Feeds:
Posts
Comments


Suffragette at Blists Hill

One of the highlights of this year’s RNA Conference was definitely the historical author’s event at Blists Hill, the reconstructed Victorian town at Ironbridge, the birthplace of the industrial revolution. As you can see, I went as a suffragette (what else?).

There was a great atmosphere, being there in company with so many talented historical novelists and meeting the visitors coming through on their way to experience times gone by. In a brief lull in proceedings, I took myself off to visit my favourite cottage, the squatter’s cottage.

Squatters 2 small

It’s so hard to remember, even in times of recession, the reality of life for the majority of people at a time that – in terms of human evolution – is only a breath away. The squatter’s cottage, at the edges of existence outside the Workhouse, in an age before the Welfare State, is a poignant reminder of just how little our forebears had. Ten people lived in this cottage. The beds crammed together, with more than one child to each. The single change of clothes hung up. The tiny kitchen and living area. No room (let alone light) to study for the chance to escape such poverty. No privacy. No running water and the outside toilet at the bottom of the garden next to the pig stye. And always just a broken leg or a lung infection away from losing any kind of income, and the shame of the Workhouse where families were split up and might never see each other again. And yet the cottage is warm and homely, as I’m sure it would have been, crammed to bursting with the family making the most of what they had. It was also the world that shocked the recruiters of soldiers for WW1 at the appalling state of health of so many of the inhabitants of one the richest nations in the world.

Squatters 1 small

The pig style and privy

Squatters 4 small

The bedroom

Squatters 5 small

The kitchen

I’ve been here several times before, but this time I found myself part of the exhibits. Well, I was a bit hard to miss with my extravagant hat and my ‘votes for women’ sash. The policeman on his bike was a bit uncertain meeting an unscheduled suffragette, and despite the heat peddled off rather fast, and possibly hanging on to his hat. But next to the pig stye of the squatter’s cottage I had a lively discussion on universal suffrage with a 21st century gentleman entering into the spirit of the thing. It wasn’t exactly an argument, as we both, in the end, agreed. Because, of course, all that window smashing was not where the the suffragettes began, but with the long, peaceful struggle, in the face of appalling brutality, for universal suffrage to give a voice to both men and women –  and eventually even to the inhabitants of the squatter’s cottage.

I shall be wearing my hat again – and with pride!

 

If you would like to learn more about the squatter’s cottage (which was inhabited until the 1970s), there is an excellent blog post here. And if you would like to know more about Blists Hill Victorian Town the website is here.

 

 

Squatters 3 small

The pantry – with a spot of poaching?

 

Squatters 6 small

A window into a lost world.

 STOP PRESS! The Kindle edition of ‘We That Are Left’ is currently only £1.99 – you can find the link HERE or click on the cover below.

 Buy Me

 

 

 

 


Juliet at Hintons

 

I have to confess I was a little nervous before my talk about the Women of WW1 at Conwy’s lovely new bookshop, ‘Hinton’s of Conwy’. I’ve been busy concentrating on writing up to now, but I’d learnt so much while I was researching for ‘We That are Left’ that I was eager to share it. So off I went, armed with my WW1 poppy seed cake (what else), telling myself that it was a lovely sunny evening and no one would turn up, having sloped off to the beach instead, and I’d just be sitting there with a few friends eating cake.

Hintons of Conwy

How wrong could I be! The quiet room beneath the bookshop was packed full when I finally stood up to speak. Which was great – but did give me a brief impulse to run away! Thankfully one of the advantages of my (very brief) career as a teacher is that there’s nothing quite as scary as 30 disengaged 13 year olds on a Friday afternoon.

It’s the funny thing about research. You do so much of it, and then have to throw it to the back of your mind and hope it comes through and you get the details right. When I started researching, I came across so many things that women did, many of which were famous at the time, but have now been forgotten. They are simply not part of the familiar narrative of the war.

