Posts Tagged ‘Research’

 

A Captivating West Country Family Saga

The Flower Seller is a fascinating story of a young woman’s descent from luxury to rural poverty after her beloved papa’s death. The openness and honesty of Isabella draws the reader in as they share her struggles to adjust to an alien lifestyle and family who at first she seems to have no common connection. Then the pace quickens and the pages turn as we want to know if she succeeds in turning her misfortunes around.

The story features another of Linda Finlay’s signature themes of old Devon crafts and wares – this time violet growing around Dawlish. As usual, the author’s talent for research is in evidence as her words, characters and dialect, bringing the world of Devonshire violet growers in the late nineteenth century to life. Light hearted moments between Isabelle and her cousin Dotty or the attractive business rival Felix are in sharp contrast with scenes of darkness and despair, snobbery and corruption.

This is a satisfying novel about a young woman’s rise to fulfillment and is just right for this year of celebration of one hundred years of woman’s suffrage.

Highly recommended.

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Another satisfying read by my author friend Linda Finlay with a local setting in Torquay.
Linda Finlay’s extensive research of life in the periods of history she writes about ensure a compelling novel that takes you back in time, this time to 1901 the time of Ragged Schools and the rise of the suffragette movement. ‘Orphans and Angels’ is the author’s second book about the Red Cliffs Ragged School. In it we meet the owner Sarah Sullivan who is still struggling to keep the children safe and the school open, helped in her endeavours by dishy school master Harry Higgins. The inimitable Mrs Daws is still in the kitchen making sure that whatever else befalls them the children have a good meal inside them, and the school has a new teacher in the form of the lyrical Sheena O’Reilly whose delightful presence and skills at story telling sets the scene for conflict and catastrophe.

As in all of Linda Finlay’s writing the characters come to life on the page. I especially enjoyed reading how the children are developing, from new arrival the grieving and surly Soloman to independent Edith, as well as sharing in Sarah’s struggles to stick to her feminist beliefs and retain her friends and overcome her lack of money.

‘Orphans and Angels’ is a wonderfully satisfying read that will keep you engaged until the last page.

 

Mark Walsh (back) and a Youth Court USA style

Mark Walsh (back) and a Youth Court USA style

I was delighted to see police officer, Mark Walsh appear on BBC Breakfast this Friday to talk about Hampshire Police Force’s ground breaking use of Community Youth Courts. I’d been impressed by the way they worked back in 1995 when I’d visited them as part of my Churchill Fellowship. As I munched my cereal, I wasn’t surprised to hear Mark say how well these courts, administered by young people volunteers, were working to stop young first time offenders’ further involvement in crime. What did surprise and please me was when Mark told the programme how he’d developed the idea after his own Churchill Fellowship to the USA in 2013. It reminded me what a brilliant opportunity Churchill Fellowships provide. My Fellowship was about communities working with police, businesses and local councils to make their streets safer places to live in and my research, like Mark’s, was used to set up a new approach to community policing.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fund the Fellowships for UK citizens to investigate such ground-breaking practice in other countries and return with innovative ideas to benefit their community or profession. The categories for Fellowships for 2016 include ‘Mental health – Community Based Innovation’; ‘Environment, Sustainable Living and Horticulture’ and ‘Crafts and Makers – and the deadline for applications is the 22nd of September. For more information check out the link below:

Churchill Fellowships WCMT-logo