Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Baby Love

Just over a week until EAST END ANGEL is published in paperback. There have been online promotions and events, a number of book signings and a chance to speak to readers and enjoy their take on the Blitz. London’s Docklands, a prime target for the Luftwaffe, is the setting for my story. Co-incidentally, the Blitz is my grand-daughter’s history project at school. So we made a gasmask from a tea box and a long bootlace. It was fun to become an evacuee again. We copied the dress of the two small evacuees on the front illustration of my book and wrote out the identification tag. We were going to Cornwall, where a kindly family would take in the dirty-faced cockney urchins, whilst hoping that none of their own kids started to drop their “haitches” or developed nits. The tag line on the cover, under the title and beside a pic of a slender, gutsy looking 1940’s heroine says, “She’d do anything to protect the family she loves”. So why, asks my very perceptive eight-year-old, is she parting from her children? Good question. To give them a chance of survival, perhaps? To comply with the authorities? Or was it panic that swept up parents as the skies rained bombs? In this book, Pearl Jenkins fights tooth and nail to keep her baby. I just couldn’t evacuate the child - Pearl wouldn’t let me. When I told my grand-daughter this, I was given the thumbs-up. “I wouldn’t give my baby away,’ she said. ‘And I like Cornwall.’

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Broken Hero by Anne Whitfield

I thought I would post an excerpt of my World War II story, Broken Hero, since it's been a while.

Audrey Pearson's life changed dramatically when WWII broke out and her large home, Twelve Pines on the East Yorkshire coast, became a convalescence home for wounded soldiers. Her life is no longer lavish with entertainment, beautiful clothes and surrounded by a loving family. Soldiers, physically and mentally wounded now fill her home. The smell of disinfectant replaces her mother's perfume and gone are the friends and acquaintances - instead nurses roam the hallways.
Captain Jake Harding, a doctor training in psychiatry arrives at Twelve Pines. Audrey immediately finds herself attracted to the Captain, but he is remote towards her. Puzzled by his cold behaviour, Audrey tries to learn more about the handsome Captain. He reveals that he's lost a wife and baby in childbirth and refuses to ever remarry.
However, despite this, Audrey believes she can change his mind and make him aware he doesn't have to spend his life alone.
The ice around Jake's heart begins to melt. For years he has rejected the possibility of finding love again because of the pain it caused him before, but the beautiful Audrey shows him her love and she needs someone to love her in return.
Could he honestly walk away from her, from the love that could be his?


Some inborn instinct told her that this man was for her—that she’d been waiting for him. She wouldn’t give up. He was worth fighting for. All it took was perseverance. She wouldn’t allow him to wallow in self-pity. He had to be shown that it was safe to love her, she wouldn’t leave him, and if he was too stubborn to acknowledge it then she would draw it out of him with some old-fashioned jealousy. She knew he was attracted to her, so now she had to use that to her advantage. All she had to do was play-act. Surely that wasn’t too hard now, was it?
Audrey reached for her straw hat and put her plan into action. “I think it’s time I showed these men how to play cricket. Who will be my partner?”
There was a roar of approval and then the men gulped their drinks down, ready to start another game.
Colonel Barnes picked up the other bat, his skin reddening. “I may be an old trout, but I’d be honoured to be at the other end, Miss Pearson.”
“Indeed, Colonel, I think that would be very suitable.” Since her father’s funeral she had noticed a change in the old colonel and Val had told her of his long talks with Jake, which had led to the colonel wanting to rejoin his regiment, if only to be used in the office or a similar position.
She picked up the cricket bat, and took her place in front of the stumps, waiting for the bowler to run in.
“You show them, Aud!” Lucy called from where she was fielding on the edge of the water.
Audrey grinned. The sun was hot, turning the sand to fire. She could feel the skin on her legs burning, but at least she tanned well. Today she wore navy shorts and a lemon short sleeved shirt. Her curls were wild about her head and she quickly tucked them under her hat.
From the corner of her eye she spotted Jake and Val chatting on the blanket and, as the bowler ran in, Audrey knew exactly where she’d hit the ball. Years of playing cricket with her father and brother made her good at the sport. She’d always been athletic, much to her mother’s dismay, and now she grinned as she whacked the ball hard, hooking it over to the blanket where it landed just inches from Jake’s feet.
Surprised, Valerie rose up on her knees. “Audrey, are you trying to kill one of us?”
“Sorry, Val!” She laughed and got into position again. For the next eight balls she hit every one in their direction. Valerie had run for cover, but Jake still sat on the blanket, slowly clapping each ball she hit.
“I say, how splendid!” The colonel took out his handkerchief and wiped the sweat from his head and neck. “I don’t have to run at all.”
"Miss Pearson is too good for us.” Nielson chuckled as she hit another ball that sailed over his head.
“She should play for England!” Major Johnson winked at her and she winked back.
“Will you have a bowl, Captain Harding?” Price threw him the ball.
“No, I don’t think so.” Jake glanced at Audrey.
“Frightened I might hit you for six, Captain?” she teased.
He stood and juggled the ball from hand to hand, his gaze not leaving hers. “Not at all, Miss Pearson.”
Audrey swallowed, watching him walk to the bowlers mark. Her stomach twisted into knots at the challenge. After missing his first two balls, she realised he was very good at this game and was determined not to let her win this match between them. He had a steely look in his eyes, his expression grim.
She managed to hit his next delivery back over his head. Jake looked at her in surprise as the men whooped and clapped at the shot. “Run Colonel! Run!” she called.
“Someone get that ball,” Jake yelled, raking his fingers through his hair in frustration. He glared at Audrey as she came to his end of the wicket.
“Don’t take pity on me simply because I’m a woman, Captain.” She grinned at him and turned to stand at the side. “I’m stronger than you know.”
The ball was thrown back to him and he caught it, pausing to examine the stitching. “I don’t doubt that for a moment, Miss Pearson.”
Inside, Audrey smiled. She was getting to him, unsettling his ordered life. She wasn’t someone he could dismiss without another thought. She wouldn’t let him.

