family sagas and contemporary fiction
PATTERN OF SHADOWS
It's Manchester and World War Two is drawing to a close. There's a war on, but it's not just the enemy who are the cads and bounders.My heroine, Mary Howarth, is a 22-year-old nurse in a prisoner of war camp for German soldiers; her beautiful sister Ellen, 18, is up for good times when she finishes work in the munitions factory. Their father Bill is a drunken tyrant and a bully who beats their mother. He was gassed in Wold War One and suffers coughing fits when he smokes.
This is the world of gasmasks in the rain, gravy browning on legs, girdles, chenille table cloths, linoleum, outside toilets, and Clarke Gable and Vivien Leigh at the pictures.
"Barrow beautifully evokes those raw and edgy days with this well-paced, gritty love story that draws in some of the issues of the time including family, sexual and labour relationships, unmarried mothers-to-be, censorship, pacifism in a time of war and fraternisation with the enemy."
My sequel to pattern of Shadows is Changing Patterns: In May 1950, Britain is struggling with the hardships of rationing and the aftermath of the SecondWorldWar. Peter Schormann, a German ex-prisoner of war, has left his home country to be with Mary Howarth, matron of a small hospital in Wales. The two met when Mary was a nurse at the POW camp hospital. They intend to marry, but the memory of Frank Shuttleworth, an ex-boyfriend of Mary's, continues to haunt them and there are many obstacles in the way of their happiness, not the least of which is Mary's troubled family. When tragedy strikes, Mary hopes it will unite her siblings, but it is only when a child disappears that the whole family pulls together to save one of their own from a common enemy.
LIVING IN THE SHADOWS
The last of the Haworth trilogy is Living in the Shadows: Sequel to the acclaimed Changing Patterns and Pattern of Shadows. It's 1969 and Mary Schormann is living quietly in Wales with her ex-POW husband, Peter, and her teenage twins, Richard and Victoria. Her niece, Linda Booth, is a nurse - following in Mary's footsteps - and works in the maternity ward of her local hospital in Lancashire. At the end of a long night shift, a bullying new father visits the maternity ward and brings back Linda's darkest nightmares, her terror of being locked in. Who is this man, and why does he scare her so? There are secrets dating back to the war that still haunt the family, and finding out what lies at their root might be the only way Linda can escape their murderous consequences.
A HUNDRED TINY THREADS
The Howarth saga is now comleted with a prequel. It’s 1911 and Winifred Duffy is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer’s shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother. The scars of Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood linger. The only light in his life comes from a chance encounter with Winifred, the girl he determines to make his wife. Meeting her friend Honora’s silver-tongued brother turns Winifred’s heart upside down. But Honora and Conal disappear, after a suffrage rally turns into a riot, and abandoned Winifred has nowhere to turn but home. The Great War intervenes, sending Bill abroad to be hardened in a furnace of carnage and loss. When he returns his dream is still of Winifred and the life they might have had… Back in Lancashire, worn down by work and the barbed comments of narrow-minded townsfolk, Winifred faces difficult choices in love and life.
Ashford, home of the Howarth family,is a gritty northern mill town, a community of no-nonsense Lancashire folk, who speak their minds and are quick to judge. But how many of them are hiding secrets that wouldn't stand up to the scrutiny of others?
My Howarth family saga is peopled with just such characters. Here are some of their secret stories - the girl who had to relinquish her baby, the boy who went to war too young, the wife who couldn't take any more...
"Judith Barrow has surpassed herself in writing this great family saga... There is such a wealth of fantastic characters to fall in love with and ones to hate!" (Brook Cottage Books)
When Meg Matthews gives an interview on the local radio station it leads to a friendship with three other women. They share a terrible secret. Together, can they find the strength to expose the silent trauma they have endured all their lives?
The story is fictional: the facts are real.
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