Prequel to the Howarth Family series, this is the new book by Judith Barrow
Judith joins us today to tell us a little more about her series and why she is releasing this sequel.
I didn’t really set out to write a trilogy. Pattern of Shadows was written because I found out that the first German POW in the UK was a disused cotton mill and, as I’ve said many times, it reminded me of when my mother was a winder in a cotton mill when I was a child. I wanted to write about the different atmosphere there would be between the time when I watched the women on the winding frames, the colours of the threads and material, the noise, the smells. And then how different it would be for those poor prisoners, away from home, defeated yet angry. It turned into a love story, a life story; a family saga. I had three different denouements and, in the end chose the one which meant I could write more about the protagonist, Mary Howarth and the family I’d began to feel part of. Hence, Changing Patterns. There have been a few things in my life that have been changed by circumstances in my parents’ lives and when I’d finished the sequel I began to wonder about the next generation and whether the actions of their parents would affect them. Living in the Shadows was the result of that wondering. Set in nineteen sixty-nine I didn’t have to do as much research for that book!
And so to A Hundred Tiny Threads. I felt quite bereft when I finished the last book of the trilogy; after all I’d lived with this family for nearly ten years. And then two of the characters kept niggling at me: “Write our story,” they kept saying. I mulled it over for … oh hours… and I realised that, when we get older, a lot of what we are, is what we have lived through; what has happened to us in our lifetime so far. In Pattern of Shadows Bill is really not a nice chap; he’s a bully and a drunk, and Winifred is quite downtrodden. I wanted to show another side to them both; to reveal the troubled times they had lived though: the social inequalities, First World War, the epidemic of influenza, the deprivations, the times of the struggles in Ireland. These characters kept telling me they were multi-layered; they were more than we’d seen in the trilogy. They have lived! And so I wrote A Hundred Tiny Threads.
It takes more than just love to make a marriage…
It’s 1911 and Winifred Duffy is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer’s shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother.
The scars of Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood linger. The only light in his life comes from a chance encounter with Winifred, the girl he determines to make his wife.
Meeting her friend Honora’s silver-tongued brother turns Winifred’s heart upside down. But Honora and Conal disappear, after a suffrage rally turns into a riot, and abandoned Winifred has nowhere to turn but home.
The Great War intervenes, sending Bill abroad to be hardened in a furnace of carnage and loss. When he returns his dream is still of Winifred and the life they might have had… Back in Lancashire, worn down by work and the barbed comments of narrow-minded townsfolk, Winifred faces difficult choices in love and life.
Praise for previous novels in the Howarth family series:
“Not … an ordinary romance but a book that deals with important issues which are still relevant today” Historical Novels Review
“An absorbing saga which charges along, tempting the reader from chapter to chapter” www.gwales.com
“Barrow’s thoughtful and atmospheric novel shines a light on the shadowy corners of family life” Lancashire Evening Post