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Finding Edith Pinsent – early reviews are looking good.

I’m over the moon with the reviews that are coming in for ‘Finding Edith Pinsent.’

Here are some snippets:

“The book is so beautifully told and heart-warming, you will be rooting for both Edie and Netta and turning the pages to find out what happens to them. Edie’s story is especially involving, because it includes the Second World War and the 1950s and you really get a feel for the time, as well as the hardships and heartbreak those eras brought, especially for women”

“It’s quite an emotional story full of secrets and the trials and tribulations of being human. Well, that‘s life! So, open your arms, close your eyes and taste the sky as Edith says. A wonderful, inspiring and captivating read.”

“Bittersweet, enchanting and utterly immersive, I absolutely loved this book. The characters are screamingly real to me, honest, vulnerable and brilliantly created, layer upon layer. It is a real comment on the ups and downs of life, chance encounters, the rough course that true love often takes and enduring friendships and loyalties. Hazel Ward’s writing is sensitive, emotional and beautiful. She draws you in and you stay there with bated breath, following the characters as they journey along their paths.”

“This is a worthy successor to Netta Wilde and if Hazel Ward chooses to continue the series, I’ll be first in the queue to read the next book.””This is the second book I have read from this author, absolutely loved it.”

Have you added your review yet?

Last chance to bag a bargain book.

Being Netta Wilde is 99p or 99c. Sale closes at midnight tonight (GMT/PST).

An uplifting story of love, loss and second chances that celebrates friendship and human connections.

Netta Wilde was all the things Annette Grey isn’t.

Netta Wilde was raw, unchecked and just a little bit rebellious. She loved The Clash and she loved being Netta Wilde.

Annette Grey is an empty, broken woman who hardly knows her own children. Of course, it’s her own fault. She’s a bad mother. An unnatural mother. At least, that’s what her ex-husband tells her.

The one thing she is good at …
the one thing that stops her from falling …
is her job.

When the unthinkable happens, Annette makes a decision that sets her on a journey of self-discovery and reinvention. Along the way, her life is filled with friends, family, dogs, and jam. Lots of jam.

Suddenly anything seems possible. Even being Netta Wilde again.

But, is she brave enough to take that final step when the secrets she keeps locked inside are never too far away?

Get it here:

Being Netta Wilde is on sale at 99p/99c.

Grab yourself a copy before it’s too late.

The Being Netta Wilde, ebook is on sale as a Kindle Countdown deal. From today, for one week only, you’ll be able to get it for 99p at Amazon UK and 99c at Amazon US. 

If you haven’t already read Netta’s story it’s an ideal time to treat yourself to a pre-Christmas bargain. If you’ve already read Netta yourself, you might want to take advantage of the sale price to buy a stocking filler for other readers you know.  

Here’s a peek at Netta’s Christmas. Her ex has taken their teenage kids away for Christmas. Disappointed, she grits her teeth and throws herself into a hectic week at the foodbank. It’s Christmas Eve. She’s going to stay with her new friends over Christmas, not knowing that she’s about to experience an epihany of sorts. But first, a visit to her parents’ house…

The sound of ‘Frosty the Snowman’ floated along the hall like a reassuring aroma. The Ronettes, if she wasn’t mistaken. Her dad was playing his Phil Spector Christmas album.

That was the thing about Arthur Wilde. He may be one of the mildest mannered and, yes, boring men on the planet but come Christmas, a metamorphosis took place. Okay, he still liked his comfy cardie and slippers. Two whiskies and he was out for the count. But once he’d got those CDs out, he’d be dancing around the house like a man possessed by the Yuletide spirit and you knew, without a doubt, Christmas had arrived in the Wilde household.

Want to read more? Get it here

Christmas World War Two style.

It’s Christmas 1942 and Edie goes home on leave from the WAAF…

She saw the stockings hanging in their usual place on the mantelpiece. Her mother took Edie’s hands to her lips and kissed them. ‘I’m sorry, my dear, I couldn’t bear not to put his stocking up again this year. I know it’s silly but I hope you’ll indulge me?’

‘Of course, Mummy. I understand.’ As long as the stocking was there, they could fool themselves that everything was the same. Jimmy had been gone for over a year and a half but it was still a bitter pill to swallow.

As soon as she got changed into her civvies, she helped to put the final decorations on the tree. It was a family tradition to wait until they were all gathered together to put the star on the top of it. Afterwards, they toasted the tree with a small sherry.

In the evening, Edie’s father left for his patrol. He’d been in the Home Guard from the very early days but she still found it difficult to think of him as the country’s last line of defence. He was such a sweet man, if he ever caught an enemy, he’d be more likely to give the fellow a cup of tea and a jolly good talking to than raise his gun to him.

