Blog Tours · Books · Glynis Peters · Promotional Post

Happy Publication Day! The Orphan Thief by Glynis Peters (@_GlynisPeters_) ~ @0neMoreChapter_ ~ @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour

Happy Publication Day to international bestselling author Glynis Peters! Her second novel The Orphan Thief is out in paperback today.

I am delighted to be a part of this promotion blog tour celebrating The Orphan Thief and my thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to take part.

Scroll down to find out more about The Orphan Thief , where you can purchase the book from (no affiliate links in this post) and to read a little about Glynis Peters.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

From the international bestselling author of The Secret Orphan

When all seems lost…

As Hitler’s bombs rain down on a battered and beleaguered Britain, Ruby Shadwell is dealt the most devastating blow – her entire family lost during the Coventry Blitz. 

Hope still survives…

Alone and with the city in chaos, Ruby is determined to survive this war and rebuild her life.  And a chance encounter with street urchin Tommy gives Ruby just the chance she needs… 

And love will overcome.

Because Tommy brings with him Canadian Sergeant Jean-Paul Clayton.  Jean-Paul is drawn to Ruby and wants to help her, but Ruby cannot bear another loss. 
Can love bloom amidst the ruins?  Or will the war take Ruby’s last chance at happiness too?

~ Where to find The Orphan Thief ~

The Orphan Thief by Glynis Peters

The Orphan Thief by Glynis Peters is out now! It’s available from all good bookshops as well as at Amazon UK, Amazon US and can also be found on Goodreads.

~ About Glynis Peters ~

Glynis Peters, lives in Dovercourt, Essex, England.

She married her school sweetheart in 1979, and they have three children. They also have three grandchildren, with another due in the spring of 2019, the year of their ruby wedding Anniversary.

In 2014, Glynis was short-listed for the Festival of Romantic Fiction New Talent Award.

In 2018, HarperCollins/HarperImpulse published her novel, The Secret Orphan. The novel rose to several bestseller positions within a few months of release.

When Glynis is not writing she enjoys fishing with her husband, making greetings cards, cross stitch and the company of her granddaughters.

Her grandson lives in Canada, and it is for that reason she  introduced a Canadian pilot into The Secret Orphan.

Connect with Glynis at:

~ Follow the tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other stops on the The Orphan Thief blog tour!

The Orphan Thief Blog Tour
A Week in Books · Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Book Hauls · Books · Crime · fiction · Libby Page · Literary Lowdown · R.C. Bridgestock · Rebecca Ley · Recommended Reads · Review Copy · Reviews · Rory Clements

Sarah's Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 13 January – 19 January 2020 #SundayBlogShare

Welcome to this week’s round-up of book life at Sarah’s Vignettes.

Keep scrolling to get the lowdown on what’s been going on here at Sarah’s Vignettes, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves and other bookish delights.

~ On the blog ~

Payback by R.C. Bridgestock

On Tuesday, I shared my review of Payback by R.C. Bridgestock. This is the first book in a new series from husband and wife co-authors Robert and Carol Bridgestock and I loved it! It is a professional, all-consuming crime novel that left me wanting more.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I’ve added 1 book to my shelf this week. It is a digital advanced review copy of For When I’m Gone by Rebecca Ley, which is due to be published on 14th May 2020. This is Rebecca’s debut novel and, although I think it will be tough to read emotionally, I’m looking forward to discovering her writing.

For When I’m Gone by Rebecca Ley

For When I'm Gone by Rebecca Ley

A life cut short. A grieving family. A mother’s guide to surviving without her…

On the surface Sylvia and Paul’s marriage is perfection: she is beautiful, alluringly spiky and brilliantly clever, he is a devoted and doting husband and father to their two young children, Megan and Jude.

When Sylvia is diagnosed with terminal cancer at 38, she knows that she must help Paul navigate the chaos of family life in her absence and that the time has come for a secret she has kept from him throughout their marriage to finally be aired. Sylvia starts to write a manual: a guidebook to their shared domesticity.

As Paul learns to live and love without Sylvia, he realises the extent of her legacy and finds himself indebted once more to his extraordinary, difficult wife, for saving them from an even greater tragedy…

FOR WHEN I’M GONE is about what it means to leave life unfinished, as well as the compromises of a marriage and motherhood. Inspiring and heart-breaking in equal measure, this debut marks Rebecca Ley out as a stunning new talent.

