie to work in service as a scullery maid at Oldfell Hall. Will the splendour of this ancestral home erase her memory of the squalor of Baldock Court...or will the young Irish girl's naivety be her downfall? Along with his wife, Mary and young son, Jamie, he watches as the carriage takes her away to face an uncertain future.
Romance, love, tragedy and heartbreak make this a compelling read. You will experience every emotion as you follow Bridie's sometimes traumatic journey culminating at the end of the First World War.



Fiona Ford
The Spark Girl
Ebook, Paperback, Hardback
Orion
A knock on the door early one morning shouldn't be cause for concern but it is 1941, Britain is at war, and Kitty Williams's fiancé is far from home fighting Hitler with the Navy.
As her heart is shattered hearing the news she had been dreading, Kitty becomes more determined than ever to do her bit for the war effort.
Signing up to the Women's Army is just the sort of challenge Kitty needs but when bombs start to fall on her home town of Coventry, and allies turn against her, Kitty must find the strength she never knew she had to save her family, fix her broken heart and help her country to victory.

Jean Fullerton
Pocketful of Dreams 



Paperback, Ebook

Corvus 



Amazon link
It's 1939, and the Brogan family of London's East End are ready to
show Hitler what for. But things don't seem so rosy when rationing,
evacuation and air-raids start to put this larger-than-life family to the
test.
When a mysterious young man arrives at the Brogans' local parish church, he
provides just the dazzling distraction they need - and for eldest daughter
Mattie, the promise of more than she'd ever wished for. But as the pair fall
deeper in love, they are drawn into secret dangers, rife on the very London
streets they call home.
As the young couple race to protect the East End as they know it, can their
dreams survive the darkening backdrop of war-time...?

Annie Groves
Winter on the Mersey
Paperback, Ebook
Harper Collins
The phoney war is over and Hitler’s bombs are raining down on the city of Liverpool.Rita Kennedy is forced to face some unpalatable truths about her husband, Charlie. But she must still play the part of dutiful wife, while her childhood sweetheart, Jack Callaghan, has shown her nothing but kindness. Can they keep a check on their emotions or will their friendship develop into something more?
For Kitty Callaghan, burying herself in her work distracts from the constant worry about her brothers. Tommy is back from his evacuee posting after falling ill, but now he faces danger in another guise. And what about Danny, always ducking and diving and up to no good? And then there’s Frank Feeny, the man she adores. Will they ever be together?
  
Rosie Hendry
East End Angels
Hardback, Paperback, Ebook
Little, Brown Sphere
 Strong-willed Winnie loves working at Station Seventy-Five but when tragedy hits she finds herself wondering if she's cut out for this life after all.
Former housemaid Bella has been building a new life for herself but when the air raids begin, it seems she may have to start over once again.
East-Ender Frankie's sense of loyalty keeps her tied to home and with her head and heart pulling in different directions, will she find the strength to come through for her friends when they need her the most?
Brought together at LAAS Station Seventy-Five in London's East End during 1940, these different women soon realise that they'll need each other if they're to get through the days ahead. But can the ties of friendship, love and family all remain unbroken?

Emma Hornby
A Shilling for a Wife
Paperback
Transworld, Penguin Random House
A dismal cottage in the heart of Bolton, Lancashire, has been Sally’s prison since Joseph Goden 'bought' her from the workhouse as his wife. A drunkard and bully, Joseph rules her with a rod of iron, using fists and threats to keep her in check.
When Sally gives birth, however, she knows she must do anything to save her child from her husband's clutches. She manages to escape, and taking her baby, flees for the belching chimneys of Manchester, in search of her only relative.
But with the threat of discovery by Joseph, who will stop at nothing to find her, Sally must fight with every ounce of strength she has to protect herself and her son, and finally be with the man who truly loves her. For a fresh start does not come without a price . . .

Emma Hornby
Manchester Moll
Paperback
Transworld, Penguin Random House
Amazon link
Eighteen-year-old Moll Chambers works her fingers to the bone doing all she can to support her family. With an ailing father and a wayward mother, Moll is the only one who can look after her siblings, Bo and Sissy. Manchester is an increasingly dangerous place to live, overrun with a ferocious rivalry between gangs of so-called ‘scuttlers’. And they have her brother in their sights. Soon even Moll can’t protect Bo from the lure of the criminal underworld. Then the scuttlers looked her way.
When she falls for the leader of a rival gang, Moll’s choices place her and Bo firmly on opposite sides of the city’s turf war. With her loyalties now torn in two, and tragedy lurking round every corner, will Moll be able to rise above the conflict and protect those she loves the most?


Lizzie Lane
A Wartime Friend
Ebury Publishing
ebook, large print, audio and paperback
A little Jewish girl escaping persecution meets up with a guard dog who refuses to be vicious. The two of them are rescued by the husband of a woman who loves her home above everything else - relocation to an English village where their lives are made whole again.


Lizzie Lane
War Orphans
Ebury Publishing
ebook, hardback, paperback, audio, large print.

350,000 dogs and cats were destroyed during the first week of WW2. This is the story of a puppy who survived and his affect on an orphan, two lovers and a man struggling with bereavement.

Lynette Rees
Black Diamonds
Self Published
Available in Kindle and Paperback

One woman's brave heart.
It is a day of tragedy at the local coal pit just before Christmas 1865 that brings Lily Jenkin into contact with the new chapel minister, Evan Davies. Although a dark cloud of death passes over the village, Lily and Evan draw close to one another as they help the villagers deal with the tragedy. Lily has the opportunity to escape the valley of the shadow of death. Will she seize the chance to go to ‘Zion’, Great Salt Lake in America to follow her Mormon relatives, and more importantly, will Evan, a Welsh Baptist minister, go with her? 

Carol Rivers
Lizzie of Langley Street
Paperback, hardback, Ebook, Audio
Simon & Schuster

Eastender 15-year-old Lizzie Allen is facing desperate times after World War 1, fighting the poverty and crime that threatens to ruin her family.'




Kate Thompson
Secrets of the Singer Girls
Paperback, Ebook, Hardback, Audio
Pan Macmillan
1942. Sixteen-year-old Poppy Percival turns up at the gates of Trout's clothing factory in Bethnal Green with no idea what her new life might have in store. There to start work as a seamstress and struggling to get to grips with the noise, dirt and devastation of East London, Poppy can't help but miss the quiet countryside of home. But Poppy harbours a dark secret - one that wrenched her away from all she knew and from which she is still suffering . . .
And Poppy's not the only one with a secret. Each of her new friends at the factory is hiding something painful. Vera Shadwell, the forelady, has had a hard life with scars both visible and concealed; her sister Daisy has romantic notions that could get her in trouble; and Sal Fowler, a hardworking mother who worries about her two evacuated boys for good reason. Bound by ties of friendship, loyalty and family, the devastating events of the war will throw each of their lives into turmoil but also bring these women closer to each other than they could ever have imagined.

Mary Wood
Brighter Days Ahead
Paperback
Pan Macmillan
Molly lives with her repugnant father, who has betrayed her many times. From a young age, living on the streets of London’s East End, she has seen the harsh realities of life . . . When she’s kidnapped by a gang and forced into their underworld, her future seems bleak.
Flo spent her early years in an orphanage, and is about to turn her hand to teacher training. When a kindly teacher at her school approaches her about a job at Bletchley Park, it could be everything she never knew she wanted.
Will the girls' friendship be enough to weather the hard times ahead?


#SagaSaturday GOOD LUCK AND DONT FORGET TO FOLLOW US ON TWITTER #LoveSagas 

xx