Sunday, 22 July 2012

Land of Your Possession: Stage 3 in my Novel Marathon

Another significant cover by Len Thurston
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Using an aspect of your own life in fiction

I was born in Lancaster but conceived in Coventry just before the great World War 2 Blitz.  My dad worked in the aero industry in that city, which made it such a desired target for the German bombers.
      These events were part of our family story for years afterwards and years later I used them as the core inspiration for my novel Land of your Possession.
    I also brought back my central character Lizza who appeared in my first novel as a young girl. She, her sisters and, all live on in this World War 2 novel in which Lizza is a young mother, living in Coventry with her husband Roland who works in the aero-industry...

For You

About The Story
On the  terrifying night of the Blitz when Coventry loses its cathedral, the pregnant Lizza is comforted in her grief at the death of her daughter Rebecca not by her husband Roland but by Krystof, the Polish refugee who understands Lizza's feelings only too well.  Her home in ruins, her marriage crumbling and with two motherless children of neighbour in her care, Lizza heads for Durham, the home land of her possession, where only stray bombs fall.

Extract From near the beginning:

As she tucked Rebecca's blanket around her again, the war weaved itself through Lizza's head like a clinging vine. Ever since the summer she'd listened to the thrum-thrum of the planes, seen the dazzle of the tracer bullets across the Coventry sky, heard the thrump and boom of bombs falling in the spasmodic air raids  By now, however, the routine of warnings, the rush to the shelters and the clatter of the ack-ack had given her, in her optimistic moods, an illusion of protection, a feeling of control.
       After all there were still dances and the pictures. Queues most nights. Up till this last rush of work at the factory Roland and Lizza had gone dancing every Saturday. Roland loved to dance.  Lizza was proud of her husband's grace as he steered her expertly through the soldiers and their girlfriends and through the women dancing together, moving around the floor as though they were the only two dancers in the hall. 
       They had learned to dance in a little studio in Bradford: in that twenty foot square space their sturdy boy-girl friendship had  imported the sensuality that turned it into love. Even then Roland had cut a different figure, with his cultured voice and stories of his father sailing the high seas the other side of the world.
     Smiling at the thought, Lizza nodded cheerfully at Mrs Callaghan and walked on into town, forgetting the Ouija glass and its dire warnings. 

Extract from near the end:

(Lizza and Krystof have met in Durham Cathedral)

'i was thinking about what you said about your churches when you were a child. The feeling you had, about man-made beauty and anither creator.'
    'Did you feel it?'
    'I don't know. I felt something.'
    They sat quietly for a few moments then she grasped his hand, 'Let's think about Wanda, And all our children,' she said. 'Their passing must never go unremarked,'
     The boy in the choir started singing again and they sat quietly waiting fpr the song to end. Then Krystof pulled her hands together and placed his own over them. 'And let us think about our two selves, two halves of a whole,who will never be apart' ...
     ...They held hands all the way home and Krystof told her of the high praise his paintings had received and the proposal to tour the exhibition.
     She frowned. 'You mean, not to sell the paintings? All that hard work?'
    'Oh they'll sell eventually. That means the Spitfires and ourselves will benefit...'
     ...  She was just walking along the street, shoulder to shoulder with Krystof thinking what a good day it had been, when she saw the familiar car parked outside Campion House. It was the Morris, Roland's pride and joy, which she had last seen without wheels in the garage of the Coventry house. It had wheels on now and the dust of many miles of travel on its once highly polished bonnet.

I hope you enjoy it ...

Scroll down to find out more about the novels


  1. This is actually my favourite of all your novels, Wendy. I read it before I even knew you. It's a big, passionate book and I still remember it. Particularly liked the opening pages. Lovely.

  2. Thank you Kathy for your lovely and valued commentt. wxx

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