~ On my bedside table ~

Hitler's Secret by Rory Clements
The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page

Yesterday, I finished reading Hitler’s Secret by Rory Clements. Watch out for my review tomorrow. I’m going to read The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page next.


What books have you been reading and buying this week? Let me know by leaving a reply in the box below.

Until next week, happy reading!

A Week in Books · Blog Tours · Books · Literary Lowdown · Lucy Coleman · Megan Angelo · Rachael Lucas · Rory Clements

Sarah's Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 6 January – 12 January 2020 #SundaySharing

Welcome to my first weekly round-up of 2020. I’m easing myself in gently to the new blogging year with a short post.

Keep scrolling to get the lowdown on what’s been going on here at Sarah’s Vignettes, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves and other bookish delights.

~ On the blog ~

Followers by Megan Angelo

On Wednesday, I shared my review of Followers by Megan Angelo. This debut novel is well written, intelligently constructed and thought-provoking. It looks at friendship, our internet obsessed culture, privacy, the choices we make and their ramifications. Megan Angelo gives a chilling and unsettling view into the not so distant future.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I’ve added 2 books to my shelves this week: 1 which was published on Thursday (9th Jan) and 1 digital copy for a blog tour coming up in March.

On Twitter, I scrolled across a post from author Rachael Lucas talking about her latest novel The Telephone Box Library. The title grabbed me at first – who doesn’t love a library in a phone box! -and then she mentioned Bletchley Park. I was sold!! So, I popped down to my local Sainsbury’s to buy a copy.

The Telephone Box Library by Rachael Lucas

The Telephone Box Library by Rachael Lucas

Books. Wine. Secrets. You’ll find them all at the telephone box library . . .

The Cotswolds: the perfect retreat for a stressed-out teacher. And Lucy has found just the right cottage for a bargain rent. All she has to do is keep an eye on Bunty, her extremely feisty ninety-something neighbour . . .

With her West Highland terrier Hamish at her side, Lucy plans to relax and read up on the women of nearby Bletchley Park. But the villagers of Little Maudley have other ideas, and she finds herself caught up in the campaign to turn a dilapidated telephone box into a volunteer-run library.

Along the way, she makes friends with treehouse designer Sam, and finds herself falling for the charms of village life. And it seems Bunty has a special connection to Bletchley and the telephone box, one that she’s kept secret for decades . . .


I received an email earlier this week from blog tour organiser and fellow book blogger, Rachel Gilbey, inviting me to take part in a blog tour for A Springtime to Remember by Lucy Coleman. If you follow me on social media or read my blog, you’ll know that Lucy Coleman/Linn B.Halton is one of my favourite authors. I am so excited to get to read another of her stories.

A Springtime to Remember by Lucy Coleman

A Springtime to Remember by Lucy Coleman

Escape the cold and let Lucy Coleman transport you to glorious, sun-drenched France, for the perfect feel-good read.

Paris and the Palace of Versailles have always meant a lot to TV producer Lexie. Her grandma Viv spent a year there, but her adventures and memories were never discussed, and Lexie has long wondered why they were a family secret. 

When work presents the perfect excuse to spend Springtime in Versailles, Lexie delves into Viv’s old diaries and scrapbooks, and with the help of handsome interpreter Ronan, she is soon learning more about the characters that tend to the magnificent gardens, now and in the past.

In amongst the beauty and splendour of the French countryside, a story of lost love, rivalry and tragedy unfolds.  Can Lexie and Ronan right the wrongs of the past, and will France play its tricks on them both before Lexie has to go home? Will this truly be a Springtime to Remember…

~ On my bedside table ~

Hitler's Secret by Rory Clements

I’m currently reading Hitler’s Secret by Rory Clements. I’ll be sharing my review on 20th January.


What books have you been reading and buying this week? Let me know by leaving a reply in the box below.

Until next week, happy reading!

Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · fiction · Megan Angelo · Review Copy · Reviews

A Sarah's Vignettes Book Review: Followers by Megan Angelo (@meganangelo) ~ @HQstories #BlogTour

Welcome to my stop on the Followers blog tour. Thank you to HQ, Harper Collins, for inviting me to take part in the tour and for sending me a proof copy of the book in return for this honest review.

Before I share my review with you, here is what Followers is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

When everyone is watching you can run, but you can’t hide…

2051. Marlow and her mother, Floss, have been handpicked to live their lives on camera, in the closed community of Constellation.

Unlike her mother, who adores the spotlight, Marlow hates having her every move judged by a national audience.

But she isn’t brave enough to escape until she discovers a shattering secret about her birth.

Now she must unravel the truth around her own history in a terrifying race against time…

~ My thoughts ~

Well this was an interesting read indeed. It took me a while to get my head around what I had read and the journey I had been on as a reader.

Followers is well written, intelligently constructed and thought-provoking. In this debut, Megan Angelo looks at friendship, our internet obsessed culture, privacy, the choices we make and their ramifications. It gives a chilling and unsettling view into the not so distant future.

As the book title suggests, Followers deep dives into lives lived through the digital world, mainly social media, and what it means to have your 15 minutes of fame. Set between 2015 and 2051, it follows the lives of Orla Cadden and her roomate Floss in 2015, and Marlo thirty years later.

Orla works as a blogger for a celebrity website and Floss has desires to become a famous singer. Floss is very much influenced by what she sees on Instagram and uses her friendship with Orla to try to achieve her ambitions. Fast forward to 2051 and to Constellation, a closed Californian village where the government has appointed people to live their lives online 24/7. How well storylines are received by followers, dictates what paths the inhabitants lives will take. Marlow has over 12 million followers but she doesn’t like the attention. For one of the storylines, she discovers something that will change the course of her life and questions everything she has ever known.

I did find that it took me a while to get into the book. For me, the chapters are quite long (I am a fan of short chapters) but there is a lot of story to get across. The chapters alternate between the present and the future until they collide in an event, that changes the lives of American citizens forever. I was really curious to see where Megan Angelo was taking the story. She shines a lot on how social media can affect our mental health and dictate our lives, if we let it. It left me valuing human interaction even more.

~ Where to find Followers ~

Followers by Megan Angelo

Followers by Megan Angelo will be published by HQ in the UK on 9th January 2020. It can be found in all good bookshops as well at Amazon UK, Amazon US and on Goodreads.

~ About Megan Angelo ~

Megan has written about television, film, women and pop culture, and motherhood for publications including The New York Times (where she helped launch city comedy coverage), Glamour (where she was a contributing editor and wrote a column on women and television), Elle, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, and Slate. She is a native of Quakertown, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Villanova University. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her family. FOLLOWERS is her first novel.

*Author biography and photograph from Goodreads

~ Follow the tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other stops on the Followers blog tour!

Followers blog tour banner
Blog Tours · Books · Guest Post · James Swallow

Sarah's Vignettes ~ Guest Post from James Swallow (@jmswallow): A Writer's Soundtrack ~ #Shadow #BlogTour ~ @ZaffreBooks ~ @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Welcome to Sarah’s Vignettes stop on the blog tour for Shadow by James Swallow. Thank you to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to be part of the tour.

I’m delighted to welcome James Swallow as a guest on the blog today. I noticed that James tweets a lot about the music he listens to when he is writing so I asked him if he would write a piece about his soundtrack for Shadow.

Before James tells us about about the Shadow soundtrack, here is what Shadow is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

Things are about to go viral in Marc Dane’s most dangerous adventure yet . . .

Marc and his partner – former US Delta Force sniper Lucy Keyes – are pitted against their most terrifying challenge yet, when a genius bio-researcher with the ability to create a deadly biological weapon is kidnapped by a ruthless terrorist.

Their desperate search for the missing scientist takes them across the world, from the desolate wilderness of Iceland to the slums of the Near East and the dark underbelly of a fracturing Europe, where they will discover a shocking atrocity in the making.

Backed by shadowy interests, a cadre of hardline ultra-right-wing extremists plan to unleash a lethal virus among the population of a major European city.

