Woodbine, #FREE today!

Since completing The Katherine Wheel Series with the publication of the sixth and final book, Ivy, I am very pleased with the feedback I\’ve received. Thank you each and everyone who has taken the time and trouble to leave such positive reviews. It means so much when a book like the ones that comprise The Katherine Wheel Series, but especially the latest two, Woodbine and Ivy, involve such vast quantities of research to make the stories authentic. 

\”Well held!\”

My method of writing is to \’live\’ within the narrative; to \’be\’ the characters and to vicariously \’experience\’ the challenges I put them through. While this is truly great fun, like being inside a film, it\’s pretty tiring too! I don\’t mind, I love it, don\’t get me wrong, but it takes some effort. All this makes me appreciate reviews even more and readers might not realise that reviews open doors to competitions, awards and marketing opportunities that would otherwise remain shut so, please, keep them coming!
Today and tomorrow, Woodbine is going out into the world with NO price tag! If you\’ve read it and enjoyed it, please spread the word about this one-off opportunity. 


***** \”Another brilliant instalment of this wonderful series, but what a place to leave it! Looking forward to the next book already!\”
Hopefully, other readers will also go on to read the conclusion in Ivy.

\'The Katherine Wheel Series\' is completed with the publication of \'Ivy\'

I\’m really excited (and a bit exhausted!)  to announce that \’The Katherine Wheel Series\’ is now completed by the publication of its sixth and final book, \’Ivy\’.

This series about Katy and Jem Phipps and Cassandra and Douglas Flintock-Smythe has taken me years to write. When I began with Daffodils, way back in about the year 2000, I never expected (or dreamed) that it would generate a six-book saga! But these characters wormed their way into my heart and mind and would not leave me alone and they took me through the interesting aftermath of the \’Great War\’ in Peace Lily and Speedwell. In Willow, Woodbine and Ivy their children took centre stage as they evolved into adults and combatants in the Second World War. Like their parents, their generation became swept up in a global conflict that transcended normal life and put theirs into sharp focus. 
Woodbine and Ivy were originally intended to be one book but, like Topsy, the story grew and grew and had to be split over two volumes. Many readers have written to me after finishing Woodbine, which ends on a cliffhanger, desperate to find out what happens next. Well, I\’m proud to say, you can now!
Ivy completes the series. It\’s a big book, over 500 pages long, and spans the whole of the European theatre of war. The research entailed was an enormous task and, at times, overwhelmed me. However it was also fascinating and, as with World War One, the heroism of its victims was humbling and inspiring. War brings out the worst and the best in people and I hope that none of us is ever tested in that way again. I think that\’s why I find history so interesting. There are many lessons to be learned from the mistakes and adventures of our forebears. One of the main realisations for me was how the Second World War was an inevitable conclusion of the First one. And so it was with Woodbine. I just couldn\’t squeeze in all the drama that unfolds in Ivy into one volume. 
It is my sincere hope that readers will enjoy the surprising conclusion to The Katherine Wheel Series in its final book, Ivy.

5* review of Woodbine by #AnneWilliams, Book Reviewer extraordinaire!

Thrilled with this magnificent review – and comprehensive article on the whole of The Katherine Wheel Series – by the wonderful #AnneWilliams, book reviewer extraordinaire.

In this post, Anne discusses Woodbine, the fifth book in the saga, on the very day I\’m launching the final one, Ivy! More on that later…
In the meantime, I\’m enormously proud to share Anne\’s review of Woodbine here:

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 July 2020

Verified Purchase
I was initially a little worried by launching myself into a series with the fifth book: but while I’d obviously missed out on the earlier story and some of the background to the characters (particularly the older ones) and their relationships, I had no difficulty picking up enough of the context and moving on into the story of the next generation. And what a story – it totally swept me away, enthralling in every way with the most wonderful story-telling and the very finest of writing. This is a pretty substantial book at over 400 pages, but other than comfort breaks (when I took my kindle with me!) I didn’t surface for air until I’d read the very last page.

There were a number of elements that made this book one I really loved. I’m often a bit of a pushover for a WW2 setting, but the research that went into this book – the British home front (particularly, but not exclusively, for those used to living more comfortable lives), and the realities for the French population – must have been incredibly extensive, and it’s all wonderfully woven to bring the era so vividly to life. The sense of place throughout is exceptional – Cheadle Manor and its surroundings, the Welsh farming community where Isobel spends time as a land girl, war-torn Paris and the rural community where Lottie finds refuge. The book’s canvas is enormous – but sometimes it’s extraordinarily intimate through your degree of involvement with the fortunes of the three main characters, every one of whom you grow to really care about. And the pacing of the story is perfectly handled – quiet moments alternating with gripping sections when you really can’t read and turn the pages fast enough.

I will mention though that while the book does have an ending, the story doesn’t conclude in this book – we’re still in the midst of wartime, and there’s another book to come, drawing their individual stories and the whole series to a conclusion. I really didn’t mind that – it just made me want to read the next book even more, as I’d become totally invested in these wonderful characters. I’m not a regular reader of “sagas”, and don’t read historical fiction that often either – but from my reading of this single book I could tell that this series was something very special indeed.

(While I might have been just a tad frustrated that I couldn’t read the story through to its conclusion, no-one else will have the same problem – I see that Ivy was published on 1st July and is now available for kindle and in paperback. I’m just trying to carve out some more reading time, because I’m desperate to read on…)