Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Giveaway (UK&IRL only) The Abandoned Daughter by @Authormary #NewRelease #Saga #ww1Fiction @panmacmillan

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The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood
Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

Will Ella ever find what she’s looking for?

Voluntary nurse Ella is haunted by the soldiers’ cries she hears on the battlefields of Dieppe. But that’s not the only thing that haunts her. When her dear friend Jim breaks her trust, Ella is left bruised and heartbroken. Over the years, her friendships have been pulled apart at the seams by the effects of war. Now, more than ever, she feels so alone.

At a military hospital in France, Ella befriends Connie and Paddy. Slowly she begins to heal, and finds comfort in the arms of a French officer called Paulo – could he be her salvation?

With the end of the war on the horizon, surely things have to get better? Ella grew up not knowing her real family but a clue leads her in their direction. What did happen to Ella’s parents, and why is she so desperate to find out?

The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood is the second book in The Girls Who Went To War series.

Giveaway ~

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Blackpool Lass by Maggie Mason 5* @Authormary #Saga #Blackpool @LittleBrownUK @littlebookcafe Orphaned and alone, she’ll make her own way in the world. . .

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Blackpool Lass by Maggie Mason
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Orphaned and destitute, will Grace find her own way in the world?

When Grace’s Ma passes away and her Da’s ship sinks with all hands, Grace is utterly alone in the world. She’s sent to an orphanage in Blackpool, but the master has an eye for a pretty young lass. Grace won’t be his victim, so she runs, destitute, into the night.

In Blackpool, she finds a home with the kindly Sheila and Peggy – and meets a lovely airman. But it’s 1938, and war is on the horizon. Will Grace ever find the happiness and home she deserves?

My Review:

The novel opens in Blackpool 1932, we follow protagonist Grace as she tries to navigate a life of hardship and poverty. I will admit that this is possibly the darkest saga, I have EVER read! It really shines the light on the vulnerability of young women in the 1930s/1940s era. The blatant and systemic sexual abuse of young women and the choices they are forced to make.

Family life for Grace changes substantially throughout the years. Whilst various characters are never kind to Grace, she is shown some hope via her friendship with Sheila and Peggy.

Part one of the novel reveals the year 1932-1933. Grace is 13yrs old and already learning to avoid the unwanted advances of her father. Her mother is bedridden and unable to protect her daughter. When Grace’s pa’s ship is sunk off the coast of island; her mother simply loses the will to live. Which places Grace in the unfortunate circumstance of being an orphan.

Grace is taken in by her granny. However, although this offers Grace some structure and stability with schooling. Her granny is forgetful and has ‘episodes’ of forgetfulness. We as readers gather that Grace’s granny is within the stages of the onset of dementia. This being 1933, the level of understanding and support simply isn’t there for Grace or her granny and ultimately this leads Grace taking up residency at Halford House a children’s refugee founded by the Christian fellows of Manchester.

Only at Halford’s house, life is far from Christian. Grace strikes up an instant friendship with fellow orphan Jeanie. When Jeanie informs Grace of EXACTLY how the children’s home is run, she is understandable terrified. This children’s home is the stuff of most people’s WORST nightmares!
‘She couldn’t take in what these girls seemed to accept as normal’

With no hope of a future at the home and no voice to speak out against the conditions. Grace is left with only one option, that of escape. But escape will not come easy to Grace and in her attempt to flee, Jeanie refuses to leave. Which leave Grace carrying not only a dark secret but a feeling of extreme guilt for many years to come. . .

Grace eventually ends up with Sheila and her mother Peggy in Blackpool. The family know just how to hide Grace in case the authorities are searching for her.
‘Grace you’re in a circus family now. Such things as turning a girl into a boy are natural to us’ – Sheila

Part two of the novel covers the year 1938-1939, Grace is blossoming into a beautiful young woman that enjoys regular nights out at the Blackpool tower ballroom. But happiness never lasts long for Grace. I began to wonder how much hardship can one woman survive? It was far from over yet!

The saga is much darker than I assumed. That being said I feel it is possibly very accurate to the way in which children and women have suffered throughout history.
Maggie Mason/Mary wood can certainly spin a yarn and this novel as dark as it is, is my favourite of hers so far! 5*

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Maggie Mason – Mary wood
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My Review of, The Street Orphans by Mary Wood
My review of, Brighter Days Ahead by Mary Wood

Author Bio:

Maggie Mason is a pseudonym of author Mary Wood.

