Local Writer Releases First Novel Of Historical Trilogy

Wars, depressions and political turmoils in Elizabeth Uywin's book


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Wars, depressions and political turmoils have often tested and even destroyed many families throughout history. In the difficult years between both World Wars, Londonís inhabitants were no exception.

The story of a family in turmoil is the theme of the first of a trilogy written by Chiswick resident Wendy Howlett- Hurst, (writing under the pseudomyn of Elizabeth Uywin) Voices from the Past: The Baby is set in the 1930s. Percy Cole, a Stevedore at St Katharine's Docks, meets with a life-changing accident, and his wife Jackie, has to use all her cunning to save the family from the poorhouse.

With five children to feed, Mary, their youngest child, had to enter Reedham orphanage at the age of two, closely followed by her brother Roy- there, they fight their own separate battles within a hostile environment. The story is based on the experiences of the writer's mother, Mary, who died eleven years ago.

Wendy ( Elizabeth Uywin) was born in Braintree to a farming family in 1951. Most of her childhood memories are of helping her father on the farm, until her family moved to London to be near her grandmother. She worked as a secretary to the Chief News Editor of the Press Association and in the Court Service as a clerk, for many years.

Wendy told chiswickw4.com that she wrote the story to honour her mother, as a present for her 70th birthday. While the story is based on tales of the family told to her by her mother and grandmother, there is also an element of fiction. Having given Voices From the Past- The Baby, to her mother, who loved it, she felt inspired to delve further into her family's life as material for two more volumes, which will be published next year.

Then eleven years ago after her mother passed away she found herself with time on her hands, and she decided as she says, "to pour my grief into it" by completing the other two volumes.

"I had the skeleton of the idea and had to put flesh on the bones. My uncle Roy told me a lot and my grandmother (before she died in 1969) used to tell me stories and so I knew a bit of how my grandfather died."

Wendy also had to do considerable historical research, as when, for example she discovered that her mother was scheduled to travel aboard The Carpathia, which was sunk during the war.

The trilogy spans the years 1924 until 1947 when Mary married Wendy's father, Dennis - She was in the Land Army, and he had seen service as a Desert Rat , been a POW in Italy and Germany, and escaped several times. They married in 1947 and the trilogy stops then, as Wendy feels it ties up all loose ends.

Wendy says she is inspired by Catherine Cookson, and hopes that people can identify with the story, and enter into the lives of the characters. She sent her novels off to several publishers, and had received several rejection letters, until she sent it to Austin Macauley publishers last year and was thrilled to be accepted.

She says she had always wanted to be a writer, and had been told by friends and family that it wasn't possible However this merely strengthened her resolve. After working in the Press Association in the mornings, she spent her afternoons in their library to research the historical facts for the books.

Wendy has lived in Chiswick for 21 years in Ellesmere Road. She is currently thinking about writing her next book.

Voices from the Past: The Baby by Elizabeth Uywin, is available on Austinmacauley.com and Amazon.co.uk. It can also be ordered at Waterstones, Chiswick.

May 25, 2018

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