I’ve been secretly hoarding books for August when I’m disappearing from guest posts and blog tours to concentrate on reading books that are calling to me from my TBR pile. The Spark Girl by Fiona Ford is one of those books and I’m thrilled that Fiona has agreed to write a guest blog for Linda’s Book Bag today, all about the allure of the past.
The Spark Girl
A knock on the door early one morning wouldn’t normally be cause for concern but it is 1941, Britain is at war, and Kitty Williams’s fiancé Joe is far from home fighting Hitler with the Navy. As Kitty’s heart is shattered into pieces hearing the news she had been dreading, resolve kicks in and she becomes more determined than ever to do her bit for the war effort.
Signing up to the Women’s Army is just the sort of challenge Kitty needs and on meeting new recruits Mary, Di and Peggy, she is happy to learn that the challenge won’t be a lonely one. But it also won’t be easy and when bombs start to fall on her home town of Coventry, and supposed allies turn against her, Kitty must find the strength she never knew she had to save her family, fix her broken heart and help her country to victory.
Why do we love to live in the past?
A Guest Post by Fiona Ford
If I had a penny every time I heard a cliche I would be a very rich woman by now. Thanks to the joy of social media, platitudes such as ‘Don’t look back, that’s not the way you’re going’, or my own personal favourite, ‘the future is forward’, litter my personal news feeds, and I bet they clog up yours as well.
It begs the question, with so much life advice on looking to the future rather than the past why are we all so obsessed with times gone-by?
Whether we’re revelling in Downton Abbey, reliving our heritage in The Crown, rooting for Ross and Demelza in Poldark or simply enjoying life’s simpler times in Call the Midwife, there’s no getting away from the fact that although we’re supposed to be moving forwards, a lot of us want to hang back.
It’s certainly something I’ve been pondering of late, as my very first historical novel, The Spark Girl hits bookshelves from 1 June. For the past three years I have been living, breathing, researching and writing the life and times of World War Two and I have to say I have been extremely happy in the 1940s.
Its strange isn’t it? After all, in the 21st century we have more say in our world than ever before. New technology is being invented all the time along with better quality food, instant fashion and improved healthcare, to quote Winston Churchill, we’ve never had it so good.
So why as I lock myself away in a world more than seventy years old, do I feel so at home here? After all, World War Two was not exactly known as a time of peace, certainly not when 495,000 were killed in the UK alone and we were left with over £40 million in debt to repay.
With WWII leaving us with so much terror and heartache on our very streets, I have often wondered over the past three years just why I feel so at home in the 1940s and I think the answer is this – security.
Yes, that’s right security. Because even though almost everything of any use was rationed, bombs fell like confetti from the sky and people lived in daily terror for their lives, we know with the comfort of 21st century hindsight that everything worked out in the end. Good triumphed over evil, right won out over wrong and we as a society moved forwards and learned from the tragedies we had witnessed.
And that’s the great thing about living in the past; curled up with a book, or a decent boxset, we know as we relive the drama of those times that everything is going to be all right in the end. It might be difficult, it will often be painful but things will work out. With so much uncertainty around us at the moment, I think that’s the beauty of reminding ourselves of times gone by. We can take stock and think, goodness people survived all of that, we will too.
(I’d never thought of it like that, Fiona. Well said!)
About Fiona Ford
Fiona Ford is a freelance journalist. She has spent the last 15 years writing gritty real-life stories, news and a smidgeon of celebrity tittle-tattle for national newspapers and magazines. Following a stint as a ghost writer, Fiona plucked up the courage to combine her love of writing and history to write a novel in her own name. The Spark Girl, is her first saga.
Originally from Bath, Fiona now lives in Berkshire and is married with two cats. Thankfully, both her husband and pets have all mastered the art of pretending to listen patiently as she begins yet another anecdote with the words, ‘during the war’. When she is not writing or researching World War 2, Fiona can be found running along the Thames Path, training for a half marathon of some kind and wishing she was sat on the sofa eating chocolate instead.