Dear Reader

Dear Reader #181

Dear Reader,

In early September 2022, I started Tula, my novel set in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Today, 420 pages and 77,000 words later, I completed the story. Four months of editing to go before publication on July 1, 2023. If you are interested, here are the details

Clara Bow’s twentieth movie was The Scarlet West, an ambitious silent film about the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The movie was produced in the spring of 1925, with location shooting in Colorado, and released on July 26, 1925. Clara played Miriam. Sadly, no copies of the film survive.

A transcribed page from my 9 x great grandfather John Bevan’s journal. In 1704, after twenty-one years in Pennsylvania, along with his wife Barbara and their youngest daughter Barbara, he returned to his estate in Wales. Sadly, daughter Barbara died. John wrote of her: “Her innocence and sweet behaviour preached truth wherever she came.”

A life-long love.

A transcribed page from my 9 x great grandfather John Bevan’s journal, c1720. Here, he writes of his wife Barbara Aubrey’s passing. 

She was very careful and open-hearted to help the poor and the weak both amongst us and others. In her last sickness, she was sensible she was not likely to recover out of it and she was satisfied and contented therein to submit to the Lord’s will. Speaking to me, she said, “I take it as a great mercy that I am to go before thee, we are upward of 45 years married, and our love is rather more now towards each other than at the beginning.”


Died on this day, 19 February 1894, aged 41 my ancestor Hopkin Howe. Hopkin died due to an infection of his spinal cord.

In 1871, Hopkin left the family home in Glamorgan to live with a Welsh family in Stockton, Durham. There, he plied his trade as a blacksmith, serving the burgeoning railway industry.

On his return to Wales, Hopkin became a Methodist minister. In 1884, he married Elizabeth Jones. This event brought great joy and tragedy. Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth May Gwendoline Howe, on 27 November 1885, but died in childbirth. Deprived of her mother, baby Elizabeth died in infancy. One can only imagine how these events tested Hopkin’s faith.

In December 1890. Hopkin married Sarah Ann Jones. When he died in 1894 he left Sarah Ann £119, the equivalent of a year’s wages. He left his Bible to his brother, my 2 x great grandfather, William Howe, a Methodist deacon. The Bible, with Welsh text and lavish illustrations captioned in English, is now in my possession. It’s a huge tome, and a treasured heirloom.

“As the ‘Brooklyn Bonfire’ Clara Bow blasted her way to fame. As the ‘It’ girl her name became synonymous with sex appeal the world over. Clara’s screen career became a succession of labels – all of them descriptive and not a few of them libellous.” – Dora Albert, c1933.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #156

Dear Reader,

Are actresses/writers/etc born or made? Where does their talent come from? To answer this question, I intend to trace the ancestry of creative people born in the first quarter of the twentieth century, to see if their ancestors displayed any creative traits.

I’m starting with my favourite actress, Eva Marie Saint. Eva Marie Saint first came to my attention in the movie ‘36 Hours’, where she co-starred with my favourite actor, James Garner. After that, I enjoyed her classic performances in movies such as On The Waterfront and North by Northwest.

Eva Marie Saint’s acting career is well documented. For this project, I’m interested in the period before she was famous, and in her ancestors’ roots. Where was she born? Where did her ancestors come from? What trades did they follow? Time to search the records…

I’ve found Eva in the 1940 United States Federal Census. This is a public record. The census reveals Eva’s age, approximately 15, that she lived with her sister, Adelaide aged 17, and her parents, John Saint, 48, and Eva, 43. The family lived in Bethlehem, Albany, New York. John was a District Credit Manager for a tyre company while Eva’s mother was a housewife. Their neighbours were chemists, printers, engineers and a piano teacher, so a pleasant district. 

The piano teacher hints at local artistic endeavours, but nothing to directly link Eva’s family with the arts, as yet. Nevertheless, a good start with plenty of leads to follow.


As London developed during the seventeenth century, the city saw great advances in medicine, science and philosophy. It became a home to the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal Society. Many learned people made a positive contribution to the sciences. However, London also attracted its fair share of quacks.

The quacks peddled a wide range of ‘miracle’ cures, especially for embarrassing diseases like syphilis. The quacks used to gather at the gates of St Bartholomew’s Hospital. There, William Salmon sold an ‘Elixir of Life’, and an antidote to the plague.

Anne Laverenst ran her business in Arundel Street. She treated syphilis and removed women’s bladder stones. Coffee houses were also popular locations for quacks. These establishments carried advertisements for cures such as ‘Fletcher’s Powder’, which was effective ‘against all diseases, except death’. 

