I am over the moon to welcome Elin Gregory to the blog today. She’s one of my favourite authors and a cracking storyteller, and she has a new story coming out today from the Manifold Press Espresso Shot imprint—a neat way to describe a novella, although with the speed I read these days, I’ll need at least a double shot.
As war rages in France, battles are also being fought on the Home Front.
Bethan Harrhy, farmer’s wife, does her best to keep her family happy as prices rise and the weather worsens. Nye, her husband, is angry and worried. Alwyn, her brother, is injured and shaken by his experiences in the trenches. Her baby is teething and there’s another on the way. Surely having her brother’s best friend to stay, another face, another voice, another pair of hands, can only be a good thing? But when Joe arrives, Bethan is forced to confront ideas she had never even guessed at and makes a terrible mistake.
With conflict at home and abroad, can there be a happy ending for any of them?
Publication Date: 01 November
Publisher: Manifold Press
Length: 58 pages / approx. 21k words
On the day of Joe’s arrival, Alwyn helped her to change his sheets. They pulled the fresh linen taut, tucked the blankets in then covered all in his freshly laundered quilt. Squares and stars of soft blues and greys. Bethan could remember many of the worn-out garments that made up its fabric; here a frock and there a shirt, and the nights she and Ma had spent snipping and stitching. Made with love and all the warmer for that.
“You should sleep snug enough.” Bethan smoothed the quilt over the pillows. “Are you sure Joe won’t mind?”
“He won’t mind.” She could hear Alwyn’s smile. “We slept close often enough in the trenches. At least here there’s no mud. Or rats.”
“Alwyn Beynon! The cheek of it. As if I’d allow rats in your bedroom.” When Alwyn didn’t reply she asked, “Will you walk to meet him or take the trap?”
“Nye said I could take Polly.” Alwyn, who had overseen the birth, growth and training of Polly years before either of them had set eyes on Nye Harrhy, didn’t seem to mind Nye’s unnecessary permissions. “Joe’s not coming for just a few days. He’ll most probably bring all his things.”
There was a note of hope in his voice that made Bethan all the more eager to welcome his friend to their home. In fact, now she came to think of it, Alwyn seemed better. Standing taller, speaking more often in a stronger voice. He had even smiled when she got him to help her fluff up the eiderdown by tossing it high.
Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and has been making stuff up since 1958. Writing has always had to take second place to work and family but now the kids are grown up it’s possible she might finish one of the many novels on her hard drive and actually DO something useful with it.
Historical subjects predominate. She has written about ancient Greek sculptors, 18th century seafarers but also about modern men who change shape at will and how echoes of the past can be heard in the present. Heroes tend to be hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow.
There are always new works on the go and she is currently writing a sequel to Eleventh Hour, planning a series of contemporary romances and doing background reading for a stories set in Roman Britain and the Second World War.