15.4.18

Book Fair

Enjoyed a visit to the Book Fair at Olympia in London, which was fascinating. I attended on Tuesday first then happily met my Agent, Amanda Preston, on the Wednesday morning for a chat about what I hope to write next.


It was good to meet Victoria Connelly, a good friend, plus new ones Julianne Maclean, Imogen Clark and Jo Furniss. There I am in the centre with them.


Later, I met Victoria Pepe, my Amazon editor, which was delightful, having worked with her for some years and greatly appreciate her suggestions, help and assistance.


At six o clock I attended Lake Union Amazon Publishing party in Chelsea, which was fascinating and great fun to meet people I work with as well as other writers and friends. We were given a drink and lovely food to eat, a talk from the man in charge and when we left were given a free bag of books. Absolutely delightful. Here's a photo taken my Roy Connolly of his wife Victoria standing next to me, plus Mark Dawson and Becah, who is a great worker for Amazon and most friendly and helpful with we authors. A great experience.




1.3.18

Some Reviews of Post War Series- Published by Harper Collins

Home is Where the Heart Is 
Amazon UK

Review by Westmorland Gazette
'FREDA Lightfoot draws upon family sagas from her own childhood in Lancashire and her time spent living in the Lakeland fells for inspiration in her work.'

Review by Scunthorpe Telegraph.
'Lancashire-born teacher-turned-author Freda has come up with yet another winner with this heart-tugging tale set in Manchester at the end of the second world war.’

Review by A Spoonful of Happy Endings.
'The novel is quite fast-paced and had some twists and turns which didn't necessarily surprise me but which definitely managed to keep the story going at a good pace and made me want to keep on turning the pages. … Home Is Where the Heart Is' is a poignant, emotional and captivating wartime romance novel which I really enjoyed and I look forward to checking out more of Freda Lightfoot's work in the future!'

Review by Pam Norfolk:
‘Lightfoot brings to life the realities of the post-war period with a country ‘stony broke’ and rationing and shortages still in force, some families coping with their losses and others happy to see their loved ones home again. Love and friendship, loyalty and betrayal, hope and despair all play leading roles in this tender and sometimes disturbing tale that is sure to delight Lightfoot’s army of readers and warm up the long winter nights.’
 

1945
Christmas is approaching and Cathie Morgan is awaiting the return of her beloved fiancé, Alexander
Ramsay. But she has a secret that she’s anxious to share with him. One that could change everything between them. Her sister has died and she wants to adopt her son. When the truth is finally revealed, Alex immediately calls off the wedding, claiming that the baby is actually Cathie’s, causing all of Cathie’s fears to be realised. As Cathie battles to reassure Alex of her fidelity, she must also juggle the care of the baby and their home. 

 But then Alex crosses the line with a deceit that is unforgivable, leaving Cathie to muster the courage to forge a life for her and her nephew alone. Will Cathie ever be able to trust another man again and as peace begins to settle will she ever be able to call a house a home… 


Always in My Heart 
Amazon UK

Review by Blackpool Gazette
'Lightfoot, the queen of romance and family drama, weaves seamlessly between past and present as Brenda’s tumultuous journey unfolds against the horrors of war and the despair of loss, poverty and rejection. Brimming with emotion, heartache and intrigue, this is the perfect read for long winter evenings…'

Review by Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
'The book does deal with some heavy things, but at the same time because of how it is written it never feels dark or anything. It's like there is always hope and light at the end of the tunnel. And there will be happiness, at the very end.'

Review by  Emma Crowley Shaz's Book Blog
'Fans of historical fiction will love Always in my Heart as it's only as you reach the end do you realise what an apt title that is. People new to Freda Lightfoot's will enjoy this book particularly now as a nice alternative to all the Christmas books published at the moment. I was sad to reach the end of Brenda's story but I am already looking forward to what compelling tale Freda Lightfoot may bring to us in 2017.'

Review by The Book Trail 
'This was a really unique and fascinating angle on the wartime saga story. So much unspoken. So many layers to this. And written in a lovely, heartwarming way. A homage in fact to the real Brendas and women of the time. A novel of many emotions.'

Brenda Stuart returns to her late husband’s home devastated by his loss only to find herself accused
of bestowing favours upon the Germans. Life has been difficult for her over the war, having been held in an internment camp in France simply because of her nationality. Thankful that her son at least is safe in the care of his grandmother, she now finds that she has lost him too, and her life is in turmoil. 

