A Poignant Anniversary: the Armistice of World War I

Every village in France has its war memorial, the lists of names a sad litany of those “morts pour la France”. The longest rollcall by far is that of World War I. Few families were spared the tragedy of deaths, sometimes multiple, injuries and enduring mental scars. More than a century later, the memory stillContinue reading “A Poignant Anniversary: the Armistice of World War I”

The Treaty of Versailles, 28th June 1919

On 11th November 1918, the armistice that ended the fighting on the Western Front came into force, although the conflict continued elsewhere. The human and economic costs of the Great War were colossal. An estimated 9.5 million soldiers and 12 million civilians died, while a further 21 million military were wounded. The total financial costContinue reading “The Treaty of Versailles, 28th June 1919”

The Unofficial Truce of Christmas 1914

As Christmas approaches, we’re moving to the end of the Historical Writers Forum December Blog Hop. This has included a lot of fascinating posts by fellow historical fiction writers on the theme of Christmas in past times. Today, it’s my turn, and I’m focusing on one of the strangest happenings during World War I. “There,Continue reading “The Unofficial Truce of Christmas 1914”

Going to War in 1914: French People’s Reactions to Mobilisation

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 mostContinue reading “Going to War in 1914: French People’s Reactions to Mobilisation”

Eleven o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month

  “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 areContinue reading “Eleven o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month”

New Horizons: Tales of Corsica

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 tellContinue reading “New Horizons: Tales of Corsica”

Post-Christmas Sale of Kindle Books

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 29thContinue reading “Post-Christmas Sale of Kindle Books”

True Inspiration for Fiction #5: the Ghosts of World War I

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 surnameContinue reading “True Inspiration for Fiction #5: the Ghosts of World War I”

True Inspiration for Fiction #4: Angel Makers

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.