Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Brook Cottage Books is thrilled to welcome Sue Barnard back to the blog. Sue has written a fantastic guest post for us and has kindly offered an ecopy of her new book Nice Girls Don't. All you have to do is leave a comment and all the entrants names will be pulled out of my magic giant wine-glass! The competition will end on 6th August at midnight.

Home Conflicts – the background to Nice Girls Don’t

Next week sees the hundredth anniversary of the start of the First World War – the one which at the time was called "The War To End Wars."  Sadly that title proved to be horribly and tragically inaccurate; many more wars have found their way into the history books during the ninety-odd years since the Armistice was declared in November 1918.

One such war took place in the Spring and early Summer of 1982.  This was the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina, fought over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, and it forms a distant backdrop for my new novel Nice Girls Don't.

Like Emily, the heroine of the story, I was too young to remember the Second World War, but I was brought up by people who did; my parents' and grandparents' generations had lived through one (or in some cases two) major conflicts (the second of which claimed many civilian as well as military casualties).  But the Falklands War was the first occasion in my lifetime when my home country had actively gone to war. And, just like Emily, I was confused and bewildered. Would this war, like those before it, involve conscription and mass-slaughter?  What effect would it have on the day-to-day lives of ordinary people?

This led, in turn, to my thinking back to the other major conflicts of the twentieth century, the effect they had on those who fought and those who served by standing and waiting – and the long shadows which they could still cast over future generations. What if, when researching one's family history, one discovers secrets which, because of those wars, have been kept hidden for many years due to shame and guilt?

Nice Girls Don't is perhaps best described as cross-genre.  Yes, it’s a romance, but it has a generous helping of mystery and intrigue thrown in for good measure. But it is also a story which will, I hope, challenge a few traditionally-held views. It is difficult to discuss these here in detail without giving away too much of the story, but suffice it to say that whilst two of the episodes described in the book are based on real events, most of the narrative holds up a mirror to the circumstances, ideas and attitudes of the period. I hope it will appeal to anyone who remembers the 1980s, but also that it will show younger readers (of both genders) how much has changed – hopefully for the better – over the course of a generation.

Sue Barnard
July 2014

Sue is a member of the editorial team of Crooked Cat Publishing and the author of two novels: The Ghostly Father (which was nominated for the 2014 Guardian First Book Award) and Nice Girls Don’t.  Both are published by Crooked Cat and are available in paperback and e-book form.

You can read her blog here.

Newsflash!!! Sue's book The Ghostly Father has been shortlisted in this years Not the Booker Prize in the Guardian newspaper. A fantastic book and I can highly recommend. Read my Review. 

Check out the list. Sue is in some great company! Not the Booker Prize Shortlist

3 Responses so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Although I was an adult by the Falklands War - or Malvinas conflict - it had a profound effect on me, being quarter Chilean. I wrote an article about the war's historical origins. It might have been distant in some respects but with TV it lived on our screens.

    "Nice Girls Don't" is a must read... especially after "The Ghostly Father".

  2. Congratulations to Sue for writing such a topical novel. War is everywhere at the moment and there can hardly be anyone it hasn't touched in one way or another. Great news, too,about the Not the Booker Prize.
    Thanks, JB for a really interesting post.

  3. Congrats to Marilyn Chapman (Guernsey Girl), who has won an ecopy of the book!

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