Anne Bonny #Spotlight Mary Wood & #GuestPost Maggie Mason @Authormary #TheWrongedDaughter & #SandgroniansTrilogy #Blackpool

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The Wronged Daughter by Mary Wood
Review To Follow
Synopsis ~

Perfect for winter nights, The Wronged Daughter by Mary Wood is an emotional and moving novel that reunites old friends and heals old wounds.

Mags has never forgotten the friendship she forged with Flora and Ella, two fellow nurses she served with at the beginning of World War I. Haunted by what she experienced during that time, she fears a reunion with her friends would bring back the horror she’s tried so desperately to suppress.

Now, with her wedding on the horizon, this should be a joyful time for Mags. But the sudden loss of her mother and the constant doubt she harbours surrounding her fiancé, Harold, are marring her happiness.

Mags throws herself into running the family mill, but she’s dealt another aching blow by a betrayal that leaves her reeling. Finding the strength the war had taken from her, she fights back, not realizing the consequences and devastating outcome awaiting her.

Can she pick up the pieces of her life and begin anew?

Extract ~

Chapter One

Mags held on to the back of the chair and stared across at the doctor. What he was saying didn’t seem possible. Not my dear mother? No. Mother has always been strong. ‘I’m sorry, but there’s only tender loving care that can be given, to ease her passing. I can arrange for a nurse to come and stay. She will administer oxygen, when needed, and the medication that I shall prescribe. But I’m afraid Belinda’s weak heart is rapidly failing her.’

Weak heart? When did Mother ever have a weak heart? As Mags watched her father shake the doctor’s hand, the thought rushed through her that he had changed, too. His back was no longer ramrod-straight, and his hair, which had been greying at the temples, was now almost white. Why hadn’t she ever noticed how heavily he leaned on his stick? Suddenly the part of her world that had always felt safe was crumbling. Life here in her beloved Blackburn was lived at a slow pace, even if for the most part she was kept busy running the mill. Always she was surrounded by familiar things, and by people she’d grown up with. Now a big part of that – her family life – was being threatened.

‘Margaret, the doctor is leaving. Where are your manners?’ ‘No, Herbert, don’t admonish her. Margaret has had a shock. You should have told her about her mother’s condition. I counselled both you and Belinda, many times over the years, to do so. I’m sorry, Margaret. I should have insisted that you were told and were therefore prepared for the fact that what is happening now has always been inevitable. Your mother has had a heart condition for a long time. It has been like an unexploded bomb. Anything could have triggered it to fail – and at any time. I’m sorry, truly sorry, but she only has days left to live.’

Mags shook her head. This wasn’t happening. How could she have missed the signs? Yes, Mother was frequently breathless, and her skin and lips often had a blue tinge, but she had said it was an asthmatic condition and was under control. ‘Sit down, Margaret. Let yourself absorb this terrible news. Are you feeling unwell yourself? You seem to have lost a lot of weight, when you could ill afford to lose any.’ Backing into the chair behind her, Mags tried to control the shaking of her limbs. ‘You’ve never spoken of the horrors you must have witnessed in Belgium. I thought you had recovered from them, but something has knocked you back. At the winter ball, with your nice young man by your side – Harold, that’s his name, isn’t it?’ Mags nodded. ‘You seemed your old self. But since returning from your stay at his home, I have seen a change in you each time I have visited your mother.’

Something had indeed knocked Mags back. Something that gave her nightmares. Memories flooded her mind: the war, meeting and forming a strong friendship with the lovely Flora and Ella as they set out, three young girls full of courage and yet needing each other’s support. Then learning how Flora was rejected by her family, and Ella abandoned by hers. And seeing Flora’s happiness as her brother Harold had begun to show her a little affection, and how this had led to Mags meeting Harold herself, and being swept off her feet by him. But then . . . the awful events that led to the image that haunted Mags – seeing Harold and Flora’s mother sprawled on the floor, her head smashed on the fender . . .

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Blackpool’s Angel by Maggie Mason
Review To Follow
Synopsis ~

Blackpool, 1893

Tilly has come a long way from the run-down tenements in which she grew up. She has a small but comfortable home, a loving, handsome husband, two beautiful little’uns – Babs and Beth – and she earns herself a little money weaving wicker baskets. Life is good.

Until the day Tilly returns home to find a policeman standing on her doorstep. Her Arthur won’t be coming home tonight – nor any night – having fallen to his death whilst working on Blackpool tower. Suddenly Tilly is her daughters’ sole protector, and she’s never felt more alone.

With the threat of destitution nipping at their heels, Tilly struggles to make ends meet and keep a roof over her girls’ heads. In a town run by men Tilly has to ask herself what she’s willing to do to keep her family together and safe – and will it be enough?

My Blackpool ~ A Guest Post by Mary Wood/Maggie Mason ~

My Blackpool

I don’t think that many people won’t know that Blackpool is situated in the North West of Great Britain and nestles on the coastline of The Irish Sea. Or not know that it is billed as a fun loving resort to visit with Kiss-Me-Quick hats, Blackpool Rock, The famous Blackpool Tower, and the beautiful Blackpool Illuminations – switched on by a celebrity on 1st September and shining brightly until 5th November every year.

