Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Lizzie's' Dream

Lizzie's' Dream is a romantic novel set against the backdrops of the horrors of the Great War.

Lizzie is 15 and she knows what she wants to be. She wants to be a governess.

However, the fact that she, along with the rest of her working class family, work in the local mill, this dream job looks to be more of a piper dream than something she can attain.

However, She meets a young solider called Harry who is stationed locally, but as their romance seems to be blossoming, Harry is sent away as part of the war.

Whilst she is trying to forget about Harry, she becomes a companion to Molly, who is the daughter of the family that owns the mill, for Molly is a sickly girl and is too ill to attend school.

As well as being her companion, the two girls swiftly develop a genuine friendship and Lizzie is able to teach Molly everything she knows.

Could this mean that Lizzie's dream might have a chance of becoming a reality?

But then she receives a letter form Harry, who has been injured and is now recuperating in a military hospital.

What happens next?

This is a charming and somewhat bitter-sweet romantic novel and it is the debut novel of poet Beverley J. Tucker.

It is published by Matador at £7.99.

They Were There on the Western Front 1914-1918

They Were There on the Western Front 1914-1918 is a remarkable book from Alan Weeks.

He has painstakingly researched an absolutely amazing collection of first-hand accounts from 100 people who were there on the Western Front.

The 100 are made up of a wide variety of different nationalities, British, Americans, Australians and French, from all walks of life, officers, conscripts, regular soldiers, engineers, medical staff and more besides.

It is profusely illustrated with photographs, drawings and maps which help to support the diary writings of these 100 people, including Alan's own father.

It explores topics such as why would someone want to keep a diary in the hell that was the Western Front?

There's also extracts from the diaries of Harry Patch, who died at 111, the last veteran of trenches of World War 1.

Not only are there diaries, but also extracts of letters that were sent back home.

This is a very moving and thought-provoking work and it is one that the serious student of the First World War will want on his or her bookshelf.

It is published by The Book Guild at £11.99.

Friday, 14 September 2018


Yoi is an important book, for it is the first published biography about Edith Cornelia Crosse, who was a most remarkable woman.

Widely known as Yoi, Edith was born in Hungary to a British father and a Hungarian/Polish mother.

Eventually Yoi moved to England where she lived with her grandmother.

She settled down to life as a married woman and a mother. But her life was to be changed dramatically when a major scandal blew up and changed her life for ever, when she ran away with a young lover.

Yoi had a love of travel and she roamed far and wide, visiting Tehran and Italy, where she lived with her second husband, a sculptor of some repute called Antonio Maraini.

Yoi began to find success as a writer, publishing several books of her travels, books which met with some success.

She also published a variety of articles in newspapers and magazines in Britain, including an interview with Mussolini.

Yoi was an interesting woman, cultured and refined yet not averse to stirring things up a little, if she felt so inclined.

The book is well researched and profusely illustrated and does bring to life Yoi.

The book is published by Matador at £17.99.

Field of Dust

Field of Dust is a novel by Angela Jean Young, but it is based on a true story.

On September 3rd 1878 the paddle steamer SS Princess Alice hundreds of passengers are enjoying a moonlit cruise on the Thames Estuary.

Unfortunately the SS Princess Alice was in a collision with a collier the Bywell Castle. Within minutes the SS Princess Alice was destroyed, cut in two, sending it to the bottom of the Thames.

650 Londoners lost their lives in the accident and for days afterwards bloated corpses were being dragged from the water.

This recovery operation is taking place watched by children from a community known as The Creek. The tragic events are locked into their memories for the rest of their lives.

One of the children, Florence Grant, also has troubles in her own life, her own family has been destroyed by the secret lives enjoyed by their parents and she and her sister were harshly abandoned by their alcoholic mover.

However, Florence is an extraordinary young working class lady, she will not allow her past to control her future.

But it was the speech of a young and impassioned young union official that caused a major development and brought change into Florence's life.

This book scores with the reader on two counts: The quality of the writing and the quality of the research, both of which are absolutely meticulous.

It is fictionalised history rather than pure fiction and all the better for it.

It is published by The Book Guild at £8.99.