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suzannebowditch

Writer of historical fiction, blogger, mum, pet lover :)

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historical fiction

Hester: England 1842

 

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This is a cover that I just purchased from Canva. It’s a one off purchase, to be used just for this blog post, but I really wanted to get an image of a new character that I’m thinking about. Her name’s Hester and she lives in early Victorian England. Her mother dies in the first scene of the story, killed by her drunken father, and she is left alone to raise her sisters in poor conditions in a village on the outskirts of London.

She discovers that she has a ‘talent’ for helping the sick and needy, and quickly builds a reputation as a witch…..

That’s all I have for the moment BUT I’m thinking of linking Hester with a modern woman, to see how that would evolve.

Read the first ‘bones’ of the story and feel free to add any suggestions…all thoughts/ideas gratefully accepted!

*

Hester

England, 1842

They were at it again. Hester pulled the rough woollen blanket over her ears, snuggling up to Elsie’s warm back. Her nose tickled against her sister’s curls as she drew her near; small and bony against her own hips. Then it sounded again; the incessant banging of the bed against the chalk wall, just feet away from where she lay with her sisters. Elsie moaned in her sleep, restless but not waking, her breathing heavy. Her younger sister had always slept through any storm. The thin sheet that separated them from her parents moved as her father stood up, and Hester sighed with relief, their rutting over.

She heard him pull on his boots, then the heavy thud as he walked to the doorway. The sound of the door opening, and then silence. She could picture him leaning against the doorframe. The smell of tobacco filled her nostrils and she squeezed her eyes shut, hoping for sleep. Then, the squeak of the bed, and the whispering of her mother, calling him back to bed. Winifred stirred and called out in her sleep. Hester prayed that her father had not heard her, but the blanket opened and her mother stood, silhouetted by the dark grey of the skyline through the open doorway. She stood for a moment, listening. Hester held her breath, hoping that she would go back to bed. When there was no further sound from Winifred, her mother disappeared beyond, and she could hear her father return to bed.

Then, the only sound was the wind outside, rattling on the window above their trestle bed. An owl hooted, eerily near. The bed on the other side of the blanket yielded to the weight of its occupants, then the familiar thudding of the frame against the wall started again.

 

Hester opened her eyes in panic. What had woken her? She sat up and looked across at the dark mounds lying next to her that were her younger sisters; they hadn’t moved. She sat for a moment, listening. Then, the wailing noise sounded again and her heart gave a thump in her chest. It sounded like a cat, perched outside, but she knew the noise anywhere; it was her mother.

‘Quiet, will you?’ A gruff voice pierced the silence, and Elsie stirred and sat up. Hester placed a hand on her sister’s mouth, Shush!

The wailing started again, followed by a thud as her father hit her mother. She could hear her fall onto the wooden floor, and pictured her, sprawled out under the window.

‘Please, Ed; not again. I beg you. I may be with child; I cannot stand it!’ she wailed again.

He ignored her wails as he continued to hit her. Again, and again, the steady thump of fist on face, breasts, hips, legs. Hester felt the knots fill her inside, as she held onto Elsie, stilling her sobs.

The wails seemed to go on forever, then stopped. Hester heard the door open for the second time that night, then slam shut as her father left the house.

‘You stay here, do you hear? Not a sound mind!’ she whispered to Elsie, who nodded, shaking and pale in the dim light. Winifred hadn’t stirred. Hester could hear her heavy breath through the silent night, her chest sounding raspy from a recent bout of cold.

She crawled out of bed, gingerly pulling back the thin blanket that divided the shabby room. The bed loomed in front of her, filling this corner. A thin light pierced the room from the smeared window set high above the bed, allowing some light from the pale grey sky. A chair sat in the far corner, roughly hewn by her father some years back. It held a candle and usually her father’s jacket and breeches, but they had gone. Hester adjusted her eyes to the breaking dawn and peered over the ruffled sheets. Her mother lay on the floor, unmoving. Hester could see her bare feet in the light, a blanket across her face. She moved around the bed, glancing outside where the door had opened slightly; there just the distant chink of bottles from the public house and the bleak call of a rooster from the farm opposite.

Hester pulled at the blanket covering her mother’s face, then gasped. Her head was at an angle, seemingly removed from the rest of her body. Even in this light she could make out the bruises across her eyes, already puffy and dark. A slick of blood could be seen around her nose and mouth, spilling onto her soiled dress. Hester moved closer, stepping on a sticky mass at her feet, trailing under the bed. The smell of shit was overwhelming as she realised her mother had soiled herself.

She turned and pulled at the door, then retched into the open air. The sun had appeared from behind the rooftops allowing her a clearer view of her feet, dark and smeared in dirt and vomit. She had seen enough pigs slaughtered on Haskin’s Farm to recognise the blood on the edges of her dress.

Working quickly, she washed her feet under the pump in the narrow alleyway, walking back inside. Her mind felt numb, her senses dulled by the sight before her.

He had gone too far this time.

*

 

 

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Alice’s Secret : No 1 on Amazon

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Alice’s Secret A Celtic Trilogy has remained on the Top slot on Amazon Kindle.