On Christmas morning they went to church. Hannah managed to cook an excellent Christmas lunch considering the shortages. After lunch, they opened presents. Inside Edie’s stocking was a new pen, a bottle of ink and some chocolate. ‘I’m afraid oranges were nowhere to be had this year but we managed to bag the chocolate,’ said her mother. ‘This one is thanks to Daddy. They’re not quite as nice as your usual, but everything is in such short supply.’ She gave Edie a brown paper package which she’d made prettier with a ribbon tied in a bow. It contained three notebooks, rather utilitarian compared to her usual leather-bound journals but no less welcome since she was down to her last twenty pages on her current one.

Before she had a chance to thank them, her father handed her a large flat box, from Lewis’s. ‘And now, la pièce de résistance.’

She opened it to find the most divine silk dress, the colour of cornflowers. ‘Oh gosh, it’s beautiful. It must have cost the earth, as well as your clothing rations for a year.’

Her mother gave a little shrug. ‘We have plenty of clothes. You’re a young lady now, Edith. You’re allowed to dress like one occasionally, even if there is a war on.’  

Could you go to war at eighteen?

1942 is a life-changing year for Edith Pinsent. At the age of eighteen she joins the WAAF and becomes a plotter in the Operations Room at RAF Rudloe Manor. Here’s what Edie has to say about working in the Operations Room:

‘Edie’s first few weeks in the Ops Room were both terrifying and thrilling. She had been fully trained up but she still went to work every day fearful that she would get something wrong. Being in there was like taking part in a huge and very noisy board game, with the highest of stakes. To the side of the room, and on a balcony above it were the higher ranking airmen and women – officers who kept an eye on everything and relayed instructions to and from the outside. In the middle was a large map table surrounded by the plotters, mostly airwomen, who assimilated the information fed through their headsets and moved wooden blocks and arrows around with long poles. One of the girls said they were like croupiers in a casino. Edie had never been to one so she couldn’t say whether that was an apt description or not.

‘At first, the descent to the underground Ops Room gave Edie a queasy feeling. She thought it was the lift and the stale air but, without her noticing it, the feeling gradually disappeared. After a month, she realised it was completely gone. She saw then that the queasiness had been nothing more than nerves which was understandable. From day one she, not long out of school and not much more than a child, was responsible for her own section of that operations table. The fate of men’s lives lay in the hands of her and others like her. From the moment she entered the room she felt an intoxicating surge of adrenalin like nothing she’d ever experienced before. It was the most exhilarating place to work in, a world away from her father’s offices in Birmingham, and there was nowhere else she’d rather be.’

Sometimes even the most fearful of situations can be thrilling and it’s amazing how the human spirit can rise to the occasion when needed. Imagine yourself at eighteen. Could you have handled that kind of responsibility?

Finding Edith Pinsent – Out 10 January 2022. Available for pre-order now.

More research: saving a Bob in the Pound

While I haven’t actually mentioned this campaign in Finding Edith Pinsent, it made me smile.

‘Save a Bob in the Pound’ was a British World War Two campaign that encouraged the public to invest in government savings bonds for a ‘brighter’ post-war future. A bob was slang for a shilling. Pre-decimalisation in 1971, there were twenty shillings to the pound and twelve pennies to the shilling.

I love the poster but TalkingPictures TV came up trumps again with this old film. Despite our present day sophisitcation there’s something quite joyous and lovely about it.

In these days of sharp imagery and slick presentation this animated karaoke-style cinema ad looks and sounds archaic but there is something quite lovely and nostalgic about it. It’s voiced by Tommy Handley who was a popular comedian back then and features a cartoon character called – yes, you guessed it – Bob.

My parents and grandparents lived through the war and I can imagine them singing along with it. I have to admit I did too.

Research can bring up the funniest things.

I’ve had to do a lot of research for my next book, Finding Edith Pinsent because Edie’s story spans almost eight decades. I’ve read quite a few books set in the early periods – the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s – and I’ve watched a lot of television. My go-to TV channel has been one called ‘Talking Pictures TV’. It’s full of old movies and short information films that were made as far back as the late 1930s. They’re brilliant for giving you a glimpse into everyday life back then.

It’s been fascinating and ever-so-slightly addictive. For a while, I became a bit obsessed. Watching them has made me much more aware of how the way we speak changes over time. Not just the accent but the things we say. Here are a few phrases I’ve picked up from a 1940s film that, I have to admit, made me smile a little.

I do actually say good lord. I’m obviously a bit of a forties throwback. How embarrassing.

I’ll be posting more of these little insights in the build up to the release of Finding Edith Pinsent on 10th January. Look out for more snippets coming your way soon.

Exciting news

Edie is on her way and it’s earlier than expected.

The last few months have been a bit solitary. I’ve spent much of my time in my writing cave busily editing my next book Finding Edith Pinsent. I’m glad to say, it’s paid off because we’ve been able to bring the publication date forward to 10th January 2022.

I always think January’s a good time to settle down with a new book: the excesses of Christmas are over and it’s cold outside. What better time to snuggle down in your comfy cosies and wrap yourself up in an absorbing story?

I’ll be posting more Edie updates and snippets between now and 10th January, so do look out for them and, if you want a copy as soon as it comes out, you can pre-order a copy for your Kindle here.