Last week I received a lovely review from a reader of Ancasta via Facebook:
“Yes I really loved it, I read the start and then took a break and read the bulk of the book quickly, but I need to reread the start I think. I thought it was great, so many characters so complex, must have been hard to choose which characters to not really delve into, like Anthony and Ernest’s wife.
Left me feeling I wanted more, it would make a great TV drama. It was a great read. Have you started work on the third book.”
….and it set me thinking about my characters. I was told by an earlier reader that I could write at a tangent with many of my characters because they are so strong….what about Jane for those of you who’ve read Riduna and Ancasta?…..her struggle to choose love or her vocation, nursing; her training; her service abroad and finally sharing her experience training other auxiliary nurses at The Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley…then a rekindling of love maybe….forever choices on her life…..yes she’d make a novel in herself.
But what of my two main heroines Harriet, the matriarch of the story and Sarah her headstrong daughter. Both were women of their times.
Harriet was a child of the Victorian Age, an age when her elders were respected and their rule was law on the island of Riduna. (Alderney) A bright young girl, (in Riduna) she showed potential at school and was given a wider education than many of her peers as she became a ‘teacher helper,’ but although a sensible lass, loyal to her family and Edward her childhood sweetheart, she chose marriage over vocation, although given two opportunities to do otherwise. She was meant to be a mother, unlike her best friend Jane above. By the time we see her in ‘Ancasta Guide me Swiftly Home,’ the second in the series, her family are grown up and flying the nest and although she never married Edward, he is still in the background of her life.
Sarah, her only daughter is a child of the early 20th century, influenced by the desire for more in life for women than bringing up a family and caring for the home. Marrying an officer in the army, she felt trapped by life in the barracks and, however complete she felt for a time at the birth of her son, she still deep down dreamed of more. It was not that she was fully aware of the suffragette movement until she moved back with her mother during The Great War, but that she had a strong-willed character from the start and was quite a handful for her husband Anthony. Sarah relished new opportunities, firstly working at Supermarine and then sharing her mother’s business.
You see, it was by now respectable for Harriet, a widow by this time, to own her own business. Both she and Sarah became ladies of independent means as they ran a boarding house together, utilizing their skills to the full. Harriet’s nurturing, caring nature and yet her education made her perfectly capable of dealing with financial matters. Sarah on the other hand was businesslike and professional and yet willing to turn her hand to the sewing her mother so detested.
My next post will be true stories of other women of their time which I discovered whilst researching, with some surprising findings.