Prue, her beloved sister-in-law, is also a war widow but has fallen in love with an Italian PoW who works on the family estate. Once the war ends they hope to marry but she has reckoned without the disapproval of her family, or the nation. 

The two friends support each other in an attempt to resolve their problems and rebuild their lives. They even try starting a business, but it does not prove easy. 



Peace in My Heart 
Amazon UK

Review by Lancashire Evening Post:
'Lightfoot, the queen of romance and family dramas, weaves a compelling and moving story which offers readers a glimpse into the often unseen impact of wartime evacuation and the struggle to return to normality after years of estrangement and conflict. Brimming with heartache, secrets, romance and Lightfoot’s special brand of magical storytelling, this is the perfect winter warmer for the Christmas season.'

A heartwarming story of life after the war. The war is over and Evie Talbert eagerly awaits the return

of her three children from their evacuated homes. But her carefree daughters and son are barely recognisable – their education has been disrupted, the siblings split up, and the effect on them has been life-changing. Her son has developed serious behavioural problems and with her daughters, there’s jealousy and a nervous disorder that cannot be explained… 

Evie’s husband also has problems. Having returned from being in action, he suffers nightmares and fits of rage. He’s no longer the gentle, quiet man Evie married. Peace may finally be here, but Evie’s family is in shreds. Now she must rebuild a loving home to achieve the happiness she’s always dreamed of… 

26.1.18

The Promise - Review

This is one of my favourite books, which has done well since published by Allison & Busby. If you’ve missed it then do check this review.

Reviewed by Geoffrey Harfield © Historical Novel Society 

THE PROMISE
This is an outstanding historical saga, on a par with Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers, in its family complexity. In 1948, young war widow Chrissie seeks her family’s past. The story flashes from the idyllic English Lake District to sordid San Francisco in the early 1900s, where we see Chrissie’s grandmother’s family. Then, without warning, Chrissie contemplates running a Windermere shop meeting a young chap who’ll help her fit it out.

Breathtaking Lake District landscape contrasts with the complexity of family history in ‘Frisco. With brilliant descriptions we see Chrissie’s grandmother, Georgia, forced to marry a rotter, a businessman with the power to destroy her entire family. But she has met her true love, an English sailor she bumped into, ending up with him in the mud and filth of Fisherman’s Wharf. Having lost her dastardly husband’s much longed-for son, Georgia becomes pregnant by her lover, who she secretly meets. But the 1906 earthquake and fire changes everything for her. With her mother, sister and maid they are destitute and homeless in the big city and reduced to camping out with thousands in Golden Gate Park.

Woven into the main story are many sub-plots devised to tempt the reader to reach further into the cupboard of family skeletons. If ever there were a filmic novel with great characters and loads of visual interest, this is it. The book reveals much about love and human nature as page after page of oversensitive female characters’ thoughts abound. Tensions build gradually, and the time slips back to 1948 and Chrissie and her beau. Throughout the book there is a tendency to narration overload as Chrissie discovers her grandmother’s tragic love story. This is a book of elaborate and extreme emotional introspection. If this is what you like, then this is for you.


SAN FRANCISCO 1904 Georgia Briscoe, in love with British sailor Ellis Cowper, is unwillingly betrothed to Drew Kemp. Her husband is mired in the San Francisco underworld, with a penchant for gambling and other women. Georgia plans to escape to be with the man she loves but Drew has other ideas. And then comes the earthquake… 

LONDON, 1948 Chrissie Kemp travels to the Lake District to meet her grandmother for the first time, only to discover a shocking family secret. As the truth unfurls, the passion, emotion and astounding love that blossomed in San Francisco is reveale.

You can click here to read details on this blog of the earthquake involved in this story.

Available from various bookshops and online as an ebook.

Amazon UK


5.1.18

Inspiration for Peace in My Heart

Having involved myself in a great deal of research about evacuees, I thought it would be good to show their love for Blackpool and the people who cared for them.

This idea came from a memory of my grandparents running a boarding house in the centre of Blackpool during the war, largely occupied by evacuees, Polish aircrew, soldiers taking a break, and many of their wives and children coming to visit their husbands. They apparently had a very busy and fascinating time. I learned from my father that he’d been trained as a shoe repairer when he was young before the war, working in Lytham St Annes. He remembered collecting and delivering shoes for George Formby, a lovely entertainer who lived nearby. He also used to do a lot of fishing, and knowing exactly where to do this, he would charge people to show them or provide them with some of the fish he’d caught.

