Going to the Flicks in 1941

Like most young people in the forties, my heroine, Sarah Gillespie, in Her Secret War, is obsessed with cinema and spends all of her hard-earned, but meagre wages, on film tickets and cinema magazines such as Picturegoer Weekly. The world she sees on the silver screen is very different to her life and feeds her dreams. For someone like Sarah, growing up in a working-class part of Dublin, the regular trip to the picture house was pure escapism. During WW2, a third of most Britons went to the cinema at least once a week and it is likely the statistics were similar here in Ireland. My father often spoke of his weekly trips as a child to ‘the flicks’ with his friends, and could tell you all about the various cinemas in Dublin and the types of films they showed. Sadly, most of those cinemas are long gone now.

And then of course, there was the Hollywood glamour filling the pages of the fan magazines, which transported readers far away from the realities of war. Much like the social media influencers of today, the movie stars’ lives influenced popular culture, fashion and music.

In Britain, the fictional trails and tribulations of favourite movie stars on the screen resonated with a public reeling from the Blitz. For a couple of hours, you could forget about the bombs dropping on your neighbourhood, the discomfort of nights spent in an Anderson Shelter or your next bombing run.

Going to the Flicks in 1941

New Release from Daisy Wood

Today, I am delighted to feature the new release from Daisy Wood, The Clockmaker’s Wife. What’s more, I can highly recommend this WW2 story as I read the book recently and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Clockmaker’s Wife

‘A ticking time-bomb of intrigue, wrapped around stark but rich descriptions of the Blitz. An unforgettable war-time debut.’ Mandy Robotham, author of The Berlin Girl

It’s the height of the Blitz in 1940, and too dangerous for Nell Spelman and her baby daughter, Alice, to stay in London. She must leave behind her husband, Arthur, one of the clockmakers responsible for keeping Big Ben tolling. The huge clock at the Palace of Westminster has become a symbol of hope in Britain’s darkest hour, and must be protected at all costs. When Arthur disappears in mysterious circumstances, Nell suspects evil forces are at work and returns to the war-torn city to save both the man and the country she loves.

Over eighty years later in New York, Alice’s daughter Ellie finds a beautiful watch with a cracked face among her mother’s possessions, and decides to find out more about the grandmother she never knew. Her search takes her to England, where her relatives are hiding shocking secrets of their own, and where she begins to wonder whether the past might be better left alone. Could her grandparents possibly have been traitors at the heart of the British establishment? Yet Ellie feels Nell at her shoulder, guiding her towards a truth which is more extraordinary than she could ever have imagined.

The Clockmaker’s Wife is available at all good book stores and online at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Clockmakers-Wife-Daisy-Wood/dp/0008402302


A Little Bit about Daisy …

Daisy Wood worked as an editor in children’s publishing for several years before starting to write stories of her own. She has had over twenty children’s books published under various names, including the ‘Swallowcliffe Hall’ series for teens, based around an English country house through the years and the servants who keep it running. She loves the process of historical research and is a keen member of the London Library, which houses a wonderful collection of old magazines and newspapers as well as books. The Clockmaker’s Wife is her first published novel for adults. She studied English Literature at Bristol University and recently completed a Creative Writing MA at City University in London, where she lives with her husband, a rescue dog from Greece and a fluffy grey cat.   

The Night the Luftwaffe Paid a Visit to Dublin

Eighty years ago, a German pilot dropped four bombs on neutral Dublin City

Ireland was still recovering from the War of Independence from Britain and the Irish Civil War, when WW2 broke out in Europe. The government at the time, led by Eamonn de Valera, declared Ireland was a neutral country. Ireland had neither the manpower nor the resources to become involved in the conflict. Relations with Britain were already strained and Ireland’s stance made Churchill furious.

Belfast Blitz

Ireland’s neutrality, however, was tilted slightly in favour of the Allies. Downed RAF pilots were quietly escorted to the border with Northern Ireland, while their German counterparts were interned at the Curragh Camp for the duration of the conflict. Perhaps more significantly, the Irish government sent fire crews to Belfast, during the Blitz in April 1941, to help put out the raging fires and dig out the bodies. Immediately after, many Northern Irish refugees made their way to Dublin where they were warmly welcomed.

I grew up a few kilometres from the suburb of North Strand on the north side of Dublin City. As a teenager, I was astonished to discover I lived so close to the spot where a Luftwaffe pilot dropped bombs in the early hours of 31st May 1941. The events of that Whit weekend, echoed the Blitz of Belfast only weeks before, and the bombing of cities such as Liverpool and London, and indeed, many other cities throughout Europe. A taste of the Blitz must have shaken Ireland to its core.


The Night the Luftwaffe Paid a Visit to Dublin

A Conversation with Derville Murphy

Today, I’m delighted to have fellow Irish historical fiction author, Derville Murphy, in the library. She has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Derville, please introduce yourself:

Hi everyone, delighted to talk to you all! I am a newbie author. But you know, I feel that it was inevitable I would end up writing novels. I started out as an architect – left the profession to study art history – fell in love with academia – and got hooked on writing. Now I am fortunate enough to be able to do what I really enjoy – I paint, and I write novels. I live in Dublin, I am married with two children and two adorable twin grandchildren.

Derville Murphy
A Conversation with Derville Murphy

A Conversation with Author Elizabeth St. John

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Elizabeth St. John , who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

Here’s a little bit about Elizabeth:

Elizabeth St.John spends her time between California, England, and the past. An acclaimed author, historian, and genealogist, she has tracked down family papers and residences from Lydiard Park and Nottingham Castle to Richmond Palace and the Tower of London to inspire her novels. Although the family sold a few country homes along the way (it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth’s family still occupy them in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their legacy. And the occasional ghost. But that’s a different story.

Having spent a significant part of her life with her seventeenth-century family while writing The Lydiard Chronicles trilogy and Counterpoint series, Elizabeth St.John is now discovering new family stories with her fifteenth-century namesake Elysabeth St.John Scrope, and her half-sister, Margaret Beaufort. A Conversation with Author Elizabeth St. John

A Conversation with Author Tim Walker

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Tim Walker, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into his life as an author.

You are very welcome, Tim, please tell us about yourself.

Thank you for inviting me, Pam. I’m an independent author living near Windsor in the UK. I grew up in Liverpool where I began my working life as a trainee reporter on a local newspaper. After attaining a degree in Communication Studies, I moved to London where I worked in the newspaper publishing industry for ten years before relocating to Zambia where, following a period of voluntary work with VSO in educational book publishing development, I set up my own marketing and publishing business, launching, managing and editing a construction industry magazine and a business newspaper. A Conversation with Author Tim Walker

A Conversation with Author Brook Allen

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Brook Allen, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Brook, please introduce yourself:

Brook Allen

Hi, Pam! Thanks for hosting me. I am a writer of historical fiction and particularly love ancient history. That said, I read historical fiction from all periods and sub-genres. My husband and I live in rural Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains and are parents to two extremely well-read and well-heeled Labrador Retrievers who answer to the names Jak & Ali. I recently completed the Antonius Trilogy, three books telling the life story of Roman statesman and general, Marc Antony. It was a fantastic experience, traveling and following his footsteps in Italy, Greece, Egypt, and Turkey. And my first book in the trilogy (Antonius: Son of Rome) won an international award recently; a silver medal in the Reader’s Favorite Book Reviewer Awards for 2020. A Conversation with Author Brook Allen

Stepping Back into Saxon England Blog Tour

FOLLOW THE TOUR HERE:

When I was approached to host a spot on this blog tour I could not resist. Both Annie and Helen are wonderful writers and two of the most supportive authors you could wish to meet. So, it is my absolute pleasure today to host this post on Murder in Saxon England by Annie Whitehead.

Stepping Back into Saxon England Blog Tour

A Conversation with Author Carolyn Hughes

Today, I am delighted to welcome into the Library fellow historical fiction author ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Carolyn Hughes.  She has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

 You are very welcome, Carolyn, please introduce yourself: 

Hello, I’m Carolyn and I write historical fiction. (Sounds like we’re in a meeting for Writers Anonymous…) I’ve been writing all my adult life, but have come to publication only relatively recently when I am, alas, quite old! A Conversation with Author Carolyn Hughes

Luminous: Blog Tour with Samantha Wilcoxson

Today I’m delighted to host Samantha Wilcoxson on her blog tour for her fabulous new release, Luminous: The Story of a Radium Girl. I recall many years ago seeing a documentary about the girls who worked with radium. It was rather shocking, so I am delighted to see Samantha pick up the mantle to tell their story. The book is now on my Kindle and I am really looking forward to getting reacquainted with the story.

You are very welcome, Samantha, please introduce yourself: Luminous: Blog Tour with Samantha Wilcoxson