After the first few minutes, passion took over, and it was a great experience to be able to share so many of the roles women played, both on the front line and at home and for which there had been no time or space in the novel. I’d no idea before I began my research that women drove Layout 1ambulances, set up soup kitchens on the front line, ran their own field hospitals, and picked up bodies from no man’s land between battles. It’s a different aspect of the war. At times it’s completely incongruous, and unthinkable in later conflicts, such as the Duchess of Sutherland handing in her card to German officers, and demanding answers about the conditions of British prisoners of war.

So thank you to everyone who turned up to listen. It was great to see a packed house, and to have such a fascinating discussion afterwards about the forgotten role of the brave and resourceful women of WW1.

I’m definitely fired up to do more!

 

Hintons

On the way back, I stopped at Llanfairfechan beach, to one of the most glorious sunsets I’ve ever seen. It was quiet and peaceful, with people just enjoying the evening. A great antidote to reliving the horrors of the First World War.

 

Lighthouse puffin island

And when I got home – well, I’d left ‘Eden’s Garden’ climbing the ranks as part of being the Kindle Daily Deal for that day. After the surprise of ‘We That are Left’ getting to number 4 in the kindle store a few weeks ago, I’d been determined not to get excited. This was an older book, one that had been in a promotion before.

And yet there it was, number 6 when I got home. Number 5 when I woke up the next morning.

Now that was a day to remember!

Eden's Garden 5 in Kindle Store 2

 

Number 1 historical Full price June 2014

Eden's Garden 5 in Kindle Store June 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eden’s Garden

Welsh Book of the Month for May

Stormed up to an amazing #5 in the Kindle Store in the Kindle Daily Deal – and #1 in all its categories.

Still stunned!

 

 

Eden's Garden 5 in Kindle Store 2

Eden's Garden 5 in Kindle Store June 2014

Number 1 historical Full price June 2014

 

an Amazon Kindle Daily Deal – 99 pence for one day only!

51DgA-DJVPL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-63,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_

Sometimes you have to run away, sometimes you have to come home.

2011 – Carys agrees, with mixed feelings, to look after her mother after a fall. This decision unsettles everything – her job, her plans, her relationship with Jack. Once home she is drawn back into village life, into her family history hidden in the attic, and into the history of Plas Eden, the ramshackle great house that was so much part of her childhood. Where, at 18 she forced herself to say goodbye to David Meredith. How will she feel when they meet again?

1898 – Ann, destitute, stands on London bridge. She remembers her last visit to London, a spoilt aristocratic bride, sure of the power of her youth and beauty. Now she is running from everything she trusted. Is the river her only option, or will the Meredith Charity Hospital hide her?

Two women struggling with love, family duty, long buried secrets, and their own creative ambitions. But over a hundred years ago, Ann left a trail, through North Wales, Cornwall and London, that may help Carys find her true path. What is the secret of the statues in the garden?

Welsh Book of the Month May 2012

  Read the Welsh Books Council Review

HERE

WW1 Seed Cake small

So much has been written about The Great War, but it has only been recently that the full of the women who kept the country going at home, and worked to save lives both on the battlefields and behind enemy lines, has been rediscovered.

Layout 1

 

If you are in Conwy on June 18th, I shall be at Hinton’s of Conwy from 7 – 9 talking about the women and civilians caught up in WW1, and the inspiration behind We That are Left. Entrance is free, and there will be refreshments, including cake inspired by the recipes of the time.

Places are limited, so please contact Jenny at ‘Hinton’s of Conwy’  Tel: 01492 582212  Email: jenny@hintsonsofconwy.co.uk

It will be great to see you!

 

 

And just because there are some things an author can never quite see enough of – here’s We That Are Left in its recent promotion, at number 4 in the Amazon Kindle store. I might just mention that, too … (still pinching myself)

WTAL full price and movers

 

 

 

Thank you!

WTAL 4

Thank you to everyone who downloaded, posted on Facebook and tweeted and retweeted – and took We That are Left not only into the top 10 best sellers on the Amazon Kindle charts, but to the dizzy heights of number #4. Not to mention being #2 in Sagas, Family Sagas and Historical Romance.

