Saturday 10 November 2018

From Poppies to Flames

Tower of London poppies ~ August 2014
From Poppies to Flames by Jan Jones
Watching the lighting of the Tower moat
I remember four years ago
The first thin stream of poppies
The silence as a thousand strangers stood in the still air
Gripping hands
Packing the poppies ~ Nov 2014
I was there again on the last day
I saw them dismantled
Packed away until you would
never know there had been a sea of blood

Four years ago. Four years.

In those four years I have lost irreplaceable friends
and so many icons. My history flickering out
Life diminished

A century ago
How many more never returned
Between the thin red line and the torches
Countless lives altered fast and forever

So much waste
And so much waste still
Make it stop


Not pieces
Tower of London torches ~ November 2018

Tuesday 6 November 2018

A Respectable House is now out!

A Respectable House - the second in the four-book Furze House Irregulars series - is now out.

This one features Kitty Eastwick - Verity Bowman’s half-sister from A Rational Proposal - and starts immediately after the end of that book. It was quite a challenge writing the first couple of pages without cramming in a lot of ‘the story so far...’ from book one. I hope I managed it!

Kitty Eastwick is running for her life. Nicholas Dacre is guarding her. Both are scarred in different ways and must learn to trust each other before anything like a happy ending can be reached.

Once again the story stands alone as far as the love story and mystery is concerned, but woven through it is the whole-series conundrum of the ‘shadow master’ Flint.

The ‘respectable house’ (or at least discreet, as Kitty puts it) of the title refers to Furze House at the top end of Newmarket High Street (which I am convinced ought to be there even though all the maps strangely disclaim any knowledge of it). While I was busy imagining the big, echoing house and adding a laundry, stables, vegetable plot and tiny cottages to the rear, I got a little concerned that I was cramming a lot into quite a modest space.

Grosvenor Yard cottages, now demolished
Imagine my absolute joy at discovering pictorial evidence of the old Grosvenor Arms site a few alleys down!

Old site of Grosvenor Yard, Newmarket
Grosvenor Yard is now a fairly unlovely car park, but in the past there was a large inn (with a ‘jug and bottle’ for off-sales), a decent sized courtyard, an old farmhouse and - yes - two rows of tiny, terraced one-up-one-down cottages! It is moments like that which make a historical novelist's life so glorious.

We really are embedded in the past!

Photo credits of Grosvenor Yard to the Newmarket Local History Society.