Mary writes historical sagas for Pan Macmillan covering the late nineteenth century to mid-twentieth including both wars. She has 9 books in print and another – THE FORGOTTEN DAUGHTER is released in December.

Under her pen name of Maggie Mason, Mary writes regional sagas set in Blackpool, again covering the time period as above. She has her first THE BLACKPOOL LASS published this week – 20th September.

Mary lives in Blackpool and enjoys researching the history of her home town, coming up with some surprising facts and excited to uncover material for future books.

Born the 13th child of 15 children, Mary experienced life at the raw end. Though she says of her childhood that though poor they were happy and were rich in love.

Mary writes full time now having ended her 9 – 5 working life in the Probation service. This experience gave the grittiness she brings to her writing as Mary says she feels compelled to tell it how it is.

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Street Orphans by @Authormary Mary Wood #Saga #NewRelease #HistoricalFiction @panmacmillan ‘A stark portrayal of the Victorian era in Lancashire 5*’

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The Street Orphans by Mary Wood
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Born with a club foot in a remote village in the Pennines, Ruth is feared and ridiculed by her superstitious neighbours who see her affliction as a sign of witchcraft. When her father is killed in an accident and her family evicted from their cottage, she hopes to leave her old life behind, to start afresh in the Blackburn cotton mills. But tragedy strikes once again, setting in motion a chain of events that will unravel her family’s lives.

Their fate is in the hands of the Earl of Harrogate, and his betrothed, Lady Katrina. But more sinister is the scheming Marcia, Lady Katrina’s jealous sister. Impossible dreams beset Ruth from the moment she meets the Earl. Dreams that lead her to hope that he will save her from the terrible fate that awaits those accused of witchcraft. Dreams that one day her destiny and the Earl’s will be entwined.

My Review:

I have previously read and loved Brighter Days Ahead by Mary wood. Which I thoroughly enjoyed as a ww2 fiction saga. This novel however, takes on a whole other angle. The Street Orphans is a much darker novel, which fully explores the themes of poverty in Victorian society. The plight of the children, whilst remaining factual accurate, is unbearable at times. It is just so painful and as a parent myself, I dreaded the thought of having to endure such harsh times.

The novel opens in 1850 when the lives of one young family are ripped apart. Ruth Dovecote is the oldest of five siblings, she finds herself the mother figure. After the death of their father in a recent accident, the family are served an eviction notice 24hrs after the funeral. They are cold, penniless and hungry. Their mother decides to make the trek to Lythe Fell in Blackburn, to her cousin’s residence.
Only the journey doesn’t go as planned.

On the journey the carriage of the Earl of Harrogate hits Ruth’s mother causing an instant death. Despite witnessing the death of their beloved mother, the children rally to save the passengers. The Earl is far from grateful and mocks Ruth’s club foot, with nothing but utter contempt for her. . .

‘And us within spitting distance of Pendle Hill, where they hanged a whole bunch of your kind a couple of centuries ago’ – Earl of Harrogate

The legend that surrounds Pendle Hill and specifically the witches of Pendle Hill, is well known. At least it is to me. I grew up in Lancashire and Pendle Hill could be clearly seen from the front doorstep of my grandmother’s house on Summer Street in Nelson. I can remember my granny Winnie filling my head with tales of her past in Lancashire. My Gran worked in the mills and my grandad worked down the pits. They had both known harsh childhoods, full of poverty and yet gave nothing but love their entire lives. My Grandfather himself was an Orphan at 17yrs of age. His father committed suicide after ww1, my grandad found his body at just 10yrs old. So, I suppose the themes of orphans/poverty hit me quite hard emotionally. I remember my gran telling me that at 17yrs old my grandad couldn’t afford shoes for his feet and that he had also endured sleeping rough. This is a man that would give you the shirt of his back, his last fiver or giant hug whenever you needed it. Lancashire might have a history of poverty and endurance under difficult times. But it also has an incredible history of love, friendship and warmth amongst its people.

Anyhow, back to the story before I am crying!
Ruth saves the Earl despite his vile attitude towards her. when he then makes violent threats towards her younger sister Elsie 4yrs old.
Ruth sees red and this leaves the Earl dead!
What will become of the children now?

