Tag Archives: Richard Vaughan Davies

painting of White Cliffs of Dover with VE Day dates and Hawkesbury Upton

Happy VE75 Day – from HULF’s Authors of WWII-inspired Books

Before Covid-19 scuppered Hawkesbury Upton’s plans for a special commemorative  event of VE75 Day in and around the village hall, we had booked a stall to stage a mini-festival of books inspired by World War II. 

Six HULF authors were looking forward to sharing their books and their experience with visitors. Although they now can’t be here in person, we’d still like to share their books with you, which would all make great reading as we mark this special day.

Young RAvens by Celia Boyd

Celia Boyd’s children’s story will also be enjoyed by adults

Celia Boyd‘s Young Ravens  tells the story of a young girl and her little brother during the Second World War, When her parents divorce, Sheila and her brother are sent by her solder father (who has custody of the children) to live with her grandparents in Sheffield, Sheila must adapt fast and learn to accept and thrive in her new circumstances.

Click here to order a copy.

Uncle Walters Secret by Will Fenn

“A thrilling tale of intrigue, history, passion and covert operational planning based on real events around World War 2” – reviewer on Amazon

Hawkesbury author Wiliam Fairney, best known for his books about engineering and engineers, as diverted from the usual engineering theme of his books to pen a history book called Uncle Walter’s Secret (published under the pen-name Will Fenn), an exciting tale of intrigue, espionage, torture, loyalty, betrayal and retribution based on true events.

Click here to order the ebook or paperback.

cover of Collateral Damage by Edward James

A personal memoir in prose and verse

Edward James, who has previously brought his historical novels set in Tudor times to HULF (read his guest post for the HULF blog here.), was planning to bring Collateral Damage, his personal memoir of growing up during the Second World War. It is a short collection of five short prose pieces and two poems, which, Edward says, “are not about the horrors of war but about growing up in a world which seemed normal at the time and was quite mad by today’s standards”.

A limited private print run means that copies are only available directly from the author, so if you would like to buy a copy, please contact HULF and we will pass your order on to Edward.

image of covers of Rosalind Minett's trilogy

Like Edward’s memoir, Rosalind Minett‘s war-time trilogy, series title A Relative Invasion, is more about the characters than the events. Her compelling and powerful story of conflict and competition between two very different cousins is a psychological drama that just happens to be set during the war. However it brings vividly to life the experience of living in London suburbia and then being evacuated to the countryside during the war years. The three books in order are: Impact, Infiltration and Intrusion.

Click here to order paperbacks or ebooks.

Through the Eyes of a Teenage Girl

Bombweed cover

The Second World War through the eyes of a teenage girl

The story behind Bombweed is an interesting one. It was originally written in 1957 by Margaret Smith, the mother of Gillian Fernandez Morton and Maureen Armstrong, drawing on her own experience of being a teenager during the Second World War. However in the aftermath of war, when the nation’s focus was on building a bright new future, publishers declared they were not interested in books harking back to those dark days. In 2018, Margaret’s daughters decided it was time to share it with the public, and edited it for publication for a 21st century audience. It offers fascinating insights into the effect of the war on teenagers and on women in general.

Click here to buy it as a paperback or ebook.

In the Shadow of Hitler

Although Richard Vaughan-Davies‘s thriller In the Shadow of Hitler is mostly a story set in the immediate aftermath of the war, focusing on the affair of a British lawyer working in Germany with a local woman, but it tells a much wider story through flashbacks to the war, and also earlier, addressing the impact on one man, Adam, of the rise and fall of Hitler,  even into Adam’s old age. This compelling and thoughtful novel also provides one interpretation of the rumour that Hitler fathered a child by Unity Mitford, bringing the Cotswolds also into the story. A fascinating, evocative and intelligent read.

Order your copy in paperback or ebook here.

painting of White Cliffs of Dover with VE Day dates and Hawkesbury Upton

Whatever you are doing on this special day, HULF sends you its very best wishes. 

A High Time at HULF by Maureen Armstrong

What a buzz!! Arriving in the school hall at the start of the day, we found the place crowded, and humming with conversations. We set up our books in the allotted space, got my Author badge, and sat with a cup of coffee to absorb the atmosphere.

The good folk in the cafe were working flat out from the moment we arrived (Photo: Angela Fitch Photography)

The good folk at the “Alice in Wonderland” themed food counter were working flat out. There were excited children from the school, whose book of poems was being launched at HULF. (What a good idea to make sure every child’s poem was included.) Authors were busy setting up their displays, and Debbie Young was gathering her speakers for the opening ceremony. Then the Festival began in earnest, with an introduction by key speaker Brad Borkan, and some of the Hawkesbury Upton children reading their poems.

The programme was so extensive, it was hard to decide which talk to choose. We went to the Village Hall, to hear Dr Gerri Kimber talk about New Zealand author Katherine Mansfield. It was a fascinating look into the life and works of a woman who was a ground-breaker in early 20th century literature, and one of the first to focus her work entirely on short stories.

photo of Gerri Kimber addressing the audience

We enjoyed Dr Gerri Kimber’s talk about Katherine Mansfield (Photo: Angela Fitch Photography)

After lunch it was our turn to talk, as part of  the Panel Conversations in the Bethesda Chapel. With the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two, this year, it was appropriate that our session featured novels about the impact of WWII on civilians.

Richard Vaughan-Davies‘ novel In the Shadow of Hitler portrayed the utter devastation of Hamburg, and raised serious moral questions about victory and defeat.

cover of Bombweed

Bombweed was written by Maureen and Gillian’s smother

Then we discussed our novel Bombweed, originally written by our mother in 1947, which tells how women in England survived bombing, evacuation, rationing, and bereavement, but still found fun, friendship, and even love.

Finally Rosalind Minett introduced us to her trilogy, A Relative Invasion, in which the relationship between two boys develops through the war and post-war years. I found the descriptions of bullying painfully real. The message that your own family is not necessarily the one to give you love and support came over very clearly.

We then hurried back to the Village Hall to be thoroughly entertained by Lucienne Boyce‘s presentation “Make More Noise!”, which was actually a programme of silent film clips about the Suffragettes. We were both laughing and angry at some of the “comic” films – who would have thought that women were supposed to be punished by being made to wear trousers for two weeks!

Finally, it was back to the school for more tea and delicious cakes, and the closing ceremony.

We had a lot of interest in our novel Bombweed. Full information, including reviews and how to order, is available on our website www.gfmortonbombweed.com.

Gillian Fernandez Morton and Maureen Armstrong