Wednesday 4 January 2017

A KISS FROM FRANCE by Susan Hughes

Amazon UK  £1.99 / £4.54
Amazon US   $ 2.58 / $13.99
Amazon CA $ n.a / $n.a ?

This title was shortlisted for Book of the Month

Romance / Family Drama
WWI / 1917

"Dangerous munitions work links two very different women in WWI Britain. Ambitious Lizzie Fenwick puts a note in a box of ammunition shells which triggers an exciting wartime romance. In the face of increasing casualty figures, patriotic Eunice Wilson is overcome with regret for shunning her conscripted husband. Events soon mean Lizzie must make hard choices and accept that a less romantic future beckons. Meanwhile, Eunice attempts to cope with personal tragedy. Peace returns, but with it comes the discovery of a betrayal which sets the two women on a potential collision course where they must confront everything they thought they knew about love and loyalty. And let go of what they want to hold on to most."

Life in 1917 was tough, especially when the munitions factories during the Great War needed workers. With the men away at the front, the task fell to the women. It was hard, long and dangerous. Conditions were bad, and many of the girls lost their lives. But they brightened their gruelling days by writing notes to slip into the munitions boxes in the hope that their words would spread a bit of joy in the trenches. Lizzie was the only one to get a reply, although Harry’s letters did not come often and he didn’t say where he was.

Eunice found it hard to forgive her Jack because he was the last on the street to join up – leaving her and their son to fend for themselves, but at least she could now walk down the road with pride.

This is a wonderful novel about love, although it is not a romance as such. The story explores decisions that had to be made, some easy, some harsh – with some scenes heartbreaking, some that make you smile, some where you can't turn the pages fast enough to find out what happens next. It is a story of the women, and how they survived, or tried to. What struck me about the reality of the Great War - I didn't even realise there were munitions factories at this time, We hear a lot about the Somme, the trenches, a lot about the Blirz of World War Two, but its these details of what was happening here at home that often hit hardest of all.

Full marks for this fabulous debut novel. Susan Hughes promises to be a talented author worth watching and looking out for - I hope she is going to write more books, and many of them!

©Helen Hollick

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  1. Thanks for a lovely, encouraging review! Pushed me on to get on with editing revisions for the next one.

  2. Replies
    1. A Kiss from France is a brilliant book Loretta!

  3. Replies
    1. Glad you like it! It took a while for my cover designer and I to get it just how we wanted it.

  4. Thanks for buying the book, Ginger Dawn. Much appreciated. As Helen says, Silverwood only promote their own authors. Author's own pages or websites will probably give you a more personal insight into what we're up to and if we've published other books elsewhere. Hope you enjoy reading A Kiss.

    1. Ah but on Amazon all that information is computer generated, it isn't 'personal' (I do so love getting an email from them suggesting my own books!) Plus I think small companies (like SilverWood for instance) only have a few staff, they don't have time for the 'marketing' side of things, and then there's the grumpy author who complains that 'you promoted XXX last week, why aren't you promoting me?'. And the big publishing houses rarely do anything at all - except for their huge bestseller names. For traditional publishing most authors get a two week promotion slot - and that's it. However - I think you've sparked a super idea for one of our future Reader's Voice topics Ginger Dawn (see menu bar at the top for the new page) so thank you and watch this space!

  5. Hi Dawn, it's good to hear you enjoyed Susan's novel. In the SilverWood office, we always speak very warmly of you and your support for indie and self-published authors, so I'm so sorry to hear you feel we don't interact with readers. We're a tiny team at SilverWood, but we do work hard to keep a close eye on social media -- although it can be challenging to keep up with all the thousands of followers we have. I wonder if you dropped off our Facebook feed when you temporarily suspended your FB account? I know in the past I've "liked" your comments and chatted with you. You are always welcome to email if one of us hasn't replied to a query:

    I agree the subject of publishers and readers (and their interaction) would make a wonderful debate topic, so rather than go on too much here I look forward to further discussion in the near future :-)

    Helen x


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