Across Lancashire we are introduced to Katrina, daughter to a wealthy mill owner. She is betrothed to Lord Bertram Rollinson, the Earl of Harrogate. At just 21yrs old, she finds this a rather daunting prospect.
She is unable to marry for love and this she finds disheartening. . .

‘Lord Rollinson is trading a title for me, and daddy’s acceptance into society circles, just to get his hands on our money. How could you wish this to happen to me?’ – Katrina

However, Katrina is in for a surprise because Bertram is no longer among the living. Which will lead to his brother Frederick to take his place as Earl. Which brings a whole new dimension to Katerina’s marital woes.

‘Marriage in your society is no more than a business contract’ – Arkwright

The new Earl of Harrogate, Frederick is deeply concerned for the welfare of the children involved in the crash. He knows their actions allowed his mother Lady Eleonore to survive it. He hunts them down in a desperate attempt to help them. But these are street smart kids, who’s only experience of ‘toffs’ is one of exploitation and abuse. Ruth avoids the earl at every turn, which leads her to Ma Perkins and a whole new nightmare!

The novel covers a wide-range of themes as we follow not only the working-class characters but the society elite. Whilst the poor may fall prey to violence, rape and extreme poverty. The wealthy experience their own set of struggles. They live in s society built on reputations, where their status can be crushed in the blink of an eye. The women also experience being married off, as though they are pawns in a game of chess, being moved off to advance the males in the family. The author has done an outstanding job of covering the various people within the society and maintaining historical accuracy.
A stark portrayal of the Victorian era in Lancashire 5*

Mary Wood
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My ReviewBrighter Days Ahead

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The Street Orphans - Blog tour 2018

 

#Review #NewRelease Brighter Days Ahead by @Authormary 5* Mary Wood @panmacmillan #Saga #ww2Fiction

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*

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Brighter Days Ahead by Mary Wood
Synopsis:

War pulled them apart, but can it bring them back together?

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?

My review:

Brighter Days Ahead, is a saga by genre, but it tackles some thoroughly complex and very modern themes. Mary Wood has shown that she is not afraid to tackle the reality of the era. The attitudes and social behaviours are thoroughly explored. From the harsh domestic violence scenes, to the pre-LGBTQ generation, this novel has layers of depth.

The novel focuses around two young women, struggling to make their way in a male dominated society. However, the outbreak of world war 2, saw more women than ever before, enter the work place. For the first time in a very long time, women were staring to see equality on the horizon.
This novel tells the personal story of two of those women and their journey towards that horizon……

Molly is from the unforgiving east end of London. She has a brute and drunkard for a father, who with his roaming hands, makes life unbearable. The novel details her backstory, the man she holds a torch for, her best friend and her god-awful father’s decline into criminality.
It is when she is kidnapped by local black market racketeers, that she learns just how cruel, violent and barbaric, life can truly be!

“Please, god, don’t let what happened to Phyllis’s mate happen to me….. please!” – Molly

In Leeds we meet orphan Flo (Florence), who has not had the easiest starts to life. Flo is determined to make something of her life. She is intelligent, caring and hard working. When her night school tutor Mr Dinkworth (Roland), offers her a glimmer of hope with a potential job at Bletchley Park.
Roland is a fascinating character all my himself! Roland has a secret love, a love so powerful, the generation simply wasn’t ready for its acceptance.
Roland has a lover at Bletchley and his name is Simon……..

The novel revolves around the main two protagonists Molly and Flo. But the background characters are simply too strong to be held in the backstory and the novel, then details all of their journeys throughout the war. This unusual mix of friends and their individual stories, makes for extremely interesting reading.
Molly has a crush on her employer’s son David. But with David being of the Jewish faith, there is little hope for romance. Hettie, Molly’s closest friend and confidant, pushes the two together which leads to a surprising twist.
Roland and Simon must live a life of the upper most secrecy. Which means involving Flo and Simon’s half-sister Lucinda into their secret. With Lucinda as a cover story, the two men manage to arrange secret liaisons. That is until Kitty Hamlin decides to out them! When you think of the social and criminal repercussions for gay men in the 1940s, you wince with every comment that leaves Kitty’s mouth.
It is an outing that will lead to violence and heartbreak.