🖼 William Hogarth’s ‘The Visit to the Quack Doctor’.

Ivor Allchurch, the sixth of seven children, was born on 16 October 1929 in Swansea to Charles Wilfried Allchurch and Mabel Sarah Allchurch, née Miller. Ivor’s parents were originally from Dudley, Worcestershire, but they moved to Swansea post World War I in search of work.

After school, Ivor worked in a foundry and a fish market. However, his main passion was football. An inside-forward, he began his professional career with Swansea Town. He remained with the club for ten years, scoring over 100 goals.

Ivor training with Swansea in 1951. 📸 National Museum of Wales.

Aged 28, Ivor moved to Newcastle United for a fee of £28,000. Four seasons later, he joined Cardiff City for £18,000, then finished his career back at his hometown club, Swansea Town.

In total, Ivor won 68 caps for Wales, a record at the time. Along with Trevor Ford, he was the leading goal scorer for his country, scoring 23 goals, a record eventually broken by Ian Rush. 

Ivor made his international debut on 15 November 1950 in a 4 – 2 defeat to England. During the 1958 World Cup, he scored twice for Wales and helped his country to reach the quarter finals.

In qualifying for the 1958 World Cup, Ivor scored in both legs of the play-off match versus Isreal. In the finals itself he scored in a 1 – 1 draw versus Mexico and in the 2 – 1 group play-off victory against Hungary.

Wales captain Dave Bowen praised Ivor for his World Cup performances. He said, “They looked at Ivor and wondered where he had been hiding. He could have played for any of the teams out there, including Brazil.”

In 1962, Ivor won his 50th Welsh cap in a match against Scotland. He ended his illustrious international career in 1966 in a match against Chile, bowing out with the accolade of “The Golden Boy of Welsh Football.”


Clara Bow was, arguably, America’s first major superstar. At the apex of her stardom in 1929 she received 45,000 fan letters a month. Yet, Clara was born into abject poverty. Indeed, it’s possible that her birth was not even recorded. Certainly, no record of her birth survives.

Various records list Clara’s birthday as 29 July, but the years vary – 1905, 1906 and 1907. The 1910 US census was taken on 15 April. Clara was recorded as aged four in that census, which suggests she was born in 1905.

The 1910 census also recorded that Clara was one of three children born to her parents, Robert and Sarah, but the only one alive. A heat wave gripped her home city, New York, in July 1905, with temperatures topping 100 °F. Many people died.

Later, Clara wrote: “I don’t suppose two people ever looked death in the face more clearly than my mother and I the morning I was born. We were both given up, but somehow we struggled back to life.”

To be continued…


The Dexter Crisis, Series 1, Episode 10 of The Rockford Files was written by Gloryette Clark. John Thomas James and Stephen J Cannell had authored the previous episodes. The pace of this episode was slightly slower than previous episodes – nothing wrong with that.

Gloryette Clark was a long-time associate of Roy Huggins, aka John Thomas James. She served as writer, director, film editor and stock footage librarian. An external motel shot in this episode was the same as a shot in episode 9, In Pursuit of Carol Thorne. These shots were expensive to produce, so it’s understandable that they were reused. 

Las Vegas was a main location for this story, but no filming took place there. The cover shots were all stock footage, although you don’t notice this as the story unfolds.

None of the series regulars – Rocky, Beth, Becker or Angel – feature in this episode, which makes me wonder if it was adapted from a standard private eye story into a Rockford Files story. That said, Rockford’s traits do stand out, especially when he’s reluctant to thump someone, despite provocation.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian.

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂

Dear Reader

Dear Reader #69

Dear Reader,

Where do you get your ideas from? Is a common question asked of authors. My answer is, my ideas always stem from my characters. Where do my characters come from? The answer to that question is various sources, including old photographs. Here’s an example of a nurse in the Spanish Civil War. I don’t know her name or background, but her strong features immediately spoke to me and just by studying the picture a fictional character, Lise Lazard, took shape. You can read about Lise in Branches, book two in The Olive Tree, A Spanish Civil War Saga. Available soon 🙂

I write, therefore I am…

In September 1953, sugar rationing in Britain finally came to an end. The wartime government introduced it in January 1940. A weekly sugar ration ranged from 8oz to 16oz per week.

Where to collect your ration if you lived in Birmingham. Maybe we’ll see similar Brexit inspired posters in the new year.

