IT'S SAGA SATURDAY!! Please welcome Orion saga author, Juliet Greenwood...

My inspiration for The Ferryman’s Daughter
Juliet Greenwood

I loved writing The Ferryman’s Daughter, my first saga for Orion. I’ve always been fascinated by women’s lives in the past, particularly around the time of the First World War. History might have overlooked them, but my research taught me that there were so many determined and fearless women (working class as well as their more privileged sisters) who fought a system stacked against them, wresting many of the rights we take for granted today (like being able to have a profession and keep our own earnings, and that no, it is not acceptable for girls of 13 to be legally registered as prostitutes) from the unwilling hands of powerful politicians. Much of this was at a time when very few men had the vote and women had no legal existence at all.

It was this dogged determination I loved about Hester, the heroine of The Ferryman’s Daughter. Born into desperate poverty in a hamlet just outside St Ives in Cornwall, she never gives up her ambition to support herself and her younger brother and sister through her skills as a cook, rather than being forced into marrying the (decidedly creepy) young man her self-absorbed father has picked out for her for his own convenience (mainly in the form of extra pints down the local). Hester is nobody’s fool and can look after herself, especially after taking over the rowing of the family’s ferry while keeping wandering hands at bay. She also finds that there are women in charge of their lives when she starts to work for the self-made businesswoman who, like many women during WW1, uses her wealth to set up a convalescent home for wounded soldiers.

Whatever life throws at her (including the world turned upside down and sudden panic buying of flour and sugar threatening to destroy her fledgling business) Hester picks herself up, dusts herself down and finds a way through. At the same time, she remains fiercely protective of her younger siblings, and follows her own heart in love, despite the barriers of class and the uncertainties brought by war.

I never once thought, in the months I spent in her company, that Hester would emerge into a world that has changed abruptly. One in which there are many women holding it all together and battling through. Women whose stories will, I hope one day be told, and will never be forgotten.

The Ferryman’s Daughter

Can Hester help her family escape desperate poverty and fulfil her dreams?

1908: Hester always loved her mother best, her father had always been a hard man to like, spending more time (and money) in the local than with his family. When her mother dies suddenly Hester is placed in the position of caregiver for her younger brother and sister, only for her father to get badly injured in an accident.
As the years pass it is only Hester who can keep her family afloat, now rowing the ferry night and day to keep them all from starvation, she sees her dreams of working in a kitchen and one day becoming a cook, slipping further and further away.
But just how far is Hester willing to go to make her dream a reality? And as the threat of war comes ever closer to the Cornish coast, will it bring opportunities or despair for Hester and her family?

Book links

Juliet Greenwood

Juliet Greenwood has always been a bookworm and a storyteller, writing her first novel (a sweeping historical epic) at the age of ten. She is fascinated both by her Celtic heritage and the history of the women in her family, with her great-grandmother having supported her family by nail making in Lye, in the Black Country, near Birmingham in the UK, and her grandmother working as a cook in a large country house.

Before being published by Orion, Juliet wrote three historical novels for Honno Press, reaching #4 and #5 in the UK kindle store.

Juliet lives in a traditional quarryman’s cottage between the mountains and the sea in beautiful Snowdonia, in Wales in the UK, and is to be found dog walking in all weathers, always with a camera to hand…
Social media links:

Facebook: AuthorJulietGreenwood
Twitter  @julietgreenwood

1 comment

  1. Thank you for the invitation to be on your blog, Rachel! I love the determined women of Pennington's, so it's a real pleasure to be here. May the women (past and present) keep battling on!