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D-Day

D DayAs the 75th anniversary of D-Day approaches, I thought I would post a small section of my novel THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET which takes place on the morning of 6 June 1944.

 

At five o’clock on the morning of the 6th of June, Louise jerked awake to the sound of planes overhead.

At first she thought it must be an air raid and she was going to have to decamp to the cellar, but there were no sirens blaring, and in any case, German bombers invariably came in from the east or south-east. These planes sounded as though they were travelling in the opposite direction.

And then she heard her mother’s footstep outside her door.

‘Louise, are you awake?’

Louise got out of bed and opened the door. ‘What is it?’ she said. ‘What’s happening?’

‘I think it’s started,’ her mother said. She sounded breathless. Turning off the landing light, she went straight to the window and opened the blackout curtains. ‘Yes,’ she whispered in awe. ‘Look.’

Louise joined her at the window. It was still dark, but for the first time in nearly a week, the sky was clear, and as her eyes acclimatised, she saw a mass of shapes slowly moving overhead. West to east. Towards the coast. Towards France.

‘Oh my God,’ she said. She put a hand to her mouth. The planes were almost wingtip to wingtip, many towing gliders. They were all painted in black and white stripes, presumably to aid recognition among inexperienced Allied troops, and to prevent incidents of so-called friendly fire.

As she watched them in amazement, she couldn’t help thinking of the thousands of young men on board. And of the ones presumably even now heading out across the Channel, or perhaps already struggling off landing craft on dark French beaches. Young men like Moses and Ben, and the Carter boys. What were they thinking now?

Suddenly it all seemed terribly real. The campaigns in North Africa and Italy had been so far away. This was here. This was now. And nobody knew how strong the German resistance would be, what carnage would ensue, how many lives would be cut short. Today. Tomorrow. However long it took.

She felt tears springing to her eyes and saw that her mother was similarly affected. Suddenly they were holding hands. Then somehow Louise was in her arms. As she clung to her mother, feeling the bony shape of her shoulder, smelling the perm in her hair, she realised it was probably the first time they had embraced since she was a child.

‘What do we do now?’ she whispered.

Celia drew in a long, shuddering breath. ‘I think the best thing we can do,’ she said, ‘is to go downstairs and make a cup of tea.’

 

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET is the 5th book in Helen Carey’s best selling Lavender Road series. For more information about Helen or her novels, please click the page links above or visit her website at www.helencareybooks.co.uk

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Christmas Update

Hello and Happy Christmas to all my lovely readers and fans,

xmas xnoopy reading

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL

As we are nearly at the end of the year I wanted to bring you up to date with all the latest news and developments about my books.

In the USA, all my current novels, including THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET (Lavender Road book 5), are already available as eBooks, and LAVENDER ROAD itself, and (very shortly) SOME SUNNY DAY, have now also been published as paperbacks. So do seek them out if you are looking for gifts for friends! The other books will follow these two into paperback over the next few months.

All five Lavender Road novels are also now available in the USA as audio books read by the wonderful British actress Annie Aldington, and are available from bookshops, libraries and on Audible.com.

In the UK, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET has just been released as a paperback, like the others, published by Headline Books.

All five books are also available as CD audio recordings in the UK from libraries or for sale from ISIS Soundings, but unfortunately not yet on Audible.co.uk.

Other UK news is that earlier in the year LONDON CALLING, the fourth in the series, was shortlisted for the RoNA Award, Best Historical Novel.

But the BIG NEWS is that coming on the 19th April next year (2018) in the UK and the USA will be the sixth book in the Lavender Road series, VICTORY GIRLS.

VICTORY GIRLS will sadly be the final novel in the Lavender Road series. It will bring the story up to the end of the war. It was a poignant moment for me when I typed the last few words. But I worked out that readers who have read all six books will, by the end of VICTORY GIRLS, have read over a million words about the characters of Lavender Road, and I felt that was enough!

The VICTORY GIRLS covers for each region have just been revealed. Pre-ordering is already available in the UK and will be available in the USA in the New Year.

Victory-Girls-1000x625px

USA Edition

victory girls

UK Edition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know many of you are eager to get your hands on VICTORY GIRLS and I’m sorry it is such a long wait but I hope you will feel that the wait has been worth it!

