From Liverpool’s best-loved author comes a superb novel of loss and grief, love and hope, set on Merseyside in 1920.
When her husband dies suddenly, Louise Gilmore and her daughters Edna and Celia are left with nothing but debts. Forced to move from their fine Liverpool house with servants to a run-down cottage in Hoylake, the three women must learn to make their way in an entirely new world.
Although they live with fear, uncertainty and even despair, the women find there are also unexpected opportunities in store.
This is a heartwarming story of family relationships and a powerful portrait of a nation changed forever by the Great War.
Helen’s grew up in the immediate aftermath of World War I. Even as a very young child she was aware of its direct and indirect impact on the society of the time. Her parents’ friends discussed the war and she recalls one of them letting her feel the metal plate in his skull. In Mourning Doves she explored this time in depth.
She told a friend who owned a beautiful bookshop in Chester about the book as she was writing it.
“I am writing a new book based on the thesis that 3,500,000 men died in the First World War and their sons, if any, were taken in the Second World War – and that Britain and Western Europe have never recovered from the loss of their brightest and best. It is encapsulated in a simple story of three women trying to find a life for themselves where they must, somehow, earn a living, for which they were not prepared. I hope I can make it interesting.
“At present, I am reading The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell, which evokes for me my childhood, when over my head, going back and forth, was conversation about nothing else except death and dying, as the survivors re-fought their battles again and again, over the new cocktails or my mother’s best teacups and mothers friend’s read soldiers’ poetry to each other. No wonder I am finding that I can recreate the times!”
After the book was published she told a fan, “I was particularly grateful to have a reader who appreciates just how much research goes into such a book. I myself was born in 1919. The time period covered by Doves was just on the edge of my memory as a tiny girl, so everything had to be checked, for fear I had misunderstood.”