RAOC War Memorial at Deepcut

RAOC War Memorial at Deepcut
RAOC War Memorial at Deepcut

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Why I write family stories

Families, family stories: we all have them. I found the story for my first two books in some albums in the loft. My latest book, Charlotte Brontë's Devotee really found me, since my name appeared on a family tree a Brontë follower was researching. He wanted to find out more about William Smith Williams, the Reader at publishers, Smith, Elder, who recognised her genius. I am Smith Williams's great great nephew.

My presence on that family tree started an itch, and I had to find out more. I read Brontë biographies, and found a good deal about the five years during which William and Charlotte corresponded, often frequently. I read her letters to him; sadly, for us, only one of his survives. 
I still had to find more: whence had he come and whither did he go. The result is my biography of him, Charlotte Brontë's Devotee, and this reveals a true 19th century 'Renaissance' man as passionate about art as he was about literature, as knowledgeable about science as he was about politics. 

The book has been described as easy to read and well researched. It talks of many of the cultural greats of the mid Victorian era. It was a joy to write the story of an unsung hero of the Brontë story.

I am now researching the lives of some of the key ‘soldiers who armed an army’, the army which, Max Hastings wrote, was so well equipped on D Day. I am looking at the people, their stories. They, too, are unsung heroes. They were all members of families, from massively varied backgrounds from Polish aristocracy to the son of a draper’s assistant. They take the reader from the world of the pony and trap, through two world wars and interwar years of massive change, to the Cold War and the Britain that had never had it so good. 
 Geoffrey Palmer
Bob Hiam

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