But, there is more to Blackpool. There is a rich history of starting out as a health resort in the mid to late 1800’s, visited by the rich who sought to ‘take the waters’ and then gradually becoming the must-go-to holiday resort for the masses in the days of each county having their own allocated holiday fortnight. So droves would be in the town from places ranging from Manchester to Scotland – each having their own particular week.

And what if I tell you the little known fact that Blackpool was run by gangsters who rivalled the Kray twins during the 30’s to 50’s and beyond. One gang even seeing off the Krays when they sought to take over. Yes, it is true, from black marketeers, to ruling by force, extortion and running drugs, Blackpool has seen it all and can rival Peaky Blinders any day.

The war years for Blackpool were good years. While the country was on its knees, Blackpool thrived. Hundreds of service men and women trained on its shores and it boasted two airfields, one at Squires Gate and one on the site that is now Blackpool Zoo. Besides housing Hawker Sidley Aviation Factory making Lancaster Bombers. This alone, without all the presence of the troops should have made it a target for Hitlers bombers, but no. Blackpool experienced only two bombs dropping on its town – one directed at North Station, causing the deaths of twelve people and one which was thought to be in error, or an off-load before returning to Germany. The second didn’t cause any fatalities. And so, with all the service men and with people still flocking there to get a respite from all they were going through at home, there was quite a boom time for hotel and guesthouses, pubs, theatres and amusements. Why such a good war? Well, the story goes that Hitler had Blackpool in mind to be the playground for his officers, and didn’t want it spoiling. . . Imagine? What would Blackpool have looked like today if Germany – with a Nazi regime ruling, had won? (If the moderate government they have now, well, maybe things would be better? who knows?)

And so, you can see the wealth of material I have to set my stories amongst – besides the glitz and glamour and the tack, there is a golden heart that beats among the Blackpool people – known as Sandgronians (have to have been born here to earn the tittle and can be spelt in three different ways – Sandgownians and Sundgrown-uns, most prefer the latter, but I chose to use the given version for the tittle of my trilogy) Or Blackpudlians (for this title you just need to reside here for a number of years)

When I first moved here in the early eighties, I found the people friendly and outgoing, always ready to help – a real community spirit. Now of course, though this still prevails in the older estates of the town, like all large towns, we have a rich diversity of people and a transient population. Some come to settle, some see the pavements paved with gold, and then are disillusioned and find it a lonely place for them as when the initial fun subsides and reality sets in, it is just like any other town – welcoming, yes, glitzy, yes, but to make your life here and succeed in its main industry – the leisure industry, you have to work hard and long, long hours. There is no gold to sweep up off the pavements.

But for all that, don’t give Blackpool a miss. Put a visit here on your bucket list – it is cheap, cheerful and fun – all three in abundance, with something for everyone. Make it a let-your-hair down visit. Find the kid inside you. Ride the rides at the Pleasure Beach. Walk the Golden Mile, and shoot targets for a prize, knock coconuts off for a cuddly toy, buy the silly hat, and the costume that makes you look as though you have a bare bottom, play bingo, feed the slot machines, eat the candy – oh, and the delicious fish and chips. Visit the shows, the bars, the nightclubs, and spend a half day in our amazing Blackpool Tower, and if you can come during the illuminations, you will truly delight in The Greatest Show on Earth. Above all, be happy – Blackpool is about happiness.

For my Blackpool books I have drawn from the rock-making industry – BLACKPOOL LASS and from the fact that we had many evacuees here during the war – BLACKPOOL’S DAUGHTER. And now, in my new trilogy, THE SANDGRONIAN TRILOGY – the first book being BLACKPOOL’S ANGEL, from the building of the tower, and the gypsy population who started the pleasure beach, and those from its people, who went to war, as we had many heroes, And yes, from the heart-beat of the people who made Blackpool in its beginnings. Hard-working people, who lived hard lives.

My next trilogy will be based in our tradition of a hundred years of biscuit manufacturing. It will have the overall title of THE BISCUIT FACTORY GIRLS and each book will follow the lives of three friends who you will meet. This is planned for late 2020 – early and late 2021.

Maggie, is as busy as ever, and I hope you enjoy her Blackpool Books.

What’s next for Mary Wood/Maggie Mason ~

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Blackpool Sisters By Maggie Mason
Review To Follow
Synopsis ~

1902

Babs and Beth are identical in looks, but very different by nature. Kidnapped by gypsies a decade ago as young girls, Beth has accepted their plight, but Babs has always yearned for their real mother, Tilly, and their beloved hometown of Blackpool.

Convinced the best thing for them is to be reunited with Tilly, Babs tries to persuade Beth to escape. But Beth is too afraid, and Babs knows if she wants to find their mother, she’ll have to do it alone.

1914

Babs’ life has been blighted by misfortune since the night she walked away from her sister, but at last she found peace and purpose as a nurse. She’s never given up hope of finding her family, but now the war is sending her to France, away from them. Or so she believes.

As the Great War rips families apart, is it possible that Babs and Beth will be reunited with each other, and their mother, at last?
*coming 5th December 2019 in Hardback and Ebook*

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Mary Wood/Maggie Mason
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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 ~

To be in with a chance of winning, simply RT the pinned post HERE

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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.

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
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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!