Good Deeds Challenge, Year 2 Week 32

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I am into my second year.

New Good DeedsThis week I’ve been doing the following;

November 23rd – Today is rained hard nearly all day, I stayed inside and read and reviewed two books instead. Good Deeds received, brother-in-law came and took away our old lounge furniture.

Today’s book in the November Mystery Tour was Buffalo Soldiers by Nicholas Denmon http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5Vx

November 24th – My morning helping at school. Today’s mystery book is Blond Cargo by John Lansing. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5PG

November 25th – Today it’s the turn of Lily Bishop on the Mystery November book tour with her book No Strings Attached. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5SR Visited my parents and helped out with their computer issues.

November 26th – A mystery set in Cyprus was today’s book on the mystery tour, Isia’s Secret by Ray Stone. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5SC Posted my review of Elsa Winckler’s book Touched to the Heart on my blog, a romance set in South Africa.

November 27th – Donated food to the local food bank for the homeless today. Pattern of Shadows by Judith Barrow is the mystery tour book today. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5VH

November 28th – A Much needed walk today in the fresh air and a chance to pick up litter. Today’s mystery tour book is Eden’s Garden by Juliet Greenwood. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5Ti

November 29th – The mystery book tour is nearly at an end and today it’s the turn of Thorne Moore and her book A Time For Silence. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5Td

Drafting up the post for the December issues of the magazines I write book reviews for and drafting up the copy for the January issues to send to the editor due to the short deadline in the run up to Christmas.

 

Mystery Book Tour Day 28 #MysteryNovember Eden’s Garden by Juliet Greenwood

 

November Mystery Tour

Welcome to today’s guest on the mystery November book tour, Juliet Greenwood and her book Eden’s Garden.

eden's_garden_cover:Layout 1

Where is your home town?

I live in a traditional quarryman’s cottage on the edges of a village in Snowdonia in North Wales, halfway between Conwy Castle and the romantic island of Anglesey. I lived and worked in London for several years, so I certainly appreciate the peace and quiet! It’s a very traditional village with one or two outrageous characters, and many an intriguing story to tell…

How long have you been writing?  

All my life! I was first inspired by Rosemary Sutcliffe and wrote my first rip-roaring historical (set in Saxon times) at the age of ten, and never looked back. It’s taken me a long time to be actually published and begin to be the writer I want to be. It’s been a long learning curve, and I still feel I’m at the beginning, but I feel that it’s vital to the making of a long-term career as a writer.

What is your favourite sub-genre of mystery?

I love cosies (I’m squeamish) and historical mysteries. I love Miss Marple, who is still my comfort reading, Sara Waters and Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody murder mysteries set in Victorian Egypt starting with ‘The Crocodile on the Sandbank’ – may Amelia wield her trusty umbrella against cads and rascalians forever! Some of my favourite classics are Wilkie Collins and Dickens’ ‘Bleak House’ – Inspector Bucket is still my favourite detective.

Tell us where and when Eden’s Garden is set.

The story of Eden’s Garden moves between Cornwall and Wales, with a touch of London in between. It’s a timeshift, with two parallel stories taking place in contemporary and Victorian times.

Can you introduce us to Carys?

Carys is the heroine of the modern story. When we first meet her, she is in her thirties and at a crossroads in her life. She returns to her home village to look after her mother as she recovers from a fall, and finds herself becoming a historical sleuth to solve a mystery from the past. The story she uncovers challenges her own choices, and changes her future forever.

What is Plas Eden, who did she know there?

Plas Eden is a rambling old house on the outskirts of a village in southern Snowdonia. It is the ancestral home of the Meredith family and holds many memories, not least a collection of mysterious statues in its overgrown grounds that set Carys off on her journey of discovery into the past. As a child, Carys had been drawn into Plas Eden and the lives of the Merediths after a family tragedy. As she returns, she meets up again with her teenage sweetheart, David Meredith, who is trying to save the estate. But Plas Eden is haunted by past secrets, ones that threaten to destroy everything Carys and David hold dear….

Now tell us about Ann, please

Ann is the heroine of the Victorian strand of the mystery. We first meet her on Westminster Bridge, a young woman wracked with grief and guilt, who is has lost everything and feels she has nothing to live for. At the last minute, instead of throwing herself in the river, she makes her way to the nearby Meredith Charity Hospital, where her story becomes intertwined with that of Plas Eden and the Meredith family.

What is Carys looking for as she follows Ann’s trail?

Carys and David travel to Cornwall to try and uncover the story behind the mysterious statues, hoping to find a way of saving Plas Eden. As they begin to uncover the past, they are drawn into an increasingly terrifying story of love and betrayal, of redemption and the enduring power of female friendship.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

I’m writing my next historical mystery, this time set in Devon and London in the years between ‘Eden’s Garden’ and ‘We That are Left’, just before the First World War. It has a rambling old house, greed, betrayal and love – and maybe even a brick-wielding suffragette or two….

Where can readers find out more about you?

Juliet in Brondanw

 

‘Eden’s Garden’, Honno Press, 2012

Finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’, May 2014

Amazon Kindle #5 June 2014

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edens-Garden-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/1906784353

US: http://www.amazon.com/Edens-Garden-Juliet-Greenwood-ebook/dp/B007W4E68Y/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0BYS2TAADCR6KXW9Z34N

‘We That Are Left’, Honno Press, 2014

The Welsh Books Council’s Book of the Month, March 2014

The National Museum of Wales Book of the Month, March 2014

Waterstones Wales Book of the Month March, 2014

Amazon Kindle #4 May 2014

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/That-Are-Left-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/190678499X

US: http://www.amazon.com/That-are-Left-Juliet-Greenwood-ebook/dp/B00FVECG5W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413531668&sr=8-1&keywords=We+that+are+left

Website:         http://www.julietgreenwood.co.uk/

Blog:               http://julietgreenwoodauthor.wordpress.com/

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/juliet.greenwood

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/julietgreenwood

 

Guest Author Juliet Greenwood

Today we have Juliet Greenwood as our guest author, she wrote We That Are Left which I reviewed yesterday, see this link for the review http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5MX

Let’s find out more about Juliet and her books.

Juliet With We That are Left

 

 

1) Where is your home town?

I live halfway up a mountain on the edges of a village in Snowdonia in North Wales. In one direction I look up to the mountains, and to the other I look over the romantic Island of Anglesey, and some pretty gorgeous sunsets. I lived next to the Hammersmith flyover in London for several years, so I certainly appreciate the peace and quiet!

2) How long have you been writing?

All my life! I wrote my first rip-roaring historical at the age of ten, and never looked back. It’s taken me a long time to be actually published and begin to be the writer I want to be. It’s been a long learning curve, but I feel that time and experience is often vital to the creating of a long-term career as a writer. Having your first book published is really only the beginning of the journey.

3) What was the one idea behind this book?

I wanted to write about the amazing women in WW1, who not only kept life going at home under the most difficult of circumstances, but also worked on the front line risking their lives as ambulance drivers, doctors and nurses, but who have been largely forgotten.

4) For readers who don’t know the book yet, can you introduce us to Elin?

At the start of the book, Elin is a typical wife of her time, living a comfortable, but rather unfulfilling existence in the country estate in Cornwall. Her husband, Hugo, is much older, and sees her in the way women were generally viewed at the time, as delicate and in need of protection, and is quite unable to share his own traumas from fighting in the Boer War. Like many women, Elin is left to take charge of the estate when WW1 breaks out, discovering new strengths and depths that eventually take her on a desperate rescue mission in the battlefields of France. It’s an experience that changes her forever.

5) Mouse is such a fun character, can you tell us about some of her beliefs.

I love Mouse! Like Elin, she’s frustrated by the limitations of being a woman in Edwardian times, but coming from a rich, aristocratic family she has far more choices. She is adventurous, and loves to shock. She flies her biplane over to France and back for a bet, wears trousers (very shocking at the time), speaks her mind and is determinedly independent. She has no wish to be tied to a rich husband and forced into tedious domesticity. When the war comes and her brothers go off to fight, she is determined not to be left behind. Like many rich women of the time, she takes off with supplies to help on the frontline of the fighting. Despite the things that she goes through, she never loses her free spirit.

6) How does Elin grow into her role as leader at Hiram Hall once Hugo leaves for war?

 

Elin soon realises that she will need to use the estate’s kitchen garden to help the local population as food prices rise, and eventually shortages kick in. She rediscovers old recipes and remedies to cope with the shortages, and she also rediscovers her own passion for baking, inherited from her mother.

 

As the war goes on, Elin takes on more of the responsibilities, learning to deal with staff and the accounts, and discovering that she is perfectly capable of running a large estate, as well, if not better, than her husband. Like many women during the war, she becomes the linchpin of the local community, dealing with the grief and loss of those around her, and reassuring them in the face of the danger from Zeppelin air raids. When Hugo returns, he can no more understand this change in her than she can understand his experiences of war, meaning that, for Elin, the end of the war is where her own battles begin. It was something that happened for many couples after WW1, in fact so much so that the level of those seeking to divorce after the war finally led to divorce being made possible for ordinary people.

 

7) What do Mouse and her friends do to help the war efforts?

 

In WW1 there were plenty of wealthy women who were determined to do their bit for the war effort, despite being scornfully dismissed by those in authority. It was totally chaotic, with volunteers simply taking off with supplies and going over to France to do what they could. Mouse and her friends fit out a truck and set off with food and medical supplies to help on the frontline, driving ambulances and helping in the makeshift field hospitals. One of the real-life women who did this was the Duchess of Sutherland who set up her own field hospitals: http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/great-war-on-land/casualties-medcal/2383-millicent-duchess-of-sutherland-ambulance.html They were truly brave and heroic women!

 

8) Can you explain how the front line might move from day to day and how the field hospitals coped?

 

The part set in France is not only in the trenches but on the edges of the battlefields, the tiny bits of land that were fought over constantly during the years of the war. What was horrible about the fighting was that it was over such small advances that caused huge losses on both sides, and then the line moved back again, with the civilians who had nowhere to go caught in the middle. This meant that in places the front lines were constantly shifting, which caused huge suffering not only for the soldiers involved but also for the French civilians. I have family in France who experienced the effects on civilians in both wars, something that has always haunted me. I also read accounts of the women working on the frontlines, in field hospitals in whatever building they could find, who frequently had to move as the fighting grew too close, losing precious vegetable gardens that supplemented the lack of food, and desperately trying to take wounded and dying men to some kind of safety. So much is written about the soldiers and the battles, I wanted to give a sense of what it must have been like for civilians caught in the middle of the horror and the chaos of war.

 

9) Is this your only book set in this time period? What else have you written?

 

This is the only book I’ve written that covers the period of the war. My first book for Honno Press, ‘Eden’s Garden’, is a timeshift set in Cornwall, London and Wales in contemporary times and the late Victorian era. The historical story of ‘Eden’s Garden’ ends just before WW1, and it was during my research that I stumbled across the stories of the women during the war, and so the idea behind ‘We That are Left’ began.

 

 

10) Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

 

These are my media links:

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Juliet Greenwood

‘We That Are Left’, Honno Press, 2014

The Welsh Books Council’s Book of the Month, March 2014

The National Museum of Wales Book of the Month, March 2014

Waterstones Wales Book of the Month March, 2014

Amazon Kindle #4 May 2014

http://www.amazon.co.uk/That-Are-Left-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/190678499X

Amazon.com

 

‘Eden’s Garden’, Honno Press, 2012

Finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’, May 2014

Amazon Kindle #5 June 2014

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edens-Garden-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/1906784353

Amazon.com

 

Website:     http://www.julietgreenwood.co.uk/

Blog:            http://julietgreenwoodauthor.wordpress.com/

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/juliet.greenwood

Twitter:      https://twitter.com/julietgreenwood

 

 

We That are Left

Juliet Greenwood

Elin lives a luxurious but lonely life at Hiram Hall. Her husband Hugo loves her but he has never recovered from the Boer War. Now another war threatens to destroy everything she knows.



With Hugo at the front, and her cousin Alice and friend Mouse working for the war effort, Elin has to learn to run the estate in Cornwall, growing much needed food, sharing her mother’s recipes and making new friends – and enemies. But when Mouse is in danger, Elin must face up to the horrors in France herself.



And when the Great War is finally over, Elin’s battles prove to have only just begun.


Waterstones Wales Book of the Month, Wales Independent Bookshops Book of the Month and Wales National Museums Book of the Month, March 2014