This weekend marks the outbreak of World War I, 105 years ago in 1914. On 2nd August the French government issued the general mobilisation order. The following day, Germany declared war on France. On 4th August, Britain in turn declared war on Germany. The stage was set for one of the bloodiest – and most futile – conflicts in history. To mark the occasion, I’m publishing below an excerpt from near the end of my latest novel, Overture, when the main characters hear the tocsin alerting the villagers to the general mobilisation.Continue reading
“But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony–Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?”
“We stood around for a bit, smoking and taking the occasional pull from the bottle. A couple of their men spoke English but no one said much. We were just a group of lads hanging about. We could have been anywhere. That’s what struck me. These Fritzes were ordinary people with parents, sisters, brothers, wives, sweethearts back home. Just like us. Exchange uniforms and you wouldn’t have noticed the difference. And yet up till now we’d been trying to thump each other into the ground. It made me think.”
‘Bertie’s Buttons’, short story in French Collection: Twelve Short Stories
Copyright © Vanessa Couchman 2018, all rights reserved.
April will see the reissue of The House at Zaronza, my novel set in early 20th-century Corsica and at the Western Front during World War I. It was first published by Crooked Cat Books in 2014, and I’m eternally grateful to them for taking me on and for everything I have learned in the process. They tell me it was their 4th bestselling eBook and I’m pleased and proud that it did so well in its first edition.
If you have a new Kindle or some Amazon gift vouchers or want to stock up your old Kindle to see you through those long winter evenings, now is your chance to buy some e-books at bargain prices. My publisher, Crooked Cat, has a sale of Kindle books on from today (27th December) until 29th December. Many titles are reduced to 99p/99¢ or equivalent across the Amazon stores.
This includes my novel The House at Zaronza, set on early 20th-century Corsica and at the Western Front during WWI. You can get a little taste of this stunning Mediterranean island – or a foretaste if you’re going on holiday there next year.
Just go to your Amazon store and type Crooked Cat Books into the search box. You’ll find a range of genres, including thrillers, crime, chicklit, romance, historical, humour and paranormal.
The sale is on for only three days, so don’t delay.
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Copyright © Vanessa Couchman 2017, all rights reserved
At 11 am on this day in 1918, the guns fell silent on the Western Front. Ninety-nine years later, none of the combatants in that terrible war is alive, but the memories still echo down the years. In France, where I live, the smallest village has its war memorial. Often, several men with the same surname appear in the list: death cut a swathe through many families. Few were unaffected. Continue reading
In most Western nations, the practice of backstreet abortion has virtually disappeared now that abortion has been legalised. I don’t intend to open a debate here about the moral issues, but rather to look at the historical background, especially in France. Continue reading