The novel details the hardships faced by women and gay men in an honest, realistic portrayal. All the characters will come to face great hardships, emotional pain and suffering. But it is their resilience and triumph over adversity that drives the narrative. The power of strong bonds of friendship and hope for a brighter future after the war.
This saga really is a blend of contemporary themes such as gay rights, but set within the ww2 era. It shows the power of two women, whom refuse to give up or ‘know their place’. It really is an incredibly read and definitely one to curl up with on the sofa over the Christmas period.

Perfect for fans of sagas, historical fiction and the world war two era.
Not to be missed! 5*

MW
Mary Wood
Authors links:
Twitter: @Authormary
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4336970.Mary_Wood
Website: https://www.authormarywood.com/

Author bio:
Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, My childhood was a mixture of love and poverty. This encouraged me to develop a natural empathy with the less fortunate and a fascination with social history.

I was educated at St Peter’s RC School, where, at the time, the emphasis was on instilling the 3 R’s plus 1 – Reading, Writing, Arithmatic and Religion. When I left school, I was ill-equipt for a future career, as most girls of my background were. Life had to become a learning curve.

Mine took the path of factory work, then office work as I learnt to type and write words in little squiggles. After marriage, cleaning, catering and pub jobs fitted in best with family life, as did party planning – Tupperware and Pippa Dee. There was later a stint in the caring industry, and then pub and hotel management. Until finally, I went back to my office skills and through an agency, worked in the office of the Probation Service. When a post for admin became vacant I was offered it, and from there rose to be a Community Service Officer and finally a Probation Service Officer. This took me to retirement, from 9-5. However, there ws no stopping me. Through most of this time I had been writing and trying to get publsihed, now I could spend much more time pursuing that dream.

I met my husband, Roy when I was just fourteen and he was nineteen. In 1963 we married and have four children, eight grandchildren, and five step grandchildren. Great granchildren, and step great grandchildren, is an ever changing number as we welcome more each year. Each one is a blessing and enhances our lives.

An avid reader, I first put pen to paper in 1989 whilst nursing my mother through her last months, but only became successful in receiving rejection letters, until the dawning of kindle and the innovation it offered to authors to self-publish their work.

At last, I could call myself an author! And a very successful one at that, as my books soared to the top of their genre.

This changed my life. I was living as an ordinary pensioner, eeking out our pensions, and the little I could earn by freelancing as a Creative Writing Editor, and wasn’t even able to afford to run a car – I loved my bus-pass…. Then another author encouraged me to put my work on kindle, and suddenly, I was doing what I loved – telling stories, and earning money for doing so! My life changed as now I could fulfil another dream – to live in Spain for half of the year.

I love to travel. I go to many places in the world on holiday and more importantly, to carry out my research. All of this was now open to me. But more was to come:

In 2013, I was spotted by Pan Macmillan Publishers and offered a seven book deal!!!

This entailed, two new books and all of my five backlist. To date, two backlist have been published in paperback and two new novels.

I have since been given a further two book deal.

Two of my books a year are being published. Below are the ones that are in the shops now – WH Smiths and some supermarkets as well as all good book stores.

My most successful kindle book, An Unbreakable Bond, is coming out May 19th 2016. This book is a sequel to To Catch A Dream. And then, In November/December 2016, In Their Mother’s Footsteps, will be published. This book is a sequel to All I Have To Give.

I began my career writing northern sagas along the lines of Catherine Cookson, whom I loved and admired. Now I have branched out and write thrilling novels with a wartime setting. I usually set these novels in London, the north, and with a fair bit of the action happening in France, and Poland.

I would say that I am a gritty writer, who takes her readers to live the situations my characters find themselves in. Parts of my books are not for the feint-hearted. I bring my stories alive, and take my reader into the depth of them. I would feel as though I am letting my characters and my readers down if I didn’t do this, so be prepared to feel many emotions as you read my novels. Be prepared too, to tackle issues head on, to fight in world war one and world war two as if you are that nurse, that munition worker, that special agent. And in my northern sagas, be ready to experience what it was like to be a woman, in an era when it is was thought that there was no such thing as rape, and domestic violence was a man’s right to keep his missus in check. But you will also see the downtrodden triumph, and the just win through. I hope you enjoy my books. I hope too, that you will become a friend. Much love, Mary x

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Available now in kindle and paperback!