Only Marc Dane can prevent this devastating attack from taking place – before a whole continent is plunged into terror…

~ A Writer’s Soundtrack by James Swallow ~

Sometimes, it has to be pin-drop quiet for me to get any writing done – and other times it can be noise all around, but I’m lost in the midst of my story. When my attention isn’t where it should to be, I need quiet in order to zero in on what I want to get down on the page – but when I’ve got my outline ready and all my narrative ducks in a row, a bit of musical accompaniment is exactly what I need to get me off the blocks.

Follow me on Twitter (at @jmswallow) and you’ll see I regularly post up my musical choices under the hashtag #writersoundtrack. My picks are usually something orchestral when I’m actually writing scenes, but when I’m out and about and thinking of characters and ideas, I’ll listen to songs that give me a sense of theme.

When I’m in my office in front of the keyboard, I go to my huge collection of classical music and film score albums, often queuing up a bunch of them into six hour playlists. Writing my Marc Dane action thrillers, it’s no surprise I gravitate to movie soundtracks in the same wheelhouse.

Here are some of my go-to composers (with my top picks for their scores):

  • James Newton Howard (Salt, The Bourne Legacy);
  • Christophe Beck (Edge of Tomorrow);
  • Hans Zimmer (Inception, Man of Steel, The Dark Knight Rises);
  • Steve Jablonsky (Deepwater Horizon, Skyscraper);
  • Daft Punk (Tron Legacy);
  • Reinhold Heil (Berlin Station, The International);
  • Lorne Balfe (The Sweeney, Mission Impossible: Fallout, The Hurricane Heist);
  • Etienne Forget (Missions);
  • Sarah Schachner (Anthem).

But as I noted above, writing a book isn’t just the putting down of words on the screen. There’s also the important effort spent nailing down plot ideas and working on characters. I find while on the train or on the runner at the gym is the best place for this, often with a driving playlist in my earbuds to propel me along – and with each book in the Marc Dane series, I went back to the same songs over and over, gradually creating a soundtrack for my characters, themes and locations.

Here’s my “virtual album” for Shadow, the latest of my thrillers now out in paperback, with a link to a YouTube playlist…

Open the video in Youtube to get the full playlist

Track 1 – “SHADOW Anthem”
The Drone Racing League – GUNSHIP
This hard-edged synthwave theme sets the tone for SHADOW’s hi-tech, hi-octane action narrative.

Track 2 – “Undercover / Rescue”
Dive For You – Boom Satellites
This dynamic number from a Japanese electronic rock duo cover the opening scenes where our undercover heroes turn the tables on their enemies.

Track 3 – “Club Skore”
Deep Impact – Dragon Ash (featuring Rappagariya)
Another track from the Far East, this time something loud and noisy from a rap-rock band to inspire the action taking place at a nightclub in Singapore.

Track 4 – “Basement Shoot-Out / Speedboat Chase”
Confusion (Pump Panel Reconstruction Mix) – New Order
A long and driving track here to back up an extended gun fight and chase sequence.

Track 5 – “The Lion’s Roar”
Calm Like A Bomb – Rage Against The Machine
A character-inspired, rage-fuelled track to characterize SHADOW’s main villain.

Track 6 – “Welcome to Iceland”
Reykjavík – SYKUR
Icelandic rap music singing the praises of their capital city, from a band that was introduced to me while hiking glaciers during a research trip for this novel…

Track 7 – “Survive the Night”
Immigrant Song – Karen O (with Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross)
A cover version of this Led Zeppelin classic to play over scenes where our heroes must fight through a freezing night on the ice.

Track 8 – “Chasing the Mule / Finding the Family”
Freya – The Sword
The hard rock track racks up the tension as Marc Dane chases down a man being forced to detonate a deadly bio-weapon, while his partner Lucy Keyes tries to rescue the man’s family in time to stop him.

Track 9 – “Endure”
Sledgehammer – Rihanna
This character theme underscores Lucy’s predicament when she is brought low by a lethal biological agent.

Track 10 – “Back From the Edge”
Your Hand In Mine – Explosions In The Sky
This track conjures a quieter moment, where our heroes are reunited after the villains have been defeated and all is well…for now.

