Thursday, 29 August 2013
ESCAPE BY MOONLIGHT They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but we do it all the time, don't we? It is the cover that first attracts our attention, the picture with its title and author's name. Does it make us want to look inside the book? We read the blurb and then the first paragraph or two and it is on that we make our decision. I am very fortunate that my publishers, Allison and Busby, have always given me lovely covers, The cover of The Summer House with its garden gate made you want to go through the gate and explore beyond it, that for The Girl on the Beach is eye catching for its bright colour and sense of peace that was doomed not to last, but the one for Escape by Moonlight is outstanding. It is so atmospheric, hinting at secrets and danger, which is so exactly right.
Escape by Moonlight is the story of two girls, Elizabeth de Lacey and Lucy Storey, both from the Norfolk village of Nayton, the one wealthy and privileged, the other the daughter of the local stationmaster, poles apart but linked by war. Elizabeth is holidaying with her maternal grandparents in Haute Savoie in 1939 when war breaks out and elects to stay. Along with her aunt, Justine, she becomes involved with the French Resistance helping allied airmen and escaped prisoners of war over the Swiss border, which becomes more and more risky as Germany takes over the whole of France. Her life is one of secrets, betrayal and danger culminating in a fierce battle between the resistance fighters hiding in the mountains and the Germans determined to wipe them out. The death of a cousin in the struggle, the demise of her grandparents and falling in love with Roger, an SOE agent, add to her anxieties. They are in terrible danger and the only way to save them is to fetch them home to England. But that is not as easy as it sounds. In England, Lucy works for her bullying father at the Nayton railway station. She secretly loves Jack de Lacey, a RAF pilot and Elizabeth’s half brother, but she knows he is way above her socially and in every other way and would not look twice at her. But war changes everything. It takes Jack’s other half sister, Amy, a nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich hospital, an inquisitive evacuee living with the de Laceys, a German bomb and an explosion on the railway line to bring everything to a head in Lucy’s world. Escape by Moonlight is published by Allison and Busby in hardback ISBN 9780 7490 1303 5 and as an ebook. The paperback will be out in February next year. www.marynichols.co.uk