My first novel with Bold Strokes Books was Sanctuary, an angsty, deeply emotional romance set amidst the fashion industry and with two driven, powerful women competing. My latest book, The Rarest Rose, is also a romance but perhaps that is where the similarity disappears. It’s a gentler contemporary love story that hinges around a haunting, and of ghostly events that ooze great sadness from a time past, and when war spread across much of the globe. It is a time that had a significantly deep impact on everyone in Britain.
A friend (must be because she reads my books!) asked me what made me choose a story setting so contrary to my first book. It’s a good question and I think it has much to do with my real love of history. But it’s more than that. I feel very aware that next year will be the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of World War 1. As a keen reader of that period of time, especially its encompassing, powerful poetry, I have always felt drawn to its sadness and loss. There were (long gone) members of my family that never married because they lost their ‘loved ones’ in the trenches of Flanders. All this sorrow in what was absurdly called ‘The War to end all Wars’.
Anyway, back to the question of ‘why this story’? I think I sense the importance of this approaching anniversary and subconsciously wanted to acknowledge it. The fruits of that have been The Rarest Rose which delivers two love stories, both blighted, and where echoes of the past still resonate. These gentle reverberations offer direction and hope for the two contemporary ‘players’ in this book.
I know, I know, my blogs are usually full of inane upbeat whimsical comment and this one is just positively grim. But hey, blame my friend for asking me why I wrote this tale. It’s her fault. She made me think.