Saturday, 18 August 2018

Beezy Marsh - New Novel Spotlight

 New Novel Spotlight: All My Mother's Secrets

I’m delighted to welcome Beezy Marsh to my blog with a spotlight on her new novel and an exciting extract from the novel. I loved Beezy’s novel, Keeping my Sisters' Secrets and I can’t wait to share the review of this new novel too.

More about the novel:

A vivid, heart-warming story of survival 
Annie Austin’s childhood ends at the age of twelve, when she joins her mother in one of the slum laundries of Acton, working long hours for little pay. What spare time she has is spent looking after her younger brother George and her two stepsisters, under the glowering eye of her stepfather Bill. In London between the wars, a girl like Annie has few choices in life – but a powerful secret will change her destiny.
All Annie knows about her real father is that he died in the Great War, and as the years pass she is haunted by the pain of losing him. Her downtrodden mother won’t tell her more and Annie’s attempts to uncover the truth threaten to destroy her family. Distraught, she runs away to Covent Garden, but can she survive on her own and find the love which has eluded her so far?

From the grimy streets of Acton and Notting Hill to the bright lights of the West End, All My Mother’s Secrets is a powerful, uplifting story of a young woman’s struggle to come to terms with her family’s tragic past.

Extract from the new novel:

Acton, May 1934 

Her tears had dried, but Annie’s throat was still hoarse from crying as the tram clattered down the High Street, taking her away from her family and the run-down streets she called home. 
  They’d never had much, struggling to get by, just like everyone else round their way, but they’d stuck together through everything life could throw at them. That had always been enough, until now. 
  Annie clasped the worn leather handles of her carpet bag. Everything she owned had been hurriedly stuffed in there and she’d gone without even writing a note. Even after the countless quarrels that families have, she could never have imagined she’d leave home like this, lifting the latch and sneaking away up the front path. But that was before her whole world had turned upside down. 
  Secrets, half-truths – her head was spinning just trying to make sense of it all. Only one thing was certain: finding out had changed everything. 
  As the tram arrived at the bustling terminus in Shepherd’s Bush, she wiped her eyes and stood up, smoothing the creases from her skirt and straightening her green felt cloche hat. 
  Annie stepped down, joining the crowd of people who had places to go, catching a bus up to the West End of London. 
  Her heart was pounding but she lifted her chin and forced a smile as the bus conductor took her penny fare. 
  Whatever the future held, there was no going back. 

Soapsud Island, November 1918 
Monday was washday. Annie watched the women struggling up Acton Lane, towards the communal laundry at the baths, with bundles of clothing tied up in sheets and slung over their shoulders. 
  For sixpence you could get a nice hot bath, if you could afford it, but the women’s task was to get their clothes clean, bashing their laundry against the washboards at the sinks. Some were bow-legged under the weight of the week’s dirty washing, which would be boiled, scrubbed, washed, rinsed, put through the wringer, starched and pegged out to dry before the day was done; not just hung up any old how on the washing line, either. There was an order to things; it had to be neatly done, on lines in the back yard, or the neighbours would talk. 
  A lucky few housewives had a handcart to wheel the laundry up the narrow winding lane, bordered on either side by rows of glum, sooty little terraced houses. The less fortunate bore their burden, followed by a gaggle of runny-nosed children who should really have been in school, shouldn’t they? 
  Outside the grocer’s shop up on the High Street, a couple of women tutted as they raised their handbags at the passing spectacle, as if to shield themselves from the disorder of the lower classes. They’d come from the big houses, over the other side of the town, in West Acton, but the war meant people weren’t so choosy about where they were seen these days. Word got around about any shop that did a half-decent loaf and didn’t try to short-change you or give you a little under what you’d paid for. 
  The smell of freshly baked bread wafted out of the bakery down the road, making Annie’s stomach rumble; she hadn’t had time to have anything more than a quick cuppa for breakfast once she’d filled the copper in the scullery – that had taken six buckets of water. Then she’d put the whites in to soak while she popped up the road to the shop. 
  She caught sight of the ladies’ gloved hands and felt her rough, cracked knuckles. It made her want to cry, having her hands in such a terrible state, but her mother had told her time and time again there was no shame in bearing the marks of a hard day’s work. It was just that she dreaded the arrival of winter when the keens would crack and bleed and she’d spend every night with her swollen fingers coated in lanolin to try to soothe them, or dunking them in warm, salty water to stop them getting infected. 
  The two ladies stopped twittering away to each other like a pair of linnets and looked her up and down. The toes of their polished boots were just peeking out of their long skirts and the pure white lace collars of their blouses sat perfectly against their slender throats. One had a watch on a long gold chain around her neck and the other had a beautiful amethyst brooch pinned to the lapel of her fur-tipped coat. Annie met their gaze, just as her mother had taught her. 
  She fumbled to do up the buttons on her cardigan, to make herself look as smart as she could. Her long, chestnut hair hung in loose bunches secured by ribbons and her blunt fringe was the work of her mum’s scissors. They’d probably notice that her black woollen pinafore had seen better days and the collar of her blouse was fraying, but at least it was bleached and starched nicely. She had come here to do some shopping, just like them, and her money was as good as anybody else’s.

 I really loved this novel and will be posting the review soon. It is available to buy here:

About the Author:

Beezy Marsh is an award-winning journalist, who has spent more than 20 years making the headlines in newspapers including The Daily Mail and The Sunday Times.

This was never going to be enough for a girl from Hartlepool, whose primary school teacher told her to give up her dream of becoming a poet and concentrate on being a nurse instead. Thirty years later, give or take, she became an author.

Her first novel, MR MAKE BELIEVE, will be published by Ipso Books in April 2017. It charts one imperfect mother’s attempts to find the key to lasting romance, with the help of daydreams about a hunky actor and an internet blog about her life, which catapults her to stardom and into his arms. Will living the dream provide the answers she seeks or is true love just make believe?

Her biography of legendary gangsters Mad Frankie Fraser and his bank robber sons follows the family's 100 years on the wrong side of the law. MAD FRANK AND SONS, published by Pan Macmillan, has been optioned for a film by Bill Kenwright Productions Ltd.

The memoir KEEPING MY SISTER'S SECRETS, tells the moving story of three sisters born into poverty in 1930s London and their fight for a survival through a decade of social upheaval and the Second World War. It will be published by Pan Macmillan on July 27th 2017

Beezy is married, with two young sons, and lives in Oxfordshire with a never-ending pile of laundry. Read her LIFE-LOVE-LAUNDRY blog and get latest book news at

Follow Beezy on Twitter @beezymarsh