Historical women’s fiction with more than a touch of romance
Keepers – released in April 2021 – came about when I was mulling over bits of family lore I’d grown up with, and it occurred to me I could over-dramatise reality and perhaps get a good story out of these snippets.
Starting with a handful of facts …
My parents met on a post WW2 migrant camp, my mother was from the Australian countryside and my dad emigrated from bombed-out East London. It was a beginning. They often talked about the camp, fondly, as a time of fun, no responsibilities, good mates they hung out with. Motor bikes with sidecars, my granddad’s ancient Pontiac which my dad assumed meant Mum’s family must be rich (ha!), going to the funfair and being, well, young. In a new place, with your whole life ahead of you.
… and spiralling out of control!
That’s where it started, but the story in my head quickly spiralled out of control. My mother would have adored living in a cabin in the hills, but she never did. And the closest Dad got to the Snowy Mountains was a day trip from Canberra when I was a student at university there. Raine, Teddy and Alf, their lives and personalities, are all in my imagination, though of course, as with all characters we write, there’s bits of (different) real people there.
When life thwarts dream after dream, it takes obstinate courage to determine a course for happiness.
Abandoned by her husband, with a young child to care for, Raine’s grief is spiced with fury. But when she discovers she’s pregnant, life gets worse.
To see what others think of what I’ve done with these bits of family lore, take a look at this review, and
“Keepers” is one of the most exhilarating books I’ve read in ages. If historical fiction is your genre, you won’t be disappointed. Cheryl Burman is a gifted writer whose words flow easily while painting extraordinarily evocative scenes. The vitality in her writing is captivating. Read the rest here.
Go here for some starter questions – get the discussion going (and include me, if you like, by email, zoom or in real life if you’re not too far away.)
You can read an extract from Keepers here.
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For the book, I did some research on post WW2 migrant camps/hostels
in Australia and my March newsletter carried this article. Fascinating stuff.
PS I entered Keepers in a novel competition and was thrilled with the feedback:
Excellent writing and intriguing opening. Convincing feel for the domestic setting but full of intriguing questions. Interesting structure too. Modest* story … written with great skill.
* This, I am told, is a publishing term for a book which isn’t full of explosives and frantic action.