Daffodils by Alex Martin
Katy dreams of a better life than just being a domestic servant at Cheadle Manor. Her one attempt to escape is thwarted when her flirtation with the manor’s heir results in a scandal that shocks the local community. Jem Beagle has always loved Katy. His offer of marriage rescues her but personal tragedy divides them….
Katy dreams of a better life than just being a domestic servant at Cheadle Manor. Her one attempt to escape is thwarted when her flirtation with the manor’s heir results in a scandal that shocks the local community.
Jem Beagle has always loved Katy. His offer of marriage rescues her but personal tragedy divides them. Jem leaves his beloved Wiltshire to become a reluctant soldier on the battlefields of World War One. Katy is left behind, restless and alone.
Lionel White, just returned from being a missionary in India, brings a dash of colour to the small village, and offers Katy a window on the wider world.
Katy decides she has to play her part in the global struggle and joins the war effort as a WAAC girl. She finally breaks free from the stifling Edwardian hierarchies that bind her but the brutality of global war brings home the price she has paid for her search.
“A profound meditation on love, loss and the perils of war”: Bookbub
Note from the author: For fans of historical fiction, DAFFODILS is part one of a trilogy, The Katherine Wheel Series, is set in Wiltshire, England at the time of the First World War. It starts slowly. Life changes little in Cheadle. Petty scandals, gossip and the huge gap between the haves and those who serve them continue to dominate their small world. As I researched this era, I was drawn into the terrible tragedy of the war, and so were the characters I’d created. Daffodils drags Katy and Jem out of their lives and catapults them into the wider arena of a global conflict. Most books follow what happened to the soldiers and so does Daffodils, in part. It also follows the gallant women who provided the backbone for the army, not just the nurses, but the gender defying mechanics and drivers who managed the vehicles and ambulances. I found it fascinating to discover just how much women took on and how it shook up the world they returned to, once the conflict was over. But in essence, Daffodils is a love story, whose tender heart is almost torn apart through this tumultuous time.
“Absorbing, involving, unputdownable, honest, great characterisation”.
Indie Book Bargains Featured Author Book of the day June 25th 2013 and was chosen to be in the first edition of the Fussy Librarian’s selection.
Book Two of the Katherine Wheel Series, Peace Lily, https://www.amazon.com/Peace-Lily-Katherine-Wheel-Book-ebook/dp/B00O694ET4 (UK) and https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O694ET4/ (US) is available to purchase on Amazon. Find out how these characters fared after the Armistice when they entered a new, modern age. They have to carve out new lives in a changed world, having survived the war only to find new challenges they hadn’t expected, when they return home.
A third book, Speedwell, completes the trilogy…for now…and takes the characters into the 1920’s.
“Impressively well-researched and vividly imagined”
Five Star Review on Amazon By Jenny Lloyd
This is the last book I shall review this year and I found it compelling.
Katy dreams of a different sort of life, away from the quiet, Wiltshire backwater she has grown up in. Her dreams make her reluctant to accept Jem’s proposal of marriage, as marrying him would mean giving up her dreams of travel. Katy has her head and heart briefly turned by the charms of her employer’s son. Her liaisons with him are enough to cause a minor scandal which threatens to tarnish Katy’s reputation. So, when Jem proposes again, she accepts. Surprising herself, she finds happiness and contentment in married life until tragedy strikes to break her heart and the ensuing grief creates a strain which threatens to tear the couple apart. Unable to comfort or console his grieving wife, Jem decides to sign up for the war. When he goes missing in action, presumed dead, Katy joins the war effort, too. Originally, she goes in the hope of finding Jem alive but is soon caught up in the blood, guts and mayhem of war, working at a field hospital in France.
Combining romance, historical fiction and a feminist touch, Daffodils is impressively well-researched and vividly imagined, making a worthy and respectable contribution to WW1 historical fiction. It vividly portrays the brutality and futility of war while paying homage to the bravery and camaraderie of those who were involved in all aspects of the war effort. While many novels have been written about the war, this one, for me, brought a fresh and feminist perspective to the subject. In many ways, the terrible loss and grief aside, the war was a liberating experience for many women as they were given roles which would never have been open to them otherwise. I do not hesitate to recommend.
About the Author
Alex Martin grew up in Wiltshire and its rich and ancient tapestry informs her novel, DAFFODILS. It is set in World War One, a time when the role of women changed forever. The story follows Katy, a young, naive and restless domestic servant who through personal tragedy, courage and intelligence, transforms her life and finds the adventure she always craved. She just never knew the price would be so high…
The sequel, PEACE LILY, is now published and takes the characters into the aftermath of the Great War. They have to find a new way to live in a world in which they have changed and yet the old power struggles remain. A third book, Speedwell, is planned to quickly follow and will complete the trilogy – for now.
The Twisted Vine, Alex Martin’s debut novel, is based on personal experience of picking grapes in the 1980s. Harvesting vines is like harvesting words – hard work but fun.
Alex Martin is also a qualified herbalist and aromatherapist (see www.gowerserenity.co.uk) She loves nature so much she relies on it for her health and happiness and dispenses its treasures to others. This does not pay well. Not in financial terms.
She has turned to her keyboard, her first love, for another source of income. She can mostly be found, scribbling or tapping away in her garden shed, indulging that passion, as the wind and rain lash at her little refuge.