The Twisted Vine has just been accepted for a promotion with Book Viral – links to follow when promotion starts.
Young people from small, poor bucolic British families all dreamed of new possibilities and better lives if they signed up for the war. Most of them, in counties such as Wiltshire, had never been in London, many had never seen the sea. They eked out a living working for the gentry on their big estates with poverty standing like invisible perennial guards at their doors. There was hardly any escape possible until the war came.
Katy Beagle worked in the manor house as a personal maid when the son of the manor needed a little bit of fun before he departed for London to join the war effort.
Young and inexperienced as she was, and bored to death with the prospect of being rooted to her situation for the rest of her life, Katy jumped at the opportunity to have some fun. It resulted in a huff and a lot of puff with a cloud of scandal threatening her good name and honor. Good, rock-solid Jem, the gardener, proposed again, and this time she had no other choice but accept. And so begins the story of a young couple within the village dynamics of Wiltshire with the assortment of lovable, despicable, and delightful characters who share their lives for ages. But after the young vicar announced them husband and wife, the village openly released a sigh of relief. The scandal was short-lived and the couple could live happily ever after.
But that was not to be. Katy and Jem\’s paths through the deeply moving narrative exposes the highs and lows of two young people\’s inner turmoil with life and love, their first encounters in the adult world with heartbreak and hardship. The tale winds through a volatile time in world history and how it personally effected two young people but also their community.
The horror of the First World War is portrayed with accuracy and emotion. The deprivations and devastation of the war is creatively and convincingly conveyed. All the elements to make this a great book is present: loyalty, weakness, betrayal, guilt, lies, sex, secrets, violence, an attempted suicide, heroism and finally love coupled with justice. All the people are real. So much so that the reader becomes emotionally attached to them and become emotionally invested in the turns and twists of the plot. Throughout the harsh reality of the war, there is still an almost ironic wholesomeness present in the young people\’s optimism and hope for a better future. Despite all the obstacles, the daffodils never seized to bloom among the privation and suffering of the war.
Daffodils is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope which teaches us the power of resilience, integrity and true honor.
This book was a deeply emotional experience that managed to reach the inner core of my being. This is such a powerful story!
Phew! Just finished watching the excellent series by Jeremy Paxman on WW1. I\’m sure there was a huge team of researchers working on this programme and I watched with some trepidation to see whether the research for Daffodils would pass this stringent test.
I only have to do a tiny edit to one letter after watching the programmes, which is an immense relief. I was also heartened with Mr Paxman\’s summary, at the end of the final programme, when he stated that the social order was completely overturned by the country galvanising itself for the war effort. Women were never again dismissed as useless females and their world broadened out in ways they could never have imagined over the course of those four dramatic years. The poor ended up better fed than they had ever been because of rationing, and because there were more paid jobs in services, ammunition and other supply work.
There is a nostalgia for the Edwardian era that preceded the war but, having researched it thoroughly myself, I can see that this was misplaced for, despite the hugely tragic loss of men, and women, this war had ultimately a genuinely democratic effect on Britain and we still benefit from this today.
The old order was gone for good.
The promotion for this suspenseful tale of Roxanne\’s escape to France has started. Join her as she goes grapepicking to avoid her cheating boyfriend only to succumb to the charms of a handsome Frenchman. Then the real adventure begins. Roxanne finds true love, real friends, sore knees, fabulous food and wine and her amazing courage as she solves the twisted plot.
Free promotion for The Twisted Vine is schedule for
THREE WHOLE DAYS
From 12th February through to Valentine\’s Day, the 14th February 2014
The Twisted Vine is set in deepest France and is a deeply romantic but suspenseful tale. Roxanne Rudge escapes her cheating boyfriend by going grape-picking. She feels vulnerable and alone in such a big country where she can\’t speak the language and is befriended by Armand le Clair, a handsome Frenchman. Armand is not all he seems, however, and she discovers a darker side to him before uncovering a dreadful secret. She is aided and abetted by three new friends she has made, charming posh Peter, a gifted linguist, the beautiful and vivacious Italian, Yvane, and clever Henry of the deep brown eyes and the voice to match. Together they unravel a mystery centred around a beautiful chateau and play a crucial part in its future.
Few people, certainly including me, know how much women contributed to the war effort in WW1. Only when I started researching for #Daffodils, did I discover the massive efforts they made to help protect and serve the men on the front. It was exhausting, fascinating and humbling to discover the roles women took on that were previously considered to be exclusively male.
I found it cruelly ironic that it was women who made the bombs that killed men but also it was women who cleaned up the mess afterwards, driving ambulances, mending them and keeping the whole war machine running.
These gender-swapping unsung heroes have been unsung too long. Writing Daffodils is my way of honouring them and saying thank you. And of course, there was love – there is always love.