My entire backlist is now available on Kindle!
Details below, including the original blurbs and links to Amazon UK and Amazon US. They are also available in all other Amazon Kindle stores. I’ll shortly also be publishing them in other ebook formats.
In my writing, the themes I find that really excite and interest me are layers of time, relationships within families, war and foreign occupation and their effects on the individual, and historical characters realised within their own appropriate mental and cultural context
The main story of The Anniversary takes place during one day in 1994, but ranges over time back to 1917. The Anniversary deals to some extent with the consequences of war, but in The Travellers the suffering of the people of Hungary in the second World War and under Soviet domination is a major theme, alongside a love story. The title I wanted for this book was The Paparuda, a folk ceremony to bring rain in time of drought, because in the novel many lives – which have become arid – blossom anew.
A Running Tide and The Testament of Mariam, although set in very different periods, each contain a story within a story. The main characters, Tirza and Mariam, look back from the perspective of maturity or old age to their younger selves and the tragedies they confronted then. In all the books, the themes of family and family relationships are important elements. And each has at its heart a love story, though treated very differently every time. Each of the novels is set in a different historical context, but in every case I have been passionate about creating an authentic portrayal of the physical, social and mental reality of the period.
It is June 1994 in the depths of Herefordshire and Natasha Devereux’s family and two hundred guests gather together to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of St Martins. From the vision of one woman who fled Bolshevik Russia and opened her doors to artists, musicians, writers and refugees from war-torn Europe it has become a sanctuary for generations of a family who – over the course of one day – face marital crisis, impending birth, teenage trauma, a father’s roving eye into forbidden territory, momentous news from the past, communal financial crisis, and a lost love from the summer of 1957.
As the evening shadows spread-eagle across the lawn to the rambling house and the great old copper beech, Natasha comes to the fruition of her life’s work. The kaleidoscope of memory has been shaken, decisions have been taken. There has been a birth, and a death, but above all a celebration.
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1e1ePMx
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1cl5Mzn
Sofia Niklai, a reclusive exile, and Kate Milburn, locked in a stifling marriage, form a tentative friendship on a windswept beach in Northumbria. While Sofia forces herself to confront her father’s diaries, Kate must face half-remembered shadows from her childhood. Together they make an impulsive journey to Hungary, Sofia’s homeland. It is a journey from which neither can return unaltered.
Their meeting in Hungary with István Rudnay, also marked by the dark experiences of his youth, leads them to a discovery of the warmth and love so lacking in their own lives, whilst he in turn comes to a reconciliation with the past and hope for the future.
Sharply observed and recounted with tenderness and wisdom, The Travellers delineates the intense joys and sorrows of individual lives upon a broad canvas of recent European history.
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/18wKyRd
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/19wCZqw
A Running Tide
‘The past is a country of the mind – we wander there like dreamers in a shadowy landscape that hides its meaning from us . . . There are seasons in our lives,’ said Christina, ‘a pattern, like the old Indian cross within a circle. Our lives move round the circle, but not always at the same pace. You have been caught too long in the north, which teaches strength and endurance through suffering.’
In this country of the mind, following the cycle of the seasons, A Running Tide takes us back and forth between Scotland in 1980 and the tiny fishing village of Flamboro in Maine during 1942 to unravel the compelling story of Tirza Libby. Tirza, a respected and successful war photographer, tries to escape her past by retreating to a remote Scottish island. But even thousands of miles and four decades cannot erase the memories of a childhood summer in Maine: a community profoundly altered by war, a family thrown into conflict, and the British airman who changed all their lives. A Running Tide tells the story of that fateful summer.
Tirza has spent a lifetime trying to banish it from her mind, but it is not ready to let her go; only by revisiting Maine can she solve the mysteries of that past and complete her journey of self-discovery. In its lyrical portrayal of a courageous but fragile way of life, A Running Tide gathers in force and tension as it moves towards tragedy and ultimate resolution.
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1bsvsw5
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1aOPCNq
The Testament of Mariam
Who is Mariam? Her family in Roman Gaul know her only as a refugee from far-off Palestine, without other relatives or friends. For more than thirty years Mariam has herself turned her back on the past, but now a series of events forces her to confront it. In her final illness, that past begins to haunt her, as she looks back on a youth and early adulthood during the turbulent events of the first century AD under Roman occupation, and amongst a people who refused to accept the yoke of the Empire.
Born in the north of Palestine, in the rebellious territory known as the Galilee, Mariam grows up in a hard-working peasant community, mutinous, impatient, unwilling to accept the traditional role of women in her society. Running away from home – against all conventions and propriety – to follow her charismatic brother Yeshûa and his best friend, her betrothed, Yehûdâ, Mariam shares in the excitement, the fear and the mystery, but at the last witnesses the apparent betrayal of the one and the tragic and brutal death of the other.
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1jEDmqQ
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/IY0Mt0
Praise for Ann Swinfen’s Novels
‘an absorbing and intricate tapestry of family history and private memories … warm, generous, healing and hopeful’ Victoria Glendinning
‘I very much admired the pace of the story. The changes of place and time and the echoes and repetitions – things lost and found, and meetings and partings’ Penelope Fitzgerald
‘I enjoyed this serious, scrupulous novel … a novel of character … [and] a suspense story in which present and past mysteries are gradually explained’ Jessica Mann, Sunday Telegraph
‘The author … has written a powerful new tale of passion and heartbreak … What a marvellous storyteller Ann Swinfen is – she has a wonderful ear for dialogue and she brings her characters vividly to life.’ Publishing News
‘She writes with passion and the book, her fourth, is shot through with brilliant description and scholarship…[it] is a timely reminder of the harsh realities, and the daily humiliations, of the Roman occupation of First Century Israel. You can almost smell the dust and blood.’ Peter Rhodes, Express and Star
‘Her writing …[paints] an amazingly detailed and vibrant picture of flesh and blood human beings, not only the symbols many of them have become…but real and believable and understandable.’ Helen Brown, Courier and Advertiser