Picture of an old portable typewriter Picture of a WW1 embroidered silk postcard

 I was inspired to write my forthcoming novel, A Kiss from France, when I discovered this WW1 ‘silk’ in a box of my late grandmother’s possessions.  The colours of the silk yarn have remained remarkably vibrant, considering its age. Inside the card is signed, in pencil,

‘To my darling wife, from your ever loving husband, Jack.’

Next to it was a faded and creased black and white photograph of a group of POWs.

POWS 1916

POWS 1916

Sample: A Kiss From France

At the height of the Great War, three British women risk their lives every day in a munitions factory,  filling the huge ammunition shells destined for use by Allied soldiers on the western front with Tri-nitro-toluene (TNT).  A note placed in a random shell box will force them to confront what they believe about love and war.  It is not only war that carries the power to destroy.


Taking advantage of a few rare moments of privacy, Lizzie Fenwick pulled down the woden lavatory seat lid and sat on it. In the dim yellow glow given off by the gaslight, her eyes greedily searched the pencilled handwriting for the words that had set her heart a flutter yesterday. ‘I am promised some leave’. A delicious shiver ran along her spine. Finally, she might see Harry Slater, the soldier she had never met but with whom she had been sharing secret, intimate thoughts and sentiments.

Suddenly, vulgar words uttered against her by another soldier at the dance last night detonated in her head and threatened to spoil her happy day-dreaming. “You cock tease.” He had kept on at her, pestering, playing on her conscience – seeing as how he was prepared to die for his country – to try to persuade her to do what he considered to be her patriotic duty and let him have his way with her before he went back to the Front. Damn that Tommy! Lizzie held her precious letter close to her chest, a protective hand placed over it.
 “What’re you waiting for?” Her friend, Peggy, who had no such qualms, had called out as she disappeared into the blackout with a soldier’s arm around her waist. “You might be dead tomorrow!”
Book cover for 'A Kiss from France' by Susan Hughes

Summer 2015


2 responses to “Books

  1. That silk box is incredibly evocative, especially with the photo.


    • Hi bookaddictuk
      Thanks for saying so. It’s one of several embroidered silk postcards (although it would also make a lovely insert for a box lid) which belonged to my grandmother. They are truly very poignant reminders of the Great War. They definitely fired my imagination.
      PS. Glad I just found your blog. I love London too! Your bookish slide show made me smile, especially the list of reasons for admission to a 19c US mental asylum. Guess I’d have been an inmate then, and not just for ‘novel reading’…

      Liked by 1 person

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