Track 11 – “SHADOW End Credits”
Razors Out – Chino Moreno
Finally, finishing strong with an energetic end track, as the story of our heroes continues onward…

~ Where to find Shadow ~

~ About James Swallow ~

James Swallow

James Swallow is a New York Times, Sunday Times and Amazon #1 bestselling author and scriptwriter, a BAFTA nominee, a former journalist and the award-winning writer of over fifty books, along with scripts for video games, comics, radio and television.

His writing includes the Marc Dane action thrillers, the Sundowners steampunk Westerns and fiction from the worlds of Star Trek, Warhammer 40000, Doctor Who, 24, Deus Ex, Stargate, 2000AD and more.

SHADOW, the 4th Marc Dane novel, is out now from Bonnier, and the 2nd book in the series – EXILE – is published in the USA by Tor/Forge.

~ Follow the Shadow Blog Tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other stops on the tour!

Shadow by James Swallow
A Week in Books · Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Charlie Mackesy · Emma Mitchell · Liz Fenwick · Megan Angelo

Sarah's Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 15 December 2019

Welcome to this week’s round-up of what’s been going on here at Sarah’s Vignettes, on social media, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves and other bookish delights. Keep scrolling to get the lowdown.

~ On the blog ~

When Stars Will Shine: Helping our Heroes One Page at a Time

On Tuesday, it was a real pleasure to share my review for When Stars Will Shine collated by Emma Mitchell. This is a wonderful collection of short stories with all proceeds from sales going to the Help the Heroes charity. With stories that will touch your heart, some Christmas crime, and love stories, there is something for everyone.

~ On social media ~

For #ThrowbackThursday, I looked back on my review of The Returning Tide by Liz Fenwick.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I added 1 signed book to my bookshelf this week.

Whilst out and about in London this Friday, I popped into Gallery Different on Percy Street to have a look around the Charley Mackesy Exhibition. They were showing artworks and drawings from his beautiful book: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse . I was very lucky to meet Charley and he signed a copy of my book and included a couple of doodles!

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

A book of hope for uncertain times.

Enter the world of Charlie’s four unlikely friends, discover their story and their most important life lessons.

The conversations of the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse have been shared thousands of times online, recreated in school art classes, hung on hospital walls and turned into tattoos. In Charlie’s first book, you will find his most-loved illustrations and some new ones too.

~ On my bedside table ~

Followers by Megan Angelo

I’m reading Followers by Megan Angelo. It’s set between 2015 and 2051 and, as the title suggests, it revolves around social media and followings. It is a good read and interesting to see what the 2051 digital world might have in store for us!


What books have you been reading and buying this week? Let me know by leaving a reply in the box below.

Until next week, happy reading!

Blog Tours · Books · Extracts · fiction · Gill Thompson

Sarah’s Vignettes: Extract from The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson (@wordkindling) ~ @headlinepg ~ @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour

Welcome to Sarah’s Vignettes stop on the blog tour for The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson.

I am so pleased to be taking part in this tour and thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

I was sad that I couldn’t fit in a review for this book. It is exactly my kind of historical read as I gravitate towards stories set in World War 2. However, after reading the extract below, I will be reading and reviewing the book at some point. It’s powerful.

Before I share the extract with you, here is what The Child on Platform One is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

Inspired by the real-life escape of thousands of Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Europe on the Kindertransport trains to London, the new novel from the author of The Oceans Between Us Gill Thompson. For readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz Heather Morris, The Choice Edith Eger and Lilac Girls Martha Hall Kelly.

Prague 1939. Young mother Eva has a secret from her past. When the Nazis invade, Eva knows the only way to keep her daughter Miriam safe is to send her away – even if it means never seeing her again. But when Eva is taken to a concentration camp, her secret is at risk of being exposed.

In London, Pamela volunteers to help find places for the Jewish children arrived from Europe. Befriending one unclaimed little girl, Pamela brings her home. It is only when her young son enlists in the RAF that Pamela realises how easily her own world could come crashing down.

