My new banner featuring some old favourites and forthcoming titles.
My sales on Apple so far this year reveal a pleasant surprise…Digging in the Dirt (Sam) is my current bestseller followed by Secrets and Lies (Sam), Smoke and Mirrors (Sam) and Blackmail (Ann). Digging in the Dirt was great fun to write so I’m delighted that my readers like it too.
Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shakespearean actress Melinda Mullins. You can read that interview here https://issuu.com/momsfavoritereads/docs/january_2020
Melinda is also a talented artist. Here is an example of her work.
To see more of Melinda’s beautiful paintings and drawings please visit her website http://www.emcleobryant.com
Many thanks to Gloria for her lovely translation of Mind Games into Spanish. We have started the publishing process and the book will be available soon.
This is my 45th translation, sixteen of them into Spanish, with more in progress.
My local beach this week.
My personal top ten this week. Many thanks to everyone who supports my books.
Women of Courage, Heroines of the SOE.
More details from my Eve’s War research.
Valentine Blanche Charlet, born in Belgium on 23 May 1898, was one of the oldest female SOE agents to serve in France. Blanche worked as a courier for the SOE and held the rank of Field Agent and Guerrilla Commander. Before the Second World War she lived in Brussels where she managed an art gallery.
Blanche was one of the first four female agents the SOE trained. When she arrived in France, on 1 September 1942, she worked with fellow agent and wireless operator Brian Stonehouse.
On 24 October 1942, German detector vans picked up Stonehouse’s radio signals while he was transmitting to London. They tracked him down to his safe house and arrested him. Before the Germans left, Blanche arrived for a pre-arranged meeting with Stonehouse and she too was arrested and interned in Castres Prison.
The Germans held Blanche until September 1943 when she secured guns and spare keys from a sympathetic Yugoslavian wardress. Along with French resistante Suzanne Charisse and thirty-five others, Blanche escaped.
Blanche and Suzanne reached open country and, helped by Benedictine monks, they took refuge in a monastery.
The monks sheltered Blanche and Suzanne in a guest house for two months before the women followed an escape route into the Pyrénées. However, the heavy winter snow prevented them from crossing into Spain.
In the spring of 1944, Blanche made her way to Brittany where she boarded a lifeboat ferrying supplies and fresh agents. German patrol boats were waiting. However, despite them and a gunfight, Blanche made her escape.
Blanche reached safely on 20 April 1944. She made her report and stated that the practice interrogations she had endured with the SOE had saved her life. In more peaceful circumstances, she lived until 1985.
Mary Katherine Herbert was born in Ireland on 1 October 1903.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Mary worked in the British Embassy in Warsaw, then as a civilian translator in the Air Ministry. She joined the WAAF on 19 September 1941 and, at her own request, transferred to the SOE in May 1942, aged thirty-nine.
A well educated woman with a degree in art, Mary was fluent in French, German, Italian and Spanish. She also obtained a diploma from the University of Cairo in Arabic.
Mary trained with Lise de Baissac, a contact who later would have a significant influence on her life.
Mary arrived in France on 30 October 1942. She travelled to Bordeaux to act as a courier for the Scientist circuit, using the codename Claudine. In keeping with fellow SOE agents she travelled by bicycle and train, liaised with the French Resistance, carried messages, sought safe houses and potential recruits. Another task familiar to Mary and her fellow agents was to arrange and attend parachute drops as fresh agents arrived in France.
In France, Mary caught up with Lise de Baissac. She also met Lise’s brother, Claude. An affair between Mary and Claude produced a daughter, Claudine, born in December 1943. After the birth, Mary and Claudine moved into a flat maintained by Lise.
On 18 February 1944, the Gestapo raided Lise’s flat and arrested Mary in the belief that she was Lise. Separated from her baby daughter, Mary remained in prison until Easter 1944. During that time she created a cover story for herself stating that she was Madame Marie Louise Vernier, a Frenchwoman from Egypt. Despite interrogation by the Gestapo, Mary did not waver from her cover story.
Upon her release, Mary hid in a small country house near Poitiers. In September 1944, after a difficult search conducted in trying times, she was reunited with Claude and Lise.
Mary married Claude in November 1944. After the war, she lived a quieter life giving private French lessons.
Mary died on 23 January 1983 with her daughter Claudine at her side.
As ever, thank you for your interest and support.