As there are still plenty of summer days left for reading (albeit that you might be reading in mac and wellingtons) I thought I would feature one of my recent library reads which I flew through recently. We That are Left by Juliet Greenwood (Honno Press 2014) is set during the First World War, which is a very topical subject just at the moment. The action moves between Cornwall, Anglesey and France as the war unfolds and opens at Elin Helstone’s Cornish home Hiram Hall just before the outbreak of hostilities:
Elin lives a luxurious but lonely life at Hiram Hall. Her husband Hugo loves her but he has never recovered from the Boer War. Now another war threatens to destroy everything she knows.
With Hugo at the front, and her cousin Alice and friend Mouse working for the war effort, Elin has to learn to run the estate in Cornwall, growing much-needed food, sharing her mother’s recipes and making new friends – and enemies. But when Mouse is in danger, Elin must face up to the horrors in France herself. And when the Great War is finally over, Elin’s battles prove to have only just begun.
I have read many novels from this period, but ever since reading Not So Quiet by Helen Zennor Smith some years ago, I’ve tried to read more about women’s role during the great conflict. Juliet Greenwood’s novel combines love (as opposed to romance) with the hard realities of war for both soldiers and civilians, against a background of women’s wartime activity. Whether it’s growing food, driving ambulances or running a hospital and foraging for medical supplies, Greenwood’s women step up and are counted. It was a time when women were challenging social roles and agitating for the vote, and it was ironic that it took a war for women to have the opportunity prove what they could do. It is also worth pointing out that after the war many women who served in the war effort would have had just the same difficulties as the men in returning to peace time after all that they had seen and endured.
I haven’t hosted a Landing Author for a while, so I thought I would ask Juliet Greenwood if she would be kind enough to write a guest post for The Landing. After seeing a cookery demonstration recently at TCD’ s World War I day of talks and events, I decided that it would be interesting to focus on food as a post topic. At the cookery demonstration, Domini Kemp and Catherine Cleary from RTE’s History on a Plate recreated some recipes from the Ireland of that period. In Juliet’s novel, Elin has her Welsh mother’s collection of tried and tested recipes which she puts to good to good use when ingredients are scarce. A nice feature of We that are left is that Juliet has included some of the recipes that she mentions in the story. I’m planning to try out some of them myself and will be posting the results on Curiously Creatively in due course.
I’ll be posting up Juliet’s guest post, complete with recipes to tempt you into the kitchen, in a couple of days so do look out for it. Juliet Greenwood is the second Honno Press author that I’ve hosted here, the first being Jacqueline Jacques so check out her guest posts too if you have the time.
In the meantime, here’s a little information about Juliet Greenwood if you haven’t read her books before:
Juliet lives in a traditional quarryman’s cottage between the mountains of Snowdonia and the island of Anglesey. She has a large garden and attempts to grow as much as she is able and experiment with the results. When not writing Juliet works collecting oral history, before such stories are lost forever.
‘We That are Left’ is her second Book for Honno Press. Her first, ‘Eden’s Garden’ was a finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’ 2014. Both books were Kindle top 5 best sellers in June and July 2014.
Juliet also writes serials and stories for magazines as ‘Heather Pardoe’.
Juliet’s Media Links:
We That Are Left Honno Press, 2014
The Welsh Books Council’s Book of the Month, March 2014
The National Museum of Wales Book of the Month, March 2014
Waterstones Wales Book of the Month March, 2014 http://www.amazon.co.uk/That-Are-Left-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/190678499X
Eden’s Garden Honno Press, 2012
Finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’, May 2014
I hope all of that has whetted your appetite before Juliet Greenwood’s guest post on writing about women and food in the First World War!