Here they are sitting on the right hand side of the front row. My mother worked for his parents for a while, being his girl friend. Once the war broke out they quickly married. She moved back to live with her own mother in Accrington and worked in the textile industry throughout the war, largely producing parachutes.  My father was only twenty and had to report for infantry training at Squires Gate in Blackpool. That only lasted about six weeks although he would have preferred it to have been much longer. But the tragedy of the defeat of the Army in France and the evacuation of Dunkirk, speeded things up. He was then moved on to Manchester, Bury, Scotland and various other places throughout the war. Writing details of his service he said:

‘It was about this time that the Blitz on Manchester started, and the 6th Battalion was called in to give help to the Civil Defence and the Police. Along with other Army units this was a terrible time for the people of Manchester, as it was for other Cities in the country and we did our best to help. Our own barracks did not escape, and if not on duty we took shelter.’ 

After the war I recall as a toddler often visiting my grandparents and watching a performance of brightly lit puppets where a curtain was strung across part of the dining room. They told me that had often taken place during the war. We spent many happy days in Blackpool, my favourite visits being the Tower Ballroom, the Circus, Winter Gardens and riding a donkey on the beach. Always great fun for a young child. I remember my grandmother coming home from shopping one day to find a dusty mess of plaster and rubble on the staircase, my Grandfather having knocked open the entrance to the loft and planned to put in another bedroom. I used this incident and one or two others in the story, which was great fun. Eventually my grandparents sold the property and moved to Burnley, but my memories of this part of my family’s life, and my own memories post war, proved to be very much an inspiration as a setting for Peace in My Heart. The owners in charge of the boarding house in this story were, of course, not my grandparents but two sisters who cared for Joanne and Megan as evacuees. But would they stay with them or move back home?




The war is over and Evie Talbert eagerly awaits the return of her three children from their evacuated homes. But her carefree daughters and son are barely recognisable – their education has been disrupted, the siblings split up, and the effect on them has been life-changing. Her son has developed serious behavioural problems and with her daughters, there’s jealousy and a nervous disorder that cannot be explained… 

Evie’s husband also has problems. Having returned from being in action, he suffers nightmares and fits of rage. He’s no longer the gentle, quiet man Evie married. Peace may finally be here, but Evie’s family is in shreds. Now she must rebuild a loving home to achieve the happiness she’s always dreamed of… 

Available at WH Smith and various other book shops.

Amazon UK

Amazon US 


22.12.17

Latest News

My recent bad news is that I had a fall while enjoying a dance, but am now recovering from an operation by an excellent specialist, who has put a titanium plate in my broken wrist. It took an hour and a half, or so I was told. My memory of it was starting to watch a nurse cut off the stuff round my arm, then I was woken by the doctor who was holding his mobile phone to show me the Spanish version of The Amber Keeper, which he said his wife had bought. What a lovely man, and brilliant at treating hands. Fortunately, David was allowed to join me in the room we were granted to stay in, each of us with a single hospital bed. It also had a sofa, chair, TV and shower room. It was good to have him help care for me. Before the op I had various tests and a wonderful lady, Beatrix, directed me through the process and translated all Spanish into English for me. What a joy she was. I will hopefully be well soon after a restful Christmas

https://www.amazon.es

My good news is that celebrating the coming publication of Peace in My Heart, I’ve had a short story in Love Sunday magazine. I also have an article – 10 Things I’d Like My Readers To Know About Me – soon to appear in Female First. I have also had an interview with Talk Radio, which will be coming out in January.


Right now I’m working on proofs of Girls of the Great War, using only my left hand. It is due to be published nest spring. Now it is time for me to relax over the Christmas holiday.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

18.12.17

The Effect of Dreams Post War

Dreaming is said to be good for us. It helps us to relax and sleep well, so that we wake up refreshed. Freud claimed that dreams were an expression of our secret desires, allowing us to view the world, and ourselves, in a more positive light. They can rebuild our dented egos, replenish our own self-worth. And true dreams that we have when we are asleep, can actually resolve problems that our conscious mind has, some possibly caused by family, finance, health or work pressure. The process of dreaming can strip all those blockages away by getting right to the nub of the matter. Then we can hopefully wake up having found a peaceful resolution. Or we can discover, through our dreams, a way to deal with the source of our depression and worries in a rational way. Dreams also allow us to recall memories that have quite disappeared from our conscious mind, but are only a pleasure to us if they are happy ones. But dreaming of the reality of war would not have been easy.