Purchase Broken Hero from;

Amazon USA http://www.amazon.co.uk/Broken-Hero-Anne-Whitfield/dp/1601542267/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279271138&sr=1-4

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1601542267?tag=httpwwwannewc-21&camp=1406&creative=6394&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1601542267&adid=1T2NC357X5063J2N1CN7&

The Book Depository http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781601542267/Broken-Hero  (free delivery world wide)

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Angels at War

My latest title, out this month in hardback, is the sequel to House of Angels, although the story will stand alone. Again this book is set in the Lake District, partly in the beautiful Kentmere Valley around the time of World War I, although it is such a quiet corner of England I doubt it has changed much since. The nearest village is Staveley, situated between Kendal and Windermere. Here is picture to tempt you to visit.

Two years have passed since Livia and her sisters suffered at the hands of their brutal father and Livia is set to marry the handsome and caring Jack Flint while her sisters are contentedly living at Todd Farm. Yet she dreams of bringing back to life the neglected drapery business which was left to her when her father died. But is she prepared to jeopardise the love she shares with Jack to achieve her wish?

Racked with guilt over the tragic death of her sister Maggie, she promises never to let anyone down again and to do something worthwhile with her life. But standing in her way is the wealthy and determined Matthew Grayson, who has been appointed to oversee the restoration of the business. His infuriating stubbornness clashes with Livia’s tenacity and the pair get off to a bad start. But as her problems with Jack worsen, Livia finds it increasingly difficult to resist his charms. Despite all the emotional turmoil, she is also resolute in her support for the Suffragette Movement which puts further strain on her relationship with Jack. With the extra pressures of her sisters’ problems, is it possible for Livia to regain control of her life?

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Love letter of dreams

It's now October and very soon will be my dad's birthday. I've written about him before, but last week Mum and I re-read some of his letters to her during his five years of war service. He knew a little French and often wrote romantic replies to Mum's fluent French notes. Dad wrote every chance he had though the fierce campaigns. One of the most amazing things about my parents' attitude to the enemy, even during the war, was their sympathy for and understanding of the German people. After the war we travelled extensively throughout the continent, but Germany was Dad's first love. He expresses it poignantly here with a description to Mum of his dreams.
"With the car - what type shall it be, Cheri? We shall travel! With God's blessing we shall once again indulge in simple pleasures of free people, unfettered by restrictions and partings and without mortal fear of the future. We shall have our own little maison with garden, somewhere in reach of country and town. We shall lay this car up for a couple of weeks in the summer for our holiday, starting with Switzerland. I regret we'll have to give Germany a chance to clear up before we visit, as we will at home. But I think it will be nice to spend just one more holiday touring the Black Forest, Munich and Berlin. Travel will be quite cheap when this is over. And though at the moment we all think rather rudely about certain countries, it will be altogether different after. It's very lovely to think about, Cheri. Bonne nuit, ma chere, je tu aime beaucoup. Sleep tight and chin up. Votre homme toujour, Bill."