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The Promise of Tomorrow by AnneMarie Brear: moving historical fiction

The Promise of Tomorrow

Charlotte Brookes flees her lecherous guardian, McBride, taking her younger sister with her. After a year on the road, they stumble into a Yorkshire village. There, they are taken in by the Wheelers, owners of the village shop. This new life is strange for Charlotte, but preferable to living with McBride or surviving on the roads.
Harry Belmont is an important man in the village, but he’s missing something in his life. His budding friendship with Charlotte gives him hope she will feel more for him one day, and he will have the woman he needs.
However, when McBride finds out where Charlotte lives, his threats begin, and Harry takes it upon himself to keep Charlotte safe. Only, World War I erupts and Harry enlists.
Left to face a world of new responsibilities, and Harry’s difficult sister, Charlotte must run the gauntlet of family disputes, McBride’s constant harassment and the possibility of the man she loves being killed.

Can Charlotte find the happiness that always seems under threat, and will Harry return home to her?

 

My review

The Promise of Tomorrow is a touching and powerful historical romance set just prior to and during the First World War. It grabs the reader’s attention from the very start when we meet the conniving McBride, who is planning to ‘lose’ his ghastly wife and marry his wealthy ward instead.

Those plans evidently go wrong because in the next chapter we meet Charlotte and her little sister, Hannah, who are living on the streets. Charlotte realised in time that something bad was going on and chose to life rough with her sister, supporting them both by working then stay where she was, in a life of luxury but menace. Charlotte is our heroine, and we see straight away that she’s a remarkable and strong woman. This strength remains throughout the novel as further challenges come her way.

So does romance. Harry is the perfect foil for her. He too is strong and loyal, and these two good souls are well suited. But he enlists, putting his own life in danger with all the other brave young soldiers, but also Charlotte’s since McBride is hot on her trail. Tension builds as the book progresses with these added dangers to Charlotte’s happiness. She has a lot to deal with, but her love for Harry and her family keep her motivated.

The story is moving at times, terrifying at others. Our characters ran the gamut of emotions from despair to elation, and are all interesting to meet. The plot is clever and the writing absorbing. All in all this is a polished and pleasing work of historical fiction.

Purchase Links:

Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GHCXQ8Y/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GHCXQ8Y/

 

Author bio

Australian-born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances and sometimes the odd short story, too. Her passions, apart from writing, are travelling, reading, researching historical eras and looking for inspiration for her next book.

Social Media Links

http://www.annemariebrear.com
http://annemariebrear.blogspot.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/annemariebrear
Twitter @annemariebrear

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Leo’s War by Patricia Murphy: lively and inspiring

Synopsis

It’s 1943 and young Leo tries to protect his disabled sister Ruby as the Nazis invade Italy.  After his mother is arrested, he turns to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty to save them.  But he is no ordinary priest.  Known as ‘The Pimpernel of the Vatican’, the Monsignor is the legendary organizer of the Rome Escape Line.  Soon Leo is helping out with this secret network dedicated to saving the lives of escaped prisoners of war, partisans and Jews.  But as the sinister Nazi leader Kappler closes in on the network, can Leo and his sister stay out of his evil clutches?

My review

This is a beautifully written, lively, inspiring children’s story. The opening is wonderful, a quick summary of the events leading up to the Second World War from a twelve-year-old’s point of view. The key figures include Spitler and Muscle-weany. We later get a more official version of events which is very clearly explained, without bogging the young reader down in detail.

Leo is an Irish boy who’s caught in Italy at just the wrong time. His Anglo-American mother has travelled there to learn about educating young people from Maria Montessori. This is particularly important to her as Ruby, Leo’s young sister, suffers from cerebral palsy. As bright as a button, she’s restricted by her physical difficulties. The Nazis are advancing and the Leo’s mother is taken away. Fortunately the children had snuck off for a midnight feast in the barn and so escape capture. Then begins their perilous and arduous journey to Rome to find Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty. Leo’s Aunt Delia had told him what to do should he ever find himself in danger. Leo uses his sharp wits, engaging personality and resourcefulness to make the trip safely with his sister. But when he arrives, his work is far from over.