In Peace in my Heart: soldiers and PoWs suffered badly from the traumas they’d experienced. Having returned from the war where he’d been held as a PoW, Donald has problems and no wish to speak of them. He was still living in the past, too authoritative, treating their sons and daughters like kids, even though they’d grown much older and more independent and were accustomed to making their own decisions now. And his dreams frequently turned into nightmares.

Cecily dreamed of her mother, loving to recall memories of her, and her hope to hear from the GI she’d fallen in love with. Her young sister Megan entirely blocked the past out of her mind, as the loss of her parents and all she’d endured as an evacuee had been too painful. All she dreamed of post war was organising her own life. Her mother, Evie, dreamed of finding her children and restoring their life as well as her own.

She must keep her family together

The war is over and Evie Talbert eagerly awaits the return of her three children from their evacuated homes. But her carefree daughters and son are barely recognisable – their education has been disrupted, the siblings split up, and the effect on them has been life-changing. Her son has developed serious behavioural problems and with her daughters, there’s jealousy and a nervous disorder that cannot be explained… 

Evie’s husband also has problems. Having returned from being in action, he suffers nightmares and fits of rage. He’s no longer the gentle, quiet man Evie married. Peace may finally be here, but Evie’s family is in shreds. Now she must rebuild a loving home to achieve the happiness she’s always dreamed of… 

You can Buy this book in WH Smith and other book shops, or on Amazon.

Amazon UK

Amazon US


5.12.17

Evacuation Of Children in WW2

It began the first day of September 1939 due to the threat of bombing. Parents were expected to pay 6s per week. Those who were not so well off were charged less and assisted by the government and people taking in evacuees were paid around eight shillings or as much as sixteen, according to the age and needs of the children. Billeting officers helped find them foster homes. Some sent out by Operation Pied Piper at the outbreak of war, involving over a million children being moved to the countryside within just a few days. More were sent in 1940 when the phoney war was over and bombing really started.

Indication of the official return was sent out in May 1945 but permitted until the war was completely over in the east. Not all children chose to come when instructed to do so. Megan, in Peace in my Heart, much preferred to stay with the landladies she thought of as their kind and caring aunts, having lived with them for three years. This was very often the case. Some children hardly recognised their parents, looking and feeling like strangers, not having seen them for years. This was often because they had little memory of their parents, felt they’d been neglected and abandoned, or simply loved their surrogate parents more. Coming home often didn’t seem much fun.

The parents were devastated when they found little show of affection from the children they’d badly missed. And many had lost loved ones for whom they were grieving. In this story Cecily and Megan discovered that their home had been bombed and had no idea where their mother was living, or even if she was still alive. Evie was, but finding her children was equally difficult, as was locating a new place for them to live. And when they found them, would they ever agree to come home and would they still love their mam and dad?

Settling in with their family after years away was never easy and adjustments had to be made by all. For some the place they’d been living during the war had been exciting, and they found it difficult to return to their previous life they considered more boring. Their personality too had changed as they’d gradually grown up with caring people in a different area. However, if they’d suffered problems as an evacuee, perhaps been overworked, neglected or abused, they ceased to trust anyone. Sometimes their class or religion could be considered wrong by their surrogate parents. Whatever problems they suffered could result in them feeling rife with stress and anxiety, depression or obstinacy. Nor had they any wish to discuss these problems with their parents, once they returned home, not wishing to recall what had happened. Evacuation had saved lives but in many cases did create yet more problems for the family.


The war is over and Evie Talbert eagerly awaits the return of her three children from their evacuated homes. But her carefree daughters and son are barely recognisable – their education has been disrupted, the siblings split up, and the effect on them has been life-changing. Her son has developed serious behavioural problems and with her daughters, there’s jealousy and a nervous disorder that cannot be explained…

Evie’s husband also has problems. Having returned from being in action, he suffers nightmares and fits of rage. He’s no longer the gentle, quiet man Evie married. Peace may finally be here, but Evie’s family is in shreds. Now she must rebuild a loving home to achieve the happiness she’s always dreamed of…

Available at WH Smiths and most book shops.


Amazon UK

Amazon US