In the meantime, if you haven’t read them already, there are two other Helen Carey novels available, SLICK DEALS, a pacy, fun, contemporary thriller, and THE ART OF LOVING, a light, sexy romance set in Germany.

Wishing you a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a NEW YEAR filled with lovely things,

 

Helen Carey

Serendipity

serendipityOne of the wonderful things about writing novels is that serendipity often lends a helping hand.

When I was starting to write my first book, LAVENDER ROAD, my car had broken down and I bumped into a wonderful local lady, Laura Boorman, at a bus stop on Clapham Common. Inevitably the bus was late, and we fell into conversation. It turned out Laura had lived in London right through the war years. She was a mine of information, and many of her memories crop up in the Lavender Road books.

A couple of days later the garage owner introduced me to an actor who in turn put me in touch with the lovely Mary Moreland who had been a celebrated concert artiste in the 30’s and 40’s. Much of Jen Carter’s turbulent career in SOME SUNNY DAY and the other books is based on Mary’s experiences.

Just as I was beginning to think about the SOE angle for ON A WING AND A PRAYER I was invited to an uncle’s birthday party at the Special Forces Club in Knightsbridge. There, I not only discovered the tragic staircase of pictures of agents killed during the war, which was a salutary reminder of the incredible dangers those men and women put themselves in for the sake of their country, but I also found information about certain young female agents and was therefore able to base Helen de Burrell’s adventures much more on reality than invention.

While I was researching the early development of penicillin for LONDON CALLING, I discovered by chance that an old family friend, Antony Jefferson, had been a medical student at the time (1942) and actually visited the laboratory in Oxford where Professor Florey and his small team were attempting to create a therapeutic drug. Things were so short in those days that they had to resort to using bedpans to grow the cultures in as they simply couldn’t find any other suitable receptacles. Antony had also survived a torpedo attach in mid Atlantic. Some of my readers will recall Jen and Molly’s dramatic escape from their sinking troopship in the Mediterranean, all based on Antony’s experiences!

I had already begun writing my most recent Lavender Road book, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET, and was trying to find useful details about the women’s services during the war years, when I asked Eirian Short (a famous local embroiderer) for some advice on a tapestry I had recently inherited, only to discover that Eirian had joined the ATS in 1942 and remembered every detail! Although I should add that Eirian’s military service history was exemplary, and my character Louise Rutherford’s various high jinks are entirely her own!

Now, as I draw to the end of writing Book 6 (as yet unnamed) I’m glad to report that the same kind of thing has happened again. I won’t tell you exactly what because I don’t want to give the story away yet, but suffice it to say that serendipity has once again played a part, and for that I am profoundly grateful!

 

 

Helen Carey’s latest novel, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET, was published by Headline on 6 April 2017 and is now available at your local Amazon store.

Uk editions combo 2          US Editions combo

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big news today! My new novel, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET, comes out.

Published by Headline Books in the UK, Europe and Commonwealth, and by TSAP in the USA and some other territories, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET is my fifth Lavender Road novel, and like its predecessors it can be read as a stand alone, or as part of the series.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET is mainly set in London in 1944, and as well as the inevitable problems of war, one of the themes this time is about someone (Louise Rutherford) trying to become a better person. That is never an easy thing to do, especially perhaps in wartime, and when Louise finds that she has to join the ATS, the Women’s section of the British Army, things become even more difficult for her.

I love writing about the Second World War. For me it is a fascinating period of history. So much happened in those eventful years, even for those who weren’t actually fighting. With almost constant Luftwaffe bombing, plus Hitler’s V1 and V2 revenge missiles, people on the Home Front were also in considerable danger. I have always been impressed by the extraordinary courage and resilience that people showed at that time, and I think, more than anything else, that is what has always drawn me to the period Putting characters in difficult circumstances is always interesting, and for the posh, pretty, somewhat self-centred young widow, Louise, the grim realities of as ATS training camp come as a nasty shock!

I very much hope you enjoy reading THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET, and as always, if you have the time or the inclination to pop a review of this or any other of my books on Amazon, that would be great. It all helps enormously!

To find out more about any of my books do visit the Books page above.

All best wishes, and Happy Reading,

Helen

To celebrate the launch of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET in the USA, all the American eBook editions of Helen’s books have been given a new look covers.

us covers launch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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