Release date - 8th December 2017
Book length - 432 pages
Publisher - Top Hat Books
Book Depository - www.bookdepository.com
Amazon UK - www.amazon.co.uk
Amazon US - www.amazon.com
I want to thank Frances Teehan for the opportunity to shine a spotlight on this book and the author, David Matthews, for a fascinating guest post. Here is all you need to know about the book:
ABOUT THE BOOK
No-one thought Bertie Simmonds could speak. So, when he is heard singing an Easter hymn, this is not so much the miracle some think as a bolt drawn back, releasing long-repressed emotions with potentially devastating consequences...
A decade later, Bertie marries Anstace, a woman old enough to be his mother, and another layer of mystery starts to peel away.
Beginning in a village in Kent and set between the two World Wars, That They Might Lovely Be stretches from the hell of Flanders, to the liberating beauty of the Breton coast, recounting a love affair which embraces the living and the dead.
David Matthews was a teacher for twenty-two years and a head teacher for eleven. His play 'Under the Shadow of Your Wings' was professionally directed and performed in the summer of 2015, as part of Croydon's heritage festival. David divides his time between family life in Croydon and renovating a cottage in south-west France.
For more information:
Website - www.dnmatthews.co.uk
Read on for an interesting guest post from David Matthews about his ancestors.
My study is in the eaves of the house. At the turn of the stairs, leading to this room, I have hung photographs of some of my forebears. Even though I never knew most of them and they would have lived their lives blissfully unaware that anyone like me would ever descend from their metaphorical loins, I value the sense of continuity which their ‘presence’ brings. I commune with these ancestors several times a day on my way up and down stairs.
There is Henry Chamberlain, a paternal great-grandfather, who was a railway signalman in rural Herefordshire. He stares out at the camera, gruff with an obstinacy in the set of his mouth. Perhaps he finds having his picture taken tedious. Perhaps this expression comes from a learned defence against cajolery, having lived with two lively, headstrong daughters.
Along the wall are Jesse and Emma Forsdyke, great-great-grandparents on my mother’s side. They were from Suffolk. The picture I have shows them head and shoulders, side-by-side. He sports a great, wispy beard. She twinkles toothlessly, clearly proud to be wearing her best lace collar for the photograph. Their lives would have been largely indistinguishable from those of their forebears, stretching back centuries, working the land or plying their skills and crafts in that corner of Suffolk around Woodbridge. No doubt to have their likeness taken would have been a rare affair.
Jane Matthews, my great-aunt, was a stunner. As was the fashion at the end of the 19th century, she wears her abundant hair swept up, coiled and pinned. She was, I believe, like her brother my grandfather, a coppery red-head. Of all her siblings, she was the most wayward. After giving birth to one illegitimate son, whom she handed over to her two unmarried sisters to care for, she left for America to join her eldest brother Will. She changed her name to Marguerite and set herself up as a music teacher. A husband turned up in due course but, no doubt to conceal something of her shadier past, contact with her family back in Gloucester gradually ceased. She never returned to England.
I wish I knew more about these people whose faces adorn my stairwell. It is a matter of huge regret to me that the thousands upon thousands of stories – the lives lived by our forebears – have been largely lost to us. We tend to look forward, forging our lives anticipating a future. We are often heedless of the past until the people who could bring it to life for us are dead and all the memories they once enshrined lost forever. At best they are a mere name on a memorial.
Perhaps our new, data-rich age will leave our descendants with an abundance of material (from social-media profiles to spending histories) from which our stories might be distilled. It might need flair with narrative to bring us to life again but that is what writers have.
MY THANKS AGAIN TO DAVID MATTHEWS FOR PROVIDING THIS GUEST POST.
Hi fellow bookworms. My name is Linda and I'm a reviewer & blogger, wife & mother who loves all things books!
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