January 2021 - Secrets and Saviours
We have a title! This is a long overdue update I know, but I've been busy! The last few months have seen much editing activity with the result that I am hoping to publish the final volume in my trilogy this Spring (all things being equal).
And we have a title which I hope you will find intriguing! To tempt you further, I'm offering my loyal readers exclusive access to the prologue of the new book. All you need to do is email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am not putting this up for general release, but I would like to offer some insights and snippets of the new book to take us up to publication. I will not, of course, use your email for any other purpose than to keep you updated about the book and will not be passing your contact details on to any third party.
Behind the Scenes of Secrets and Saviours
As you know, my protagonist, Esther, is an accomplished herbalist as well as a midwife. To support her credentials, I wanted to use real herbal lore and consequently chose Nicholas Culpeper’s The Complete Herbal as a source of authentic receipts. I knew nothing about Nicholas the man, only that he was world famous for his herbal knowledge. I was well into my story before I came across the information that Culpeper was raised in nearby Isfield and likely went to the grammar school in Lewes. Such a coincidence! Culpeper published his works cheaply and, unusually, in English. He wanted to give the poor and disadvantaged access to knowledge of the medical use of herbs that could be grown in their gardens. His writings were quite caustic in places as well as being witty and amusing. He was very unpopular with medics and apothecaries who saw him eroding their reputations and monetary returns. He also wrote extensively on midwifery. Nicholas Culpeper’s writings date from the 1600’s and allegedly have never been out of print. He died in 1654 aged 38. His wife Mary, who had borne him seven children, published some of his works posthumously.
Whilst researching Nicholas' earlier life, I discovered a tragic episode. Nicholas had engaged himself to a young woman of some wealth. Knowing that their families would not approve or sanction such a marriage, they planned to elope. Arrangements were made for Nicholas to travel to Lewes by coach and for the young woman to walk, with her maid and jewels, across the Downs to where the priest was waiting in a Lewes chapel. Unfortunately, there was a great storm and the poor girl was struck down dead by lightning. Mary Culpeper, his mother, never really recovered from the shock and he was disowned by his grandfather Thomas Attersoll of Isfield Church. Culpeper wrote about this incident but never named the young woman.
Source: The Herbalist: Nicolas Culpeper and the Fight for Medical Freedom by Benjamin Woolley
A New Article in Ingenue (Issue 30)
Ingenue (http://www.ingenuemagazine.co.uk/), a quarterly magazine dedicated to supporting creative talent, has just published an article about my forthcoming trilogy. I am very proud to have my books reviewed by them. They have been tremendously supportive to independent writers and artists, so please do read their article and even subscribe if you are keen to be kept-to-date. Click here to read my article.
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Facebook is where I often share recent events, books I've read, short stories I'm writing, even the nocturnal habits of my local hedgehogs! You'll also find two lovely videos there of the churches and countryside which feature in my books.
Who am I?
My name is Beverley and I am the author of two historical novels set in Lewes, East Sussex, England, in the 1790's. I am currently writing a third book to complete the trilogy. The stories centre around the main character Esther, a young woman having to find her own way in life without family support or any financial means. Her life is tough and dangerous, but she is made of strong stuff, often showing true courage as well as compassion to overcome the cruel hand life has dealt her.
The titles of my books are Three Round Towers and Retribution. I will let you know the title of the third as soon as it emerges! Both my books are available to buy direct from the publishers, Troubador, or via Amazon. Simply click the relevant 'BUY IT' button on the images of my books to the right.
If you live locally to me in East Sussex, both books are also available in Lewes at Sussex Stationers and Boon Books, both in the High Street. Obviously, at the moment these shops are closed, so online purchasing is your best option. Both are also available on Kindle, if you don't want to buy the physical copies.
I have been writing most of my life, but it wasn't until I retired that I decided to try a novel. Up until then, I wrote for the local press, penned whimsical articles including several seasons of pantomime scripts for my children's primary school, St Philips in Uckfield. The panto tradition continues to this day with Sara Cannon (who was one of the cast in an early script now writing and producing). Children that we performed to now take the leading roles! And of course I entertained my own children with stories from my imagination.
In normal circumstances, I am available to do Talks, Book Signings and meet with Book Groups to discuss the novels, my characters, where I get my inspiration from and what might come next in the lives of my protagonists. I really enjoy hearing your views and thoughts about my books, so please do get in touch and let me know if you are interested in arranging an event. For now, I obviously can't do these events in person whilst we are in lockdown, but it might be possible to use online systems like Zoom if you'd like that idea. Let me know using the contact form below.
If you'd like to read a Preview from each of my novels, then just click on the 'Preview' button underneath the relevant book ... and enjoy! For detailed synopses of each book, continue scrolling down.
This is the first book where the story begins.
THREE ROUND TOWERS
ISBN 978-1-78306-420-5 (Matador) 2014
“An engaging tale of one young woman’s struggles against the prejudices, assumptions and deprivations of a grim and ruthless period of our history.” (Rosemary Aitken)
In the first of her Esther Coad historical fiction trilogy, Beverley Elphick powerfully reimagines life in southern England in the late eighteenth century and a society at war with itself. In times of hardship and shortage, when vicious smugglers hold sway over the town of Lewes in East Sussex, a young servant on the run finds herself caught up in a web of resentment, family feuding and brutal acts of revenge. To double the trouble for Esther, can she turn her back on the abandoned baby in need of care?
‘You’re an evil woman and I wish you were hanged, just as you deserve.’
‘Aye, maybe I do deserve hanging, but you’m come from our seed, girl, and you’ll never know whether the badness is in you.’
I have been inspired by the landscapes around my home town of Lewes and have tried to bring a sense of time and place to highlight a turbulent period of history. I couldn't write a novel about Lewes without mentioning the bonfire traditions of that time.
Paperback £8.99; ebook £4.50 available via 'Buy It' button above.
Click here for Three Round Tower reviews .....
This is the second book in my unfolding trilogy. The final book is taking shape - watch this space.
ISBN 978-1-78901-581-2 (Matador) 2018
Following the success of Three Round Towers, Retribution follows the unfolding story of Esther in 18th Century Lewes.
Murder. Betrayal. Adventure. A Score That Must Be Settled.
A tale of twists and turns following the most unlikely of female leads.
‘How do you know my name?’ I asked… ‘We will come to that’ he said.
‘Do you think they meant to kill him?’
War between Britain, France and Spain forms the background to Beverley Elphick's much-anticipated second novel, Retribution. Our heroine Esther Coad is looking forward at last to starting a normal family life; but with the town under threat, and plagued by shadows from the past, can Esther reach her longed-for happy ever after?
This is the second instalment of Beverley Elphick’s trilogy set in the eighteenth century when smuggling is rife and a strong female voice rarely heard.
At the heart of the story is family; not always the one you are born with, but the one you carve out for yourself.
Paperback £9.99; ebook £4.50 available via 'Buy It' button above.
Click here for Retribution reviews .....
If you'd like to contact me with comments or reviews, to arrange a Book Group, Signing or Talk please use the adjacent form and I will reply as soon as I can.
Thank you for looking at my site and I hope you enjoy reading my books!