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In a Field of Blue

 


Published and edited in the US.

The Great War has ended, but its shadow lingers...

England 1922. It’s been four years since Rudy’s brother Edgar went missing in war-torn France. Still deep in mourning and grappling with unanswered questions, Rudy and his mother struggle to move on. When the enigmatic Mariette arrives unexpectedly at the family’s manor claiming to be Edgar’s widow, and the mother of his child, Rudy urges her to stay, hoping she’ll shed light on the missing pieces.

Captivated by Mariette, Rudy finds that their mutual loss and grief bind them…as does the possibility of new love. But Mariette’s revelations bring more questions than answers about Edgar’s death. Suspicions threaten to divide Rudy’s already fractured family, setting him on a quest for the truth that takes him from England to France and beyond.

In his search, Rudy is forced to confront the tragedies of war and the realities of the brother he’s lost and the woman he’s found. Will the truth set him free to find peace, or will it forever shadow his future?

Historical Novel Society review here.

Thank you Lake Union for the incredible editing, art, marketing, and production. The quality of work behind the scenes has made this experience seamless once again. Brilliance Audio and their equally brilliant narrators, Steve West, Sarah Naughton, Will M. Watt & Elliot Hill, have done an exceptional audiobook.

There were countless sources for background information to assist me with the completion of this book, but I would like to give particular credit to the Cercle d’histoire et d’archéologie de Bailleul, the Sir John Monash Centre, and the Franco-Australian Museum of Villers-Bretonneux.  Invaluable to my understanding and the storytelling were the firsthand war accounts by my grandfather, Alan Lindsay, who served at Gallipoli, and the archived diaries and letters of servicemen, which allowed me a very personal perspective of the relentless shelling and unimaginable conditions that soldiers were subjected to. Also helpful were the letters home from my great uncles who established lumber company in British Columbia in the early 20th century.

In April 1918, Bailleul and the surrounding villages were evacuated, and the Allies were once again forced into fierce battles to take back the region. I was fortunate to visit there, one hundred years later, to absorb the enormity of those sacrifices made on the Western Front.

Imperial War Museum image Q7026. The main asylum building in Bailleul, 1 September 1918.

Most people in the region of Bailleul and the villages surrounding were evacuated prior to the second invasion by the German army. Some who didn’t leave were captured and taken to German prisons. But for the period of occupation in April 1918 in my book, I’ve taken some fictional license to imagine the conditions and setting for my characters at the end of their war experiences.  

The following links offer brief details on the locations used in the story, including name changes, county formation, and events:

https://www.visitcumbria.com/
https://www.visitcumbria.com/history/
https://www.lakelandmuseum.org.uk
https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/aboutus/nat_parks_history/ https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/battlefields/gazetteer-of-the-western-front/gazetteer-of-the-western-front-bailleul/

I like to rough out a map of the area and structures at the commencement of any story. Of course, like the story, the manor design evolved along the way ...
Click here for Lakeland outline and floor plans.

This abandoned English manor was my original inspiration for Lakeland.

The poems by William Wordsworth inspired my pre-teen writings, and I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud was one of the first poems I learnt by heart.  My very first destination when I eventually arrived in Cumbria was to visit the poet’s grave.

His sister, Dorothy, wrote about the region in Lakeland Journals.

 

I wandered Lonely as a Child
(First Verse)

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 


 

© Gemma Liviero 2018

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