~ Extract from The Child on Platform One ~

11

The guard’s whistle blew. Pamela put her head out of the window to check that all the children were safely on board. Further down the platform, a wailing child was being forced into a carriage by a clearly agitated mother. How awful. As the train pulled out, Pamela hurried down the corridor to check on the little girl. As she did so, she caught the mother’s eye. There was no time to call out that everything would be all right, even if she could find the words, but in that split second of contact she concentrated all her efforts on silently assuring the woman that she’d protect her child. She saw the woman turn to her companion and they put their arms round each other. She couldn’t bear to think how hard it must be for them to hand over their children. She twisted her wedding ring round her finger as she thought of Will, and silently thanked God he was safe.
She found the little girl, her face buried in her doll, sitting by the window, her small legs dangling. Opposite her was a boy of a similar age, imperturbably munching on a hunk of black bread. For a second Pamela thought of Margery Weston, who no doubt had purchased new provisions and was tucking into them heartily. How strange that some people could carry on eating even in the most extreme of circumstances. She herself certainly couldn’t manage a morsel.

She sat down carefully next to the child. Her long hair, probably carefully brushed by her mother, was frizzy where it had rubbed against the seat. Pamela longed to smooth it but didn’t want to scare her. The girl had brown frightened eyes in a white face and looked about five or six. ‘Seef por ardku?’ Pamela asked. Are you all right? Mrs Brevda had taught her well. She was quite fluent now.
The little girl nodded woefully.
‘Yak-say-manyouyesh?’ What’s your name?
‘Miriam,’ the girl whispered.
Pamela gently stroked the doll’s hair. ‘Jakka hezka panenka.’ What a pretty doll! Thank goodness she’d had all that practice with Agata. She reached out to shake the doll’s hand, just as she had with Agata’s doll in the hospital. The child gave a half-smile. Pamela gestured to her to hand the doll over, and soon they were playing hide-and-seek with it. Even the little boy joined in. By the time the train pulled to a halt an hour later, the children had started to laugh a little.
Pamela walked up the train to find out why they had stopped. They were at a station. Terezin, the sign said. She located Margery, who was gesticulating at an official with a hand that still clutched an apple. Tiny bits of the fruit’s flesh flew through the air. ‘Ah, Pamela. Perhaps you can help.’
‘I’ll try.’ Pamela stepped forward and exchanged a few sentences with the man. ‘Apparently some important papers are missing. We can’t cross into Germany without them.’
Margery blew out her cheeks. ‘Oh no. How frustrating. I was assured everything was in order.’
Pamela bit her lip. They had such a long way to go, and already there was a holdup when they’d barely started. 

Margery had no choice but to dispatch Patrick Smith back to Prague to collect the necessary papers. Pamela looked out of the window to see the black ulster coat scuttling self-importantly up the platform, ready to catch the return train. Perhaps Smith was more competent than he’d appeared.
It had been nice to be back in Prague, however briefly. Despite the pain of her accident, and the horror of Ada’s death, Pamela still had some good memories of Czechoslovakia: the warmth and kindness of the people . . . the beauty of the landscape . . . even the food had been interesting, though very different to Hampstead fare. Most of all, it was tremendous to feel she was doing something. She had her part to play: registering the children, issuing brown labels, trying to console distraught mothers. It had been a very long time since she’d felt she was genuinely helping. I feel like a Quaker again, she realised. At long last the guilt of compromise, hypocrisy even, was beginning to recede. Hugh was doing his bit at the Foreign Office; she was rescuing refugees. Finally they were working as a team.
Their train waited at Terezin for four hours, while others moved through the station past it. Four hours of checking on the children, joining in with ‘Hoppe, hoppe Reiter’, which they seemed to want to sing countless times, making sure they didn’t eat all their food, placing blankets over those who had fallen asleep, comforting those who were distressed. And all the time listening to Margery’s infuriated rants and feeling her own blood pressure rise alarmingly. By the time Patrick Smith finally returned with the vital papers, and the train jerked into action, Pamela was exhausted and frustrated. They had so much time to make up. 

