Dear bookseller friends,
When HarperCollins suggested I might write a novel based on the First World War I wondered if it was possible to say anything new. But then I realised: relatively little had been written about the war from a woman’s perspective.
A hundred years ago, thousands of women enjoyed the liberating experience of going out to work for the first time, but it was a false dawn. At the end of the war, returning soldiers were offered their jobs back, and women were simply laid off. As well as losing their independence, they faced a painful post-war readjustment to life without fathers, sons, fiancés and husbands, or to the return of loved ones who had been irrevocably changed. This is what I chose to write about.
Today, there is another side to the story: women themselves go to war. I was lucky enough to be introduced to two remarkable young women who served on the front line in Afghanistan as Army medics. Finding myself awed and moved by their extraordinary courage, selflessness and modesty, I knew that I wanted to reflect this very different perspective on the impact of war on women.
The iconic symbol of the remembrance poppy and the poppy fields of Afghanistan became my linking themes, and I am thrilled that HarperCollins is giving a donation for every copy sold to the Poppy Factory charity, which still produces millions of poppies and helps disabled veterans back into employment, nearly a hundred years since it was founded.
Thank you so much for your support in bringing The Poppy Factory to a wider readership, and helping the real-life Poppy Factory at the same time.
With best wishes
PS I love bookshops, work closely with my local booksellers and do all I can to promote your work when I am out and about talking to readers. Long may you thrive!
28 Aug 2014