Hello and welcome to my August Newsletter.  

Well, what a hot and dry month July turned out to be! The soil in my back garden is quite shallow, so I’ve had to do a lot of watering to keep my plants alive. Goodness knows what our water bill will be, and I just hope we don’t have a hosepipe ban. Unfortunately, many plants have only flowered for a short time before going to seed. Still, despite the uncomfortably high temperatures for a couple of days, I’m enjoying the sunny weather. 

This is a photo of one of my favourite dahlias – I think it’s called Pat and Perc and it flowers all summer long. The bees love it and I have to be careful when deadheading it as I got stung twice last year in the space of ten minutes. Prior to that, I’d never been stung by a bee – so at least I now know I’m not allergic to bee stings.

I suspect that many of my readers will, like me, remember the long, dry summer of 1976. Our first son, Stuart, was born in early May of that year and I believe it was August before we had the first rain. Of course, back then we didn’t have disposable nappies and the terry towelling nappies had to be washed and dried but it was certainly not a problem that summer as they were dry in no time. They looked good billowing in the wind on the washing line too; no tumble driers back then either. There was such a shortage of water that year, many people had their water supply cut off and had to fetch water from standpipes in the street. I was dreading this happening as I knew I wouldn’t be able to use the washing machine. The men came and fitted the standpipes in our street, and it was only going to be a matter of days before we joined the bucket brigade. However, fortune smiled on us, for it started to rain heavily, and we never did have our water supply cut off. 

My Writing News

Betsey, The Prequel to The Hartford Manor Series

I’m pleased to say that I’ve finished writing the first draft of Betsey and am now busily editing. This takes me some time as I usually go through the book about four times to try to catch as many typos and errors as I can. I then get a few people to read it and they find all the ones I’ve missed! I’ve enjoyed writing this book as part of it is set in 1820, and some in 1835, whereas the other books in the series are set in the 1880s. This meant studying history for that period to find out what was happening and what people were wearing. Watching Brigerton on the television was helpful, and I’ve recently watched the first series of Jane Austin’s Sanditon which is also set around the same period. I’m recording the second series and will watch it when it’s finished. I enjoyed watching Sanditon and it’s worth seeing if you like that sort of thing.

My Interview with Celia Martin
My book of the month is called To Challenge Destiny by American author, Celia Martin. I’m friends with Celia on social media, and I was pleased when she agreed to be interviewed by me.  Celia has written nine historical fiction novels set in the seventeenth century. You can read the interview here: My Interview With Celia Martin

Appledore Book Festival
I’m delighted to have been invited to attend the Appledore Book Festival on 17 September. North Devon Authors is sponsoring a group event for local authors, debut authors, and children’s authors and it will be held in a large hall in Appledore between 10 am and 3 pm. Some authors will be giving talks throughout the day, and I understand tea, coffee, and cake will be available. I’d love some company so do call in and have a chat if you’re in the area.

My Book of the Month

To Challenge Destiny by Celia Martin

The book begins just after the Royalist defeat at Worcester in 1651. Two of the defeated soldiers, Adler Hayward and his friend, Latimer Draye, decide to flee England and escape the repercussions which are sure to follow. They travel to Ireland and sail on to Holland. On the ship, they befriend a Dutch family which is en route to New Netherland and the two men decide to accompany them to offer them protection and find a new country to make a fresh start. The book held my attention from beginning to end, though at first, I found the language a little unusual. Then I realised this was appropriate for the era and quickly became used to it. Primarily a love story, the book offers a vivid account of life in 17th-century New Netherland (The first Dutch colony in North America). However, the author strikes the right balance in providing just enough background information without overwhelming the reader with too many historical facts. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will be reading more by this author. Strongly recommended for all lovers of historical fiction. You can find the book here:  To Challenge Destiny

Thank you for reading my newsletter and I hope you found something to interest you. Until next time, enjoy the summer sunshine, and I hope to see you in Appledore in September.

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