The motion of the train lulled more children to sleep, and eventually Pamela felt she could relax. For the first few hours the windows were filled with mountains and forests, just as when they’d travelled through Germany for their ski trip. She’d forgotten how beautiful the country was. How could such splendour and tranquillity have spawned such a warlike people? Adolf Hitler was a powerful man, there was no doubt about that. Thank God Chamberlain was holding him off for now, but Pamela had seen the worry and fear etched on the faces of the people at the Wilson station. Occupation was a terrible thing. She hoped it would never come to that in Britain.
When they stopped at Cologne, German officers boarded the train. Pamela heard the thud of their boots as they made their way up the corridors. She looked out of the window. Nazi flags hung from each lamp post; there were black swastikas in white circles and posters of Hitler everywhere. The air crackled with tension.
Suddenly their compartment door burst open and a German officer appeared, lurching slightly in the entrance. Pamela’s mouth turned paper-dry, and she held her breath. The officer strode up to Miriam and motioned to her doll. ‘What have we here?’
Miriam held out the doll with a shaking hand. The man grabbed it and dangled it out of the window, his fingers forcing the little cloth limbs to jerk up and down. ‘Help me,’ he cried in a high-pitched voice, then laughed at his own pantomime. Miriam was frozen with terror.
The little boy shifted in his seat. Pamela put her palm on his shoulder to restrain him, then strode over to the window.
 
‘Stop it,’ she said, as vehemently as she dared. ‘You’re upsetting the children.’
She had no idea if the officer understood her words, but he’d caught her tone. He shrugged, drew the doll back in and tossed it onto Miriam’s lap. Pamela hoped he’d leave them alone after that, but instead he hauled the children’s cases down from the luggage rack. As he dropped them on the floor, one of them burst open, revealing a neat stack of clothes.
The German pulled the garments out and flung them behind him, creating an untidy pile of skirts and dresses, several made from the same material. Something caught in Pamela’s throat. Miriam’s mother must have sewn them for her. She was obviously expecting them to be apart for some time. The officer grabbed another lot of belongings from the suitcase and dropped them on the floor. There was a smashing sound.
‘I can assure you everything here is in order,’ Pamela said.
The German ignored her.
Anger tightened in a band across her chest. ‘Enough!’ she shouted. She marched up to the German, snapped the suitcase shut, and hauled it across the floor away from him. ‘What kind of man are you that you victimise defenceless children? You should be ashamed of yourself,’ she hissed, putting as much venom in her voice as she could. Even if he didn’t speak English, there was no doubt about her anger. Let him attack her if he wanted – the man in the homburg would surely come to her aid soon – but these children were terrified. They had barely anything of their own. How dare he ransack their cases? 

The German scowled. Pamela stood her ground. Where on earth was the homburg man? ‘Keep away from these children. Their things are not yours to take.’ She made a shooing gesture with her hand. ‘Get out this minute!’
The German’s eyes bulged. He aimed a kick at the suitcase, then left the compartment.
Pamela’s legs were suddenly hollow. When she knelt down quickly in front of Miriam, it was as much to stop herself falling over as to reassure the child.
‘Come on, dear,’ she said in Czech. It was almost impossible to speak, her mouth was so dry. ‘Let’s repack your suitcase.’ She started to refold the girl’s dresses and place them carefully back in the case. A photo in a broken frame had slid under the seat. She picked it up to see a smiling Jewish couple, the little girl seated between them. ‘Don’t worry,’ she told her. ‘We’ll get this mended for you when we get to England.’ The child gulped and hugged her doll tightly.
Pamela heaved the cases back into the overhead rack.
‘Will you be all right now?’
Miriam and the boy both nodded.
She strode into the next-door compartment to find the man Lord Halifax had supposedly sent to keep an eye on her still sitting behind his newspaper, his homburg intact. The pages shook slightly in his hands.
She stood in front of him, hands on hips, until he lowered his paper. His face was pale and his forehead gleamed with sweat.
‘I thought you were here to help,’ she said.
The man swallowed. ‘Er, sorry. Got engrossed.’ He wiped his palms down his trousers. ‘Are you all right?’ 

~ Where to find The Child on Platform One ~

The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson

The Child on Platform One was published in the UK by Headline Review on 1 December 2019. It can be found in all good bookshops, on Amazon UK and on Goodreads.

~ About Gill Thompson ~

Gill Thompson, author, The Child on Platform One

Gill Thompson is an English lecturer who completed an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University. Her debut novel, The Oceans Between Us, was a No. 1 digital bestseller and has been highly acclaimed. She lives with her family in West Sussex and teaches English to college students.

W: wordkindling.co.uk ~ T: @wordkindling

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Blog tour poster: The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson