Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Molly's Christmas Orphans and Links to the Merchant Navy






June 4 1940. Waiting, wondering, hoping and praying. In Molly’s Christmas Orphans, this is exactly what Molly does; like millions of women world wide, she dreads the arrival of bad news. She’s already lost her family; young husband Ted, who enlisted and perished in the fated British Expeditionary Force, and her darling little daughter Emily, victim to the influenza outbreak. Now Molly is entrusted with the care of two orphans and the London blitz shows no mercy. Their father, Andy, is serving on an ‘old lady’ from World War 1, a battered, and bruised vessel and at the mercy of the infamous German U-boats of the Kriegsmarine. How will Molly cope? In Andy's absence has she the strength to fight for the children's lives? Molly’s Christmas Orphans is a saga of wartime courage and hope.

My October saga, MOLLY'S CHRISTMAS ORPHANS is set during World War 2 and against the backdrop of the Merchant Navy. Many unsung heroes lost their lives because of our badly defended merchant ships. Light cruisers and sometimes destroyers tried to protect them as they ploughed through the freezing North Atlantic, sitting targets for the famed wolf-packs of the Kriegsmarine. Molly's love interest, Andy, has escaped the dangerous duties of the DEMS (merchant ships), only to find himself in deeper trouble and longing to be home with Molly and his family.

On sale with AMAZON and eretailers, in supermarkets and book shops as from October 2017.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Farm in West Yorkshire

Isabelle's Choice is set in West Yorkshire, in the area around Halifax, Hebden bridge and Heptonstall. This story was a favourite of mine to write, and after visiting the area I could really imagine Isabelle living there. The quaint village of Heptonstall, situated on top of a moor and over looking Hebden Bridge and the river below is the perfect setting for the run-down farm where Isabelle goes to live when she marries Farrell, a drunken waster. She thought him a better man than he was, and out of desperation for her and her brother's safety, she hopes marriage will give her a decent life after the trauma of being in the workhouse. Little does she know...


Blurb
Halifax, 1876. On the death of her mother and sister, Isabelle Gibson is left to fend for herself and her brother in a privately-run workhouse. After the matron's son attempts to attack her, Isabelle decides to escape him and a life of drudgery by agreeing to marry a moorland farmer she has never met. But this man, Farrell, is a drunkard and a bully in constant feud with his landlord, Ethan Harrington. When Farrell bungles a robbery and deserts her, Isabelle and Ethan are thrown together as she struggles to save the farm. Both are married and must hide their growing love. But despite the secrecy, Isabelle draws strength from Ethan as faces from the past return to haunt her and a tragedy is set to strike that will change all of their lives forever.


Isabelle’s Choice is available now
Purchase:
Amazon: myBook.to/IsabellesChoice

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Historical Places

Apart from the historical novels I have set in Australia, the rest of my historical stories are set in various areas around Yorkshire, England. I think I chose Yorkshire because my family and ancestors are from this region.
Yorkshire has some beautiful countryside, and it's worth visiting, but it also has quaint little villages and historic cities full of wonderful architecture. It has a rugged coastline and bleak moors, sweeping valleys and mountains.

The map below shows you its size and location within the UK.



Novels I have set in Yorkshire and where.
 

 
Kitty McKenzie - York
To Gain What's Lost - Leeds
Aurora's Pride - York
Broken Hero - near Bridlington
Isabelle's Choice - Heptonstall & Hebden Bridge
Eden's Conflict - Gargrave
Catrina's Return - York
Grace's Courage - Leeds
Where Dragonflies Hover - Wakefield

I have visited all of the above places, but because my stories are set in Victoria & Edwardian time, I've relied heavily on maps from those eras and non-fiction research books, paintings and so on. Luckily for me, the eras I write in are not that long ago, unlike say, Roman or medieval, therefor I can still see evidence of Victorian streets and buildings. Some villages have not been modernised for centuries and that helps me as an author to visualise my characters in those places.



Gargrave, and the river Nathan gets swept away in - Eden's Conflict.
 
 





The photos of York, featured in Kitty McKenzie and Aurora's Pride.
 
 
 
 
The farm is something similar I pictured for Isabelle at Heptonstall in Isabelle's Choice.

These are just a few examples of places and images to show where my books are set, or where my characters might have visited. I could go on for hours and fill the page with photos, and perhaps I'll do some more another day.






Sunday, July 9, 2017

Aurora's Pride- Victorian saga

Aurora's Pride


My
Victorian historical novel, Aurora's Pride, is set in 1898 Yorkshire.
 This is Aurora and Reid's story and will be available in paperback and March 14th 2017.

Back blurb:
Aurora Pettigrew has it all, a loving family, a nice home, a comfortable life. She’s waiting for the right man to offer her marriage, and the man for her is Reid Sinclair, heir to the Sinclair fortune and the love of her life.
But, Reid’s mother, Julia, is against the match and her ruthlessness unearths a family secret that will tear Aurora’s world apart.
Unwilling to bring shame on her family and needing answers to the allegations brought to light by Reid’s mother, Aurora begins a long journey away from home. She leaves behind all that is familiar and safe to enter a world of mean streets and poor working class.
Living in the tenements of York, surrounded by people of a class she’d never mixed with before, Aurora struggles to come to terms with the way her life has changed. By chance, she reconnects with a man from her past and before he leaves with the army to war in South Africa, he offers her security through marriage.
Aurora knows she should be happy, but the memory of her love for Reid threatens her future.
When tragedy strikes, can Aurora find the strength to accept her life and forget the past?



Excerpt:

Aurora walked along the streets of York, head down against the wind. The end of summer was proving difficult this year and warm days would be followed by squalls of rain and blustery winds such as today. Since Ethel Minton’s visit six days ago, Aurora had gone out looking for work and new accommodation. Each day she had come home despondent on both issues. Without a wage they couldn’t look at the better houses, and the poorer areas were the likes of Edinburgh Yard, which she and Sophia were adamant not to go back to. Noah and Lily had spoken as one offering their home to them, but Aurora was reluctant to agree as they’d be on top of each other, especially when the two babies came.
  Aside from the anxiety of finding money and lodgings, she had become aware over the last few days of someone watching her. She couldn’t define what made her so sure someone was, but instinct told her she didn’t walk the streets alone. Then, last night, while closing the curtains a stranger lingered in the lane looking at her windows. As yet she hadn’t mentioned it to Sophia, who after the attack was nervous enough and jumped at any loud bangs or sudden shouts. Perhaps she should mention it to Noah, ask him to keep an eye out, and just hope that she was imagining it all.
  Her feet throbbed as she turned into Coney Street. The baby kicked, a new sensation that Aurora marveled at in secret joy. She rubbed her stomach and hurried on. She needed to buy some buttons and thread, as Sophia was letting out all her skirts. She’d have liked to buy some linen material too, for a blouse, but every penny had suddenly become precious now neither of them was working.
  She passed a tailor’s shop and was bumped into by two men coming out of the doorway. She apologized, even though it wasn’t her fault, at the same time the gentleman did too. Then she stopped and stared. Tom Sinclair stood gaping back at her, open-mouthed.
  “Aurrie?” He frowned, puzzled.
  She was the first to recover. “How are you, Tom?”
  “My God!” Tom enveloped her in a tight embrace and for a moment she relished being held by him. It’d been a long time since a man had held her, and Tom was as close as she would get to Reid. He stared at her in amazement. “What are you doing in York?”
  “Shopping.” She smiled brightly, acting as though them bumping into each other was an everyday occurrence. “And you?”
  “Oh this and that.” His gaze roamed over her and his grin faltered as he took in her appearance. He’d never seen her in anything but beautiful clothes and neatly groomed. She put a hand to her hair escaping from her felt hat and blushed. He’d noticed her faded clothes beneath her coat, which also needed a sponge and brush. Her shoes hadn’t seen polish for weeks.
  Tom turned to his companion. “Hal, my friend, I’ll meet you back at the hotel.”
  Hal, a tall, healthy-looking young man winked, a devilish smile in his eyes. “As you wish, my good fellow, but remember we leave on the evening train tomorrow.”
  Aurora’s blush deepened, imagining what Hal would think of her. “You should have introduced me, Tom. He thinks the worst judging by that remark.”
  “That’s more exciting than the truth though, isn’t it?” Tom’s smile flashed, but the amusement in his eyes had vanished completely. “There’s a tearoom on the corner. Let’s go.” He took her elbow and so shocked was she to see this serious side of him that she let him escort her into a small tearoom and assist her onto a wooden chair in the corner. He sat on the other side of the square table and lifted his hand to the passing waitress. “Tea and a plate of-of cakes…er…food, sandwiches and the like.”
  “Tom, I—” The words dried in her mouth as she saw the agony in his eyes. “What is it?”
  “I cannot believe it.” He shook his head and looked as if he was going to cry.
  Her heart leapt to her throat and she leaned forward. “Good God, Tom, what?”
  “What happened to you?” His voice came out on a whisper.
  She sat back in her chair, again conscious of her appearance. “You must be shocked.”
  “Shocked?” he squeaked and then clearing his throat, he held his hands out as if in question. “I thought you were travelling with your father’s aunt? That’s what your mother is telling everyone. Is this aunt without funds? Doesn’t your father know—’
  “Please, Tom, stop.” She rubbed her forehead, wondering how to tell him, whether she should tell him. “I’m not with my father’s aunt.”
  “I don’t understand.” He scratched his chin. “Aurrie, dearest, you look like hell. You’re so thin and…and shabby.”
  She wanted to laugh at being called thin, especially when the front fastening corset she’d bought only two weeks ago no longer fitter her. The top button of her blue skirt was left undone and her white blouse strained across her breast, which she hid with her coat, but his expression of horror wiped the laughter from her instantly. Apart from the parts of her body concern with the child, the rest of her was thin, her hands and arms especially. “It’s a long story.”
  “And I’ve got all day.”
  “But I haven’t.” She stood. “I must go. It was nice seeing you again.”
  “No.” He grabbed her wrist and forced her to sit down, causing the other customers to glance in their direction.      “Don’t go, not yet.” He let go of her as she sat and the waitress brought over a tea tray, which she set out on the table. Tom watched Aurora the entire time and she knew he was full of questions. “I want to hear it all, Aurrie.”
  “Do you?” She pulled off her gloves, revealing her red and work-chapped hands and ignored his gasp of surprise at the sight of them. Dropping a cube of sugar into her cup, she then stirred it slowly with a teaspoon. “I don’t think you want to know, Tom, not really.” She gave him a sad smile, knowing his personality as one of fun and laughter, never taking anything seriously.
  “I thought we were friends?”
  “We were. When life was simple.”
  “Aurrie, please. I can’t bear to see you like this.”
  “This?” She waved at her worn clothes. “Good lord, Tom, this is a good day.” Her chuckle was brittle. “We had enough water last night for a bath so I washed my hair…’
  “We?” He leaned forward over the table, cradling his teacup in one hand and took her hand in his other.
  “My mother, Sophia. We live together.”
  “Your mother Sophia?” His eyes widened. “Dearest, are you ill?”
  “Mad you mean?” This time she did laugh. “I wish I was, but alas I’m quite sane.” She bent over the table until their faces were nearly touching. “Can you cope with knowing the truth, Tom Sinclair? The man who has never had a moment of responsibly in his life?”
  Review:
If you're looking for a fairy tale with a twist, then look no further than Aurora's Pride. The characters may not fill out all the classic roles precisely, and you'll get to meet the entire townspeople around the "castle", but they are beyond a doubt entertaining and very adeptly written. It's a great read that reminds the little girls in us that sometimes the princess has to become Cinderella in order to be a good queen one day.
Books N Beans

 Aurora's Pride is available now.
Apple iBook https://goo.gl/1oY8BH

Friday, July 7, 2017

Victorian Saga - Grace's Courage on sale 99p




Grace's Courage



       My Victorian historical novel, Grace's Courage is set in Leeds, West Yorkshire,  England 1870.

 I truly enjoyed writing Grace's Courage. It's many engaging characters and the twists and turns this novel took as it evolved, had me gripped from page one.
 I wrote the first draft in five months because most chapters just flowed really well, which is very rewarding for the writer when that happens! But then, who couldn't have fun with seven daughters, a tyrannical father, a
selfish mother, a lost love, a handsome butler and a quiet, enigmatic coal miner?
 I hope readers enjoy it too.

Blurb
As the Victorian Age draws to a close, lonely and brokenhearted, Grace Woodruff fights for her sisters’ rights to happiness while sacrificing any chance for her own.
The eldest of seven daughters, Grace is the core of strength around which the unhappy members of the Woodruff family revolve. As her disenchanted mother withdraws to her rooms, Grace must act as a buffer between her violent, ambitious father and the sisters who depend upon her.
Rejected by her first love and facing a spinster’s future, she struggles to hold the broken family together through her father’s infidelity, one sister’s alcoholism, and another’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy by an unsuitable match.
Caring for an illegitimate half-brother affords Grace an escape, though short-lived. Forced home by illness and burdened with dwindling finances, Grace faces fresh anguish –and murder– when her first love returns to wreck havoc in her life.
All is not lost, however. In the midst of tragedy, the fires of her heart are rekindled by another. Will the possibility of true love lead Grace to relinquish her responsibilities in the house of women and embrace her own right to happiness?

 Grace's Courage is now.
Online
Kobo UK
Apple iBook

*Please note that Grace's Courage was originally published with the title, The House of Women.

Review Rating: 5 Cups
Grace Elizabeth Woodruff is one of seven daughters who witness her family crumble before her.
Montgomery Woodruff, the father of the household, does not love his wife and hates being saddled with seven daughters.
Diana, the mother, neglects the household duties leaving everything to Grace.
William Ross holds a part of Grace's heart. It has been six years since she has seen him.
William Doyle, the new butler admires Grace.
George Henry Walters is shift foreman and a union man who fights for the rights in the mines. He is smitten with Grace.
Grace wishes for joy and pleasure just once in her life. She has always been the strength of the family and now the pressures are rising into one giant boiling pot about to explode. Her father pawns his daughters into marriages that tighten his money belt. The daughters see it as escape from an abusive, selfish father. Grace tries to keep peace while taking care of ailing sisters and wishing for her own flight. When an old love returns, a new butler is hired and a shift foreman enters her life, Grace wonders is this her chance to leave a family that has needed her many years.
Grace's Courage is a saga about a family full of betrayal, hate, lies, infidelity, disappointments and often love. Grace is a strong character that strives to keep things intact while facing many frustrations. Her deep felt emotions interweave within the pages. Ms. Brear paints a remarkable novel with well-developed secondary characters that bring out the good and the bad in the worse of families. She instills believability with all her characters. She pens a story that will touch the heart, often irritate and sometimes make the reader cheer. This is a most rare gripping read.
Cherokee
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

After finishing Grace's Courage by newer author Anne Brear I applaud this author for this immensely satisfying and fine example of a riveting Victorian historical. I can promise that once started you will not put it down until the final page is turned.
In Leeds, England 1870, Grace Woodruff, eldest of seven daughters is mired in responsibility. Grace runs the household and serves as a buttress between her sisters and the father who sees all his daughters as nothing but worthless commodities to be wed in order to forge business ties, gain wealth and ingratiate himself with the nobility. But fate is about to deal the entire Woodruff family some devastating blows and losses that will send this dysfunctional family spiraling out of control leaving Grace to stand alone in forging a new way of life in trying to manage both household and her heart.
What an amazing story from this newer author that chronicles a strong and resilient young woman's journey as she put aside her own broken heart in order to battle and stem the tide of the downward disintegration of her family from the result of their father's perfidious ways. Grace was a terrifically strong and resilient  heroine whose loving heart and loyalty to her siblings was unwavering and constant in a life turned upside down. Coming on the heels of the authors fabulous debut of KITTY MCKENZIE this sticks to a common theme of featuring a well to do family that must learn how to live in reduced circumstances while surmounting real
problems that people face even today. Brear excels with a deft hand in creating superb depictions of her characters with amazing depth. Frankly, if you've ever been a fan of Catherine Cookson, you are going to love AnneMarie Brear. This was a remarkable, deeply moving and powerful read I hated to see end and one in which I highly recommend.
Marilyn Rondeau, RIO - Reviewers International Organization

Nobody wants to help Grace Woodruff deal with the running of the household or managing the problems of her mother and many sisters. It would, by all rights, be enough to drive anyone crazy, but Grace rises to each and every challenge that comes her way. Placed in a time period where women had very little power, Grace proves again and again what strong women are capable of achieving.
AnneMarie Brear has created a truly remarkable heroine, along with a cast of characters that will keep you guessing until the end.
"Grace's Courage" is full of twists and turns that are sure to entertain. Ms. Brear's character development has certainly impressed me. Kudos to the author. -
Diane Wylie - author

AnneMarie Brear has penned a wonderful historical novel addressing hurtful family issues as well as triumphs. Grace's Courage is set in 1870 Leeds, England, in a time when women had few choices.
Despite the abuse of her father, the emotional abandonment of her mother, and the unpredictability of her six sisters, stalwart Grace Woodruff keeps the family together through thick and thin. But all she really wants is her own family.
Grace's Courage is a story of serious family issues, of love lost and love gained, of financial strife and crossing class lines.
Ms. Brear brings amazing strength of character to Grace as well as depth of emotion to all characters--characters you're sad to leave at the end. I would recommend The House of Women to anyone.
- Jacquie Rogers author.