It Started With A Note

One lost letter. A chance to change her life!

Superhero single mum Cath always puts other people first. But now that she’s seen her son safely off to university (phew!), life seems a little, well…empty.

So when Cath unexpectedly discovers some letters written by her great-grandfather during the First World War, she decides to take herself on an adventure to France to retrace his footsteps.

Cath expects to spend her holiday visiting famous battlefields and testing out her French phrase book. What she doesn’t anticipate is that her tour guide, the handsome Olivier, will be quite so charming! Soon Cath isn’t simply unearthing the stories of the past – she’s writing a brand new one of her own, which might end up taking her in a very unexpected direction…

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Author Bio –

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of her career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in her hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first romantic comedy novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016.

Cooke’s third novel, Who Needs Men Anyway? became a digital bestseller in 2018.

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Author Guest Post

My Fascination with WWI

Firstly, I’d like to say a huge thank you for welcoming me onto your blog.

I’d always had a keen interest in the second world war. My family and I took a trip to Normandy back in 2010 and visited the famous ‘Normandy Landing’ sites and museums there. It wasn’t until 2016 that I discovered my great-grandfather was killed in the first world war. Like so many young men, he went over the tops on 01/07/16 in the Somme Valley and never lived to see the sunset that evening. He was twenty-four at the time and left behind his wife and five-year-old daughter, Rose (my grandmother). I’ve never been able to determine whether he enlisted or was one of the many conscripted, though I would guess it was the latter. Record keeping back then wasn’t quite as up to scratch as it is today.

My research into his battalion shed little light on his last day on earth. It appears that after weeks of shelling the German trenches, the allied forces believed they would find few surviving soldiers when the whistle blew, and they were instructed to run over the tops. This was a fateful error in judgement and the allied soldiers suffered tremendous losses, many within the first hour of fighting. The first day of The Somme Offensive remains the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army to this day.

Seeing the Thiepval Memorial, where my great-grandfather’s name is inscribed was a moving experience. There are over seventy-thousand names inscribed on the memorial and the bodies of those men have never been found. As we travelled more of the famous battle sites and museums of Northern France and Belgium I became quite fascinated by the history of WWI, though it was incredibly sad at the same time. The Passchendaele Museum is one I would highly recommend but there are many places that you can visit free of charge and one of the most fascinating would be the Lochnager Crater near Albert in France. It’s a huge crater caused by a huge explosion designed to destroy German trenches. What remains there today is a huge crater which serves as a memorial. You can walk around the rim and take in views of The Somme Valley.

When I returned from my trip to France, I knew I had to somehow incorporate what I’d learned into one of my books. Being a writer of contemporary romantic comedy, that was no easy task but I think that by using my own journey as a foundation (and adding in a handsome tour guide and some quirky OAPs) I managed to. I think the result is less of a laugh-out-loud comedy but one that’s both touching and heart-warming at the same time.

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