I’m thrilled! 🙂

So now, I’m busy working  on the third book in the trilogy. It’s title (so far!) will be Harry’s War: The Ties that Bind 🙂

Thanks to everyone that has downloaded Alice Secret, so pleased.:)

My Reading Challenge

So far on my Goodreads reading challenge, I have read 48/50 books. Here are my top 5 so far, and in no particular order of enjoyment 📚

1. The Dry – Jane Harper. A powerful story, involving the murders of an entire family in a rural town in Australia. 5/5 A favorite of mine

2. At the edge of the Orchard – Tracy Chevalier. Historical fiction at its best. The story explores the cultivation of apple trees in the swamps of Ohio, and the harshness of life during this time. A real page turner 5/5

3. The light between oceans – M L Stedman. A whimsical historical love story, set on a lighthouse off Western Australia, and the young married couple who tend it. A sweet story 5/5

4. The other side of the world – Stephanie Bishop. This story tells of the relationship between a married couple as they embark on a journey to Australia from their native England. A good story, if a little slow in places 4/5

5. Out of Bounds – Val McDermid. Crime writing at its best, and another cracking murder to solve for DCI Karen Pirie 5/5

Elen A Celtic Trilogy

Ellen

Elen A Celtic Trilogy has stayed at No 1 Best Sellers in the category Australian and Oceanian History, due to my free giveaway on the weekend! Its still available until 8th November 2016 🙂

Best Sellers in Australian & Oceanian History

 

1.

Elen (A Celtic…

Suzanne Bowditch

4.0 out of 5 stars 1

Kindle Edition

£0.00

Free Giveaway this weekend: Elen A Celtic Trilogy

In preparation for my new Murder Mystery available just in time for the Christmas rush, I have made my first book Elen A Celtic Trilogy available as a FREE GIVEAWAY until Monday. Link available by clicking on the title above…..

Enjoy your weekend, all 🙂

Ellen
Elen A Celtic Trilogy Suzanne Bowditch

14 Reasons Why We Love Reading Historical Fiction #SundayBlogShare #HistoricalFiction — BlondeWriteMore

There is something magical about reading historical fiction. After interviewing historical fiction writer Evie Gaughan yesterday, I am taking a moment to celebrate historical fiction. Here are the reasons why I think we love reading stories from this fabulous literary genre: It is a form of mental time travel. There is nothing more pleasurable than […]

via 14 Reasons Why We Love Reading Historical Fiction #SundayBlogShare #HistoricalFiction — BlondeWriteMore

Guest Author: Suzanne Bowditch — Blackwood’s Magazine

I am so honored to have a guest spot on Blackwood’s Magazine. Thank you to C.M. Blackwood ! 🙂

Good evening, readers and writers. Welcome to the second installment of Blackwood’s Magazine’s Indie Author Spotlight for October! Today’s special guest is Suzanne Bowditch. Let’s have a chat with her! Everyone has a story about why they love to write. What’s yours? I have loved to write since a teenager. I entered […]

via Guest Author: Suzanne Bowditch — Blackwood’s Magazine

Why historians should write fiction

Great post 🙂

Novel approaches

ARTICLE

 Ian Mortimer

“Your book reads like a novel,” is a comment that popular historians often hear. When said by a general reader, it is a compliment: an acknowledgement of the fluency of the writing and a compelling story. If a historian uses those same words, however, it is an insult. It means ‘you cannot be trusted on your facts’. Hence the title of this piece is bound to infuriate every reader of this journal, for it implies that historians should tell lies. After all, that is what novelists do, isn’t it? Make it all up if they don’t know the facts?

I ought to explain at the outset that I am a novelist (James Forrester) as well as a historian (Ian Mortimer), and I write history for the mass market as well as scholarly articles. As a novelist, I tell lies. Whoppers. All historical novelists do. In my…

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Book Review: The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

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The Shadowy Horse Susanna Kearsley (book mark from Melbourne)

I have just recently discovered Susanna Kearsley’s books, but I’m becoming a fan. Her style is historical fiction, mystery and a touch of romance, a combination I love. 🙂 The Shadowy horses was published in 1997 so I’ll have to troll my local book stores for more of her works. This one is a goodie.

The Shadowy Horses Susanna Kearsley

Verity Grey is an archaeologist working at the British Museum in London. When she is offered a position at Rosehill in the Scottish Borderlands from an ex boyfriend, she is initially sceptical. Then she finds out that the job means looking for the remains of the legendary Ninth Roman Legion, said to have marched there to do battle with the Scots.

Her boss, the ‘mad’ Peter Quinnell, has spent his life searching for the Legion, and is going on the hunch of a local lad Robbie, who has second sight and claims to have ‘seen’ the Sentinel, a ghostly figure who is guarding the bodies of his long-dead comrades.At first sceptical of the site, she soon becomes embroiled in the search, and finds the wild landscape and atmospheric setting overwhelming to her senses. Soon, she hears the past, at the house and at the dig. Who are the Shadowy Horses that roam in the dead of night? What do they want from her?

So, we have a solid character in Verity, and an eccentric professor-like character of Quinnell, a handsome colleague, David Fortune, and a boy with psychic powers.There is a mix of history, ghostly mystery and romance; a winning combination.

It promised so much, and it delivered. Would recommend it 4/5

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