Mary Rosie’s War by Catherine M Byrne
WW2 has been declared. A strange find on the beach gives Mary Rosie the chance to fulfil her dreams and contribute to her country, but all is not what she imagined.
After witnessing the first bomb to be dropped on mainland Britain, Mary watches her friends leave to join the forces and longs to be with them, but is held back by loyalty to her widowed mother.
France has capitulated. Johnny Allan’s regiment has been annihilated by German troops north of Paris. Johnny has to find a way to get home and to the girl who no longer waits for him.
Leisel is a German Jew who lost her family to the Nazis and has to make her way in Britain, a strange new country, while harbouring a desire for revenge.
Their lives become entangled in a way that no one could have envisaged.
A story about war, family ties, love, loyalty and loss.
Purchase from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Rosies-War-Catherine-Byrne-ebook/dp/B07D9W7QTC
Catherine Byrne always wanted to be a writer. She began at the age of eight by drawing comic strips with added dialogue and later, as a teenager, graduated to poetry. Her professional life however, took a very different path. She first studied glass engraving with Caithness Glass where she worked for fourteen years. During that time she also worked as a foster parent. After the birth of her youngest child she changed direction, studying and becoming a chiropodist with her own private practice. At the same time she did all the administration work for her husband’s two businesses, and this continued until the death of her husband in 2005. However she still maintained her love of writing, and has had several short stories published in women’s magazines. Her main ambition was to write novels and she has now retired in order to write full time.
Born and brought up until the age of nine on the Island of Stroma, she heard many stories from her grandparents about the island life of a different generation. Her family moved to the mainland at a time when the island was being depopulated, although it took another ten years before the last family left.
An interest in geology, history and her strong ties to island life have influenced her choice of genre for her novels.
Since first attending the AGM of the Scottish Association of Writers in 1999, Catherine has won several prizes, commendations and has been short-listed both for short stories and chapters of her novels. In 2009, she won second prize in the general novel category for ‘Follow The Dove’
In 2016 The Road to Nowhere won second prize in the Barbara Hammond competition for Best Self Published novel. The follow up, Isa’s Daughter won 1st prize in the same competition the following year.
Although the books follow the fortunes of the same family, they are all stand-alone.
The fifth book in the Raumsey series is Mary Rosie’s War.
Catherine Byrne lives in Wick, Caithness.
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Seasons of the heart.
When I was a child, I loved my island home, with the high dome of sky that enclosed my world. It was an enchanting place where seasons each brought their own brand of magic.
The thin cries of new lambs came from over the rise, greeting the springtime as surely as the plants pushed their heads through the sun-warmed soil.
Then summer, with its memories of warm hay and ripening corn, undulating like waves in the breeze.
In autumn the days grew shorter, and the first chill of winter whispered from the north.
Ah, winter. Storm-stuck boats and low supplies and the constant hope of snow; sledging, igloos, snowmen, frozen fingers and toes, a blazing fire and hot soup.
And all year long, constant sea traffic rose from where sky and sea became one, and then grew large as they sailed through the channel that separated us from the mainland, before shrinking again and slipping over the edge of the world. I wondered what happened to them then, when I could see them no more. With my imagination taking flight, I made paper boats and paper people and set them free on the pond behind my Grandmother’s cottage. But they only grew soggy and sank.
With no other children nearby with whom to play, I often slipped into my own world of make believe. Did that fuel my desire to write?
Then I was taken away from the sea and the sky and the animals and the freedom to run among them like a young hare. A small boat packed full of people, pets and belongings carried us towards a bright new future, or so I was told. But you can’t tear up a sapling and transplant it in a city street and expect it to flourish.
I missed the open spaces, the freedom to be alone that the concrete jungle never afforded me. And always, as life got in the way, I dreamed of having the time to write and take my characters to the past to when my childhood home was not the abandoned waste it had become; to a time before the cottages stared with blank eyes, the roofs fell inwards, and weeds covered the metalled roads. To a time before the sheep and the birds and the rabbits claimed ownership. I chose the year 1900, and my Raumsey series was born.
Although fictional, my characters, Isa and Davie, are based loosely on real people. As well as stories handed down to me by my mother and grandmother, I immersed myself in research: illegal whisky distilling, the floating shops of Orkney, box socials, shipwrecks, crofting, fishing and always, the constant struggle against poverty and the elements.
The series follows the lives of my fictional family through two world wars, through emigration, to Canada and back, to Glasgow, to Spain, but always returning to the roots that are buried deep within the Highland soil.
I have strived to engage all my reader’s emotions. I want them to laugh and cry and feel afraid. I want them to be unable to put my book down, while at the same time, dreading it ending. I want the story of Isa and Davie and their descendants to stay in hearts and minds for a long time.
Because of my dislike of books that end on a cliff-hanger, all of mine are stand-alone. Mary Rosie’s War is my latest and the fifth book in this series and takes us up and through WW2. The first bomb to be dropped on mainland Britain was dropped on Wick, the town where I have lived since I left my island home.
In Mary Rosie’s War, the family have moved from the island to the mainland, which puts them in more danger. There is a fear that the enemy might sneak in via the back door, the easy option, a point in the UK furthest away from London. Service men from all forces have been posted to the north, while local lads have been called up and sent to the front. It is a time when everyone lives on the edge, knowing that at any time tragedy could hit themselves or their loved ones. And yet a time when love and courage shines through.
Giveaway – 1st Prize – all 4 of Catherine Byrne’s previous books in paperback .
6 x Runners Up Prizes – PB copy of Broken Horizon (UK Only)
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