One very proud, and slightly bemused, author here.

WTAL full price and movers

WTAL 2 in Sagas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to my brilliant publishers Honno Press, shouting encouragement from the Hay Festival whenever there was a spot of Internet reception. And thank you to the lovely supportive Novelistas of Novelistas Ink, and especially Louise Marley, who was cheering me on all day, and told me I’d make it to the top 100, then the top 10, and like in the true Oscar speech this is turning out to be, I didn’t believe a word of it! I’m honoured to be up there with real (not just for a day!) best selling Novelista Trisha Ashley.

I have a feeling the next Novelistas meeting is going to involve cake.

The WW1 poppy seed cake from We That are Left seems to be the order of the day!


WW1 Seed Cake small

For today, May 31st, for one day only, the kindle edition of  We That are Left has been chosen as an Amazon Kindle Daily Deal.

This is so exciting!

We That are Left is the story of the women and the civilians in WW1, both at home and nearer the battlefields. It was finished with the help of a Writer’s Bursary from Literature Wales, and published by Honno Press in February 2014,

We That are Left was the March Book of the Month for the Welsh Books Council, Waterstones Wales and the National Museums of Wales.

You can find the 99p Daily Deal offer HERE

National Museums of Wales Book of the Month small

GWales Review of ‘We That are Left’

A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

 

In her new novel, Juliet Greenwood once again shows herself to be a fine historical writer with an ability to probe ordinary people’s responses to major global events and the cultural and social shifts they engender. Romance lies at the core of both We That Are Left and her previous novel, Eden’s Garden, making them perfect reads for relaxation, whether you’re curled up by the fire in winter, or basking in the warmth of the summer sun. But they also have a depth that gives them more substance than a conventional romance and makes them a more fulfilling read. With its Cornish setting, a small country manor reminiscent of Manderley, and a young wife struggling to understand an older husband who clearly harbours secrets, We That Are Left bears more than a hint of Daphne du Maurier, but with the added ingredient of twenty-first century hindsight.

The action opens on 1st August 1914, with rumours of impending war. A bi-plane flying in from France misses its route and has to make an emergency landing close to Hiram Hall, the lifetime home of Elin, who is now married to the gruff but generally kindly Major Hugo Helstone. To the amazement of Elin and her cousin Alice, who is staying with her, the pilot who steps from the bi-plane is a woman – none other than Lady Margaret Northholme, who is ‘famed for her exploits’ and has now won a bet by flying alone across the Channel and back. She brings news of evident preparations for war in France.

As the world moves inexorably towards the horrors of the First World War, friendship blossoms quickly between the young women, and Lady Margaret – or ‘Mouse’, as she’s affectionately known – introduces Elin and Alice to a group of young men and women who are kicking against convention and received gender roles. There are older people, too, who model different ways of being: Aunt Catrin, who has built an independent life for herself since losing her great love; Iris, who has faced the ignominy of divorce to free herself of an abusive husband; and Jack Treeve, the Boer War veteran turned conscientious objector. Greenwood’s characters are warm and alive, flawed yet forgivable. The only exception is the sinister Mr Connors, and he… Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out for yourself.

We That Are Left spans the four long, life-changing years of 1914-1918 and beyond, portraying the effects of the war not merely on the novel’s characters but on British society as a whole, capturing the final days of a passing era and way of life. It is beautifully written, wonderfully paced. There is romance, adventure and suspense. And there is, as in Eden’s Garden, quiet contemplation of the themes of grief, loss and loyalty, and of the way in which our past experiences shape our future selves. It is, quite simply, a riveting read.

Suzy Ceulan Hughes

 

Thank you to everyone who voted for Eden’s Garden to reach the finals of ‘The People’s Book Prize’.

TPBPPostersml

The voting is now open to choose the winner – and it closes tomorrow (May 28th)

If you would like to see ‘Eden’s Garden’ win, please vote!

You can find the form HERE:

Thank you!

51DgA-DJVPL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-63,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,315 other followers