This story is perfect for children, but older readers can enjoy it too. We have two really likeable characters in Leo and Ruby. There’s excitement and humour, mystery and danger to thrill the audience, but not terrify them. Leo finds himself in sticky predicaments but he always finds a way out, and we know he will. It’s just a question of how.

The story is based on real events. Patricia Murphy weaves fact and fiction together in a marvellous way to bring the brave actions of Hugh O’Flaherty to life for us through the fictional Leo. However, as the author says, there were many children who were incredibly brave during the war and this novel is to celebrate them. War brings out the worst in people, but also the best. Loyal, lovable Leo embodies the latter.

 

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Leos-War-1943-1944-Patricia-Murphy/dp/1781998159/

https://www.bookdepository.com/Leos-War-Patricia-Murphy/9781781998151

https://poolbeg.com/home/680-leo-s-war.html

https://www.easons.com/leos-diary-patricia-murphy-9781781998151

 

Author Bio

Patricia Murphy is the bestselling author of The Easter Rising 1916 – Molly’s Diary and Dan’s Diary – the War of Independence 1920-22 published by Poolbeg.

She has also written the prize-winning “The Chingles” trilogy of children’s Celtic fantasy novels.   Patricia is also an award winning Producer/Director of documentaries including Children of Helen House, the BBC series on a children’s hospice and Born to Be Different Channel 4’s flagship series following children born with disabilities. Many of her groundbreaking programmes are about children’s rights and topics such as growing up in care, crime and the criminal justice system. She has also made a number of history programmes including Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson for Channel 4 and has produced and directed films for the Open University.

 

Patricia grew up in Dublin and is a graduate in English and History from Trinity College Dublin and of Journalism at Dublin City University. She now lives in Oxford with her husband and young daughter.

Social Media Links –

Website: https://www.patriciamurphyonline.com

Twitter: @_PatriciaMurphy

Facebook – h https://www.facebook.com/Leos-War-Irelands-Secret-World-War-2-Hero-714055598929732

Facebook  –  https://www.facebook.com/Mollys-Diary-The-1916-Rising-277254289106782/

 

Giveaway to win a £30 Amazon Gift Voucher (Open to UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494122/?

 

 

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That’s War by William Arthur Sirmon: A First World War Diary

thatswarThat’s War

By William Arthur Sirmon, reproduced by: Brannon William Sirmon

This book is the actual diary as written by William Arthur Sirmon. The diary is reproduced from 1st January 1918. The book records faithfully the long periods of tedium that are part of the army routine although this appears to be interspersed with quite a lot of entertaining for the officer class. The excitement and patriotism builds up as the 82nd Regiment makes ready for war and finally gets its orders to travel from Camp Gordon, Georgia to the port of New York. The regiment sailed on the 25th April joining up with a large convoy for the crossing. Lt Sirmon observes that the main difference between one day and another is just the state of the sea.

The regiment reaches the safety of Liverpool after twelve days at sea and just one week later they arrive in France. Three weeks after landing on French terrain they get their wish and are posted to the front line. Little by little they experience the grim reality of war, seeing friends and comrades wounded or killed. Lt Sirmon is slightly wounded but continues to conduct offensive operations until his unit is attacked with mustard gas and he suffers severe skin burns.

This has been a fascinating read and while the diary format is not the most free flowing, it has been a riveting insight into the life and beliefs of a young US officer. It is very clear that the army and populous believed what their government told them about the reasons for the war being the defense of freedom and democracy. They also accepted without question the claims of atrocities committed by the German war machine against civilians. The grand geo-political causes as large empires vied for power and territory are never debated.

Yet this should not detract from the quite matter-of-fact bravery displayed by Lt Sirmon and his generation very much in contrast to the Hollywood hero. In his first action he admits to being badly frightened and shaking but swearing to himself that he wouldn’t run. After the engagement he was over he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Honor of France and the Croix de Guerre with Palm.

The book has not been edited for political correctness and while some of the attitudes are a shock in the modern day context, they have to be considered  for the insights that they provide.

This is a great book and I highly recommend it.