As you know, on Friday’s I bring you guest authors. Recently I’ve also been trying to bring to my blog authors and bloggers I know and exchange comments with often, but I’ve come to realise they’ve never made it as guests to my blog yet. Today it’s Judith Barrow’s turn. She’s a fellow author who is very generous in discovering interesting content and promoting it, she is a sharp reviewer with a very keen eye on Rosie’s Book Review Team (hey!), and she writes about subjects that will be close to many people’s hearts. And her latest book was just published on the 17th of July, so, what better reason!
First, before I forget, here is her blog:
And what her Amazon author page says about her:
Judith Barrow,originally from Saddleworth, near Oldham,has lived in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for thirty four years.
She has BA (Hons) in Literature with the Open University, a Diploma in Drama from Swansea University and a MA in Creative Writing with Trinity College, Carmarthen. She has had short stories, plays, reviews and articles, published throughout the British Isles and has won several poetry competitions. She has completed three children’s books.
She is also a Creative Writing tutor.
And now, the books:
Pattern of Shadows
Mary is a nursing sister at Lancashire prison camp for the housing and treatment of German POWs. Life at work is difficult but fulfilling, life at home a constant round of arguments, until Frank Shuttleworth, a guard at the camp turns up. Frank is difficult to love but persistent and won’t leave until Mary agrees to walk out with him.
Here is what Judith tells us about the book:
Pattern of Shadows was inspired by my research into Glen Mill, a disused cotton mill in Oldham, Lancashire, and its history of being the first German POW camp in the country.
I was researching for an earlier book in the Local Studies and Archives in Oldham, while staying in the area, but reading about the mill brought back a personal memory of my childhood and I was sidetracked.
My mother was a winder in a cotton mill and, well before the days of Health and Safety, I would go to wait for her to finish work on my way home from school.
I remember the muffled boom and then the sudden clatter of so many different machines as I stepped through the small door, the sound of women singing and shouting above the noise, the colours of the cotton and cloth – so bright and intricate.
Above all I remember the smell: of oil, grease – and in the storage area. the lovely smell of the new material stored in bales.
When I thought about Glen Mill I wondered what life would have been like for all those men imprisoned there. I realised how different their days must have been from my memories of a mill and I knew I wanted to write about that.
So started 18 months of research
There are some great review too, but I’ll let you discover them, because we have a few more books. And if you want to see pictures and read Judith post about it, check here:
In May 1950, Britain is struggling with the hardships of rationing and the aftermath of the Second World War. Peter Schormann, a German ex-prisoner of war, has left his home country to be with Mary Howarth, matron of a small hospital in Wales. The two met when Mary was a nurse at the POW camp hospital. They intend to marry, but the memory of Frank Shuttleworth, an ex-boyfriend of Mary’s, continues to haunt them and there are many obstacles in the way of their happiness, not the least of which is Mary’s troubled family. When tragedy strikes, Mary hopes it will unite her siblings, but it is only when a child disappears that the whole family pulls together to save one of their own from a common enemy.
Living in the Shadows (Just published on the 17th of July)
It’s 1969 and Mary Schormann is living quietly in Wales with her ex-POW husband, Peter, and her teenage twins, Richard and Victoria.
Her niece, Linda Booth, is a nurse – following in Mary’s footsteps – and works in the maternity ward of her local hospital in Lancashire.
At the end of a long night shift, a bullying new father visits the maternity ward and brings back Linda’s darkest nightmares, her terror of being locked in. Who is this man, and why does he scare her so?
There are secrets dating back to the war that still haunt the family, and finding out what lies at their root might be the only way Linda can escape their murderous consequences.
When Meg Matthews gives an interview on the local radio station it leads to a friendship with three other women. They share a terrible secret. Together, can they find the strength to expose the silent trauma they have endured all their lives?
The story is fictional: the facts are real.
Here is what Judith says about this book:
Silent Trauma is the result of years of research, and the need to tell the story in a way that readers will engage with the truth behind the drug Stilboestrol. So I had the idea of intertwining this main theme around and through the lives of four fictional characters, four women, all affected throughout their lives by the damage the drug has done to them. Their stories underpin all the harm the drug has done to so many women all over the world. The story is fictional, the facts are real.
Judith Barrow’s books are also available in Honno (Welsh Women’s Press):
In Honnos you can find an anthology Judith has contributed to:
Coming Up Roses:
A fiction anthology from Welsh women writing about gardens: what they mean to them, what happens in them and where they take them…
In ‘Yellow Ribbons on a Pear Tree’ an Italian POW returns home to a mixed welcome from his wife and family; ‘Gift’ is a tale of loss and love and of misunderstandings set around a memorial oak sapling; ‘Rosemary and Rue’ concerns memory and what it means to lose it and ‘Seasons of Brews and Roses’ tells of the love between mother and daughter and its waxing and waning, in good times and bad.
There are sad stories and happy ones, tales from home and abroad – all of them share a love for plants and planting, flowers and seeds, a real sense of the power of growing things to change lives.
“Crime, romance, loss, haunted tales… this collection has it all. 20 great stories… an ideal prsent for the gardener in your life.”
Lynda’s Book Blog (http://lyndasbookblog.blogspot.com/)
“Sad, tense, funny, bizarre but best of all, original plots and a huge variety of themes show how creative writers can transform fruit and veg, flower borders and potting sheds to delve into our deepest fears and unrequited longings but also bring on the growth of new possibilities with each passing season.”
Thanks so much to Judith for bringing us her books, thanks to you all for reading, and if you have enjoyed it, share, like, comment and CLICK!