Station IX, which developed weapons and gadgets for SOE agents, created a small motorcycle called the Welbike. Although 3,641 bikes were produced they were rarely employed by the SOE. Instead they were issued to the 1st and 6th Airborne Divisions who used them during the Anzio and Normandy landings. The Welbike also featured at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.

Bulgarian joke. Red Bull gives you wings. Vodka gives you 4×4 🤣

One for the album. Operation Zigzag has entered the Brazilian chart alongside John le Carre, Tom Clancy and Stieg Larsson 🙂

Eve at #1 for the first time 🙂

Philosophy humour.

I’m reading A Moment of War, Laurie Lee’s lyrical account of his time in the Spanish Civil War.

“Eulalia turned and smiled at me brilliantly, showing her tongue, her face cracking open like a brown snake’s egg hatching.”

Vertigo, what vertigo?! Acrobats do their thing on top of the Empire State Building, 1934.

A lovely weekend for my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE Series, #1 in America and Britain, and now in Australia 🙂

Fat Banished!

No exercise!

No diets!

No baths!

No ill effects!

No danger!

Easy to swallow!

The solution you’ve been waiting for, sanitised tape worms!

October 1944, the Allies cross the Belgium-Germany border and prepare to write the closing chapters of World War II with the defeat of Hitler’s brand of fascism.

My article about SOE agent Odette Sansom is on page 24 of this month’s Seaside News 🙂

Met a friend on the dunes 🙂

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader

Dear Reader #68

Dear Reader,

“We all have our time machines, don’t we. Those that take us back are memories…And those that carry us forward, are dreams.” – H.G. Wells, 21 September 1866.

19 September 1944. Dutch residents of Velp welcome British Sherman tanks of 30 Corps as they advance towards Grave and Nijmegen.

From The People’s Collection Wales. A common sight in the Victorian era and first half of the twentieth century, housewives scrubbing their front doorsteps.

A clean doorstep was regarded as a badge of pride.

Pictured, Mrs Blodwen Williams of Ynys-y-bŵl during the 1930s.

This week in 1946, filmmakers from twenty-one nations arrived in Cannes, an already-glamorous resort on the French riviera, and presented their films to their peers, establishing the Cannes Film Festival.

My Eve’s War Heroines of SOE series has entered the top five. We will start promoting the series during the autumn so I’m hoping it will attract more readers. From my point of view, it’s a great series to research and write.

Views from the Bwlch this week.

Health and Safety takes a holiday. Painting the Eiffel Tower in 1932.

Pictured in 1942, the long wave radio transmitter at Criggion Radio Station, mid-Wales. The centre was vital to British communications during the Second World War.

I’m researching songs of the Spanish Civil War. This is A Las Barricadas, To The Barricades, a rousing call to arms based on Whirlwinds of Danger, Warszawianka, a Polish song.

Eileen Nearne who, along with her sister Jacqueline, served in France as an SOE agent. After transmitting over one hundred messages, Eileen was captured by the Gestapo. However, she escaped. Read her remarkable story here

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader

Dear Reader #65

Dear Reader,

My latest audiobook, available soon 🙂

The Rance in Dinan. Eve was in Dinan this week, in Operation Broadsword, book three in my Eve’s War series. She is trying to get rid of a million francs, which is proving surprisingly difficult.

The print copies of Operation Locksmith have arrived 🙂

Café Society, Paris 1925.

I’m eclectic. Which one are you?

My latest translation, the German version of Operation Zigzag, book one in my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE Series. Great to see that readers in Germany are also downloading the English version.

The streets of London, 1930. The car on the right is a Burney, made by Streamline Cars Ltd and designed by Dennis Burney in 1927.

A walk through the woods this week, Craig yr Aber, Glamorgan.

First Officer Maureen Dunlop was a ferry pilot for the Air Transport Auxiliary. The women of the ATA transported newly manufactured aircraft from factories to aerodromes throughout Britain. She was trained to fly 38 types of aircraft, including Spitfires, Mustangs, Typhoons and bombers.

Four ‘It Girls’ dressed for an evening out, 1927.

I’m a Surrealist. How about you?

Excited to see that Operation Broadsword, book three in my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE Series, is ranked #32 as a hot new release. The book will be published in November 🙂

Heroines of the SOE

Anne-Marie Walters 

On 21 June 1944, 2,000 Nazi soldiers attacked a pocket of the French Resistance. During the battle, Anne-Marie distributed hand-grenades and buried incriminating documents in a cave under a church. She also collected SOE money and took it with her as the Resistance withdrew from the village. 

Read Anne-Marie’s remarkable story here 👇

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx