A Barn in Normandy by Jennie Phillips

A Barn in Normandy

Principal category Biography
Word count (approximate pages) 44,500 (105)
In Kindle, Epub or PDF formats $3.00

“The Good Life in France”

Jennie and her actor husband Conrad form part of a wave of enterprising Brits who, in the 1980’s and 1990’s, buy up property in France, restore it, and live the good life. In their case, it’s an old barn which they fall in love with. Although a beautiful and robust building, it presents them with enormous challenges as they struggle to make it into a home while at the same time retaining its unique character.

The couple are welcomed with open arms into both French and English communities, but cultural and linguistic differences give rise to many humorous happenings which Jennie’s sharp eye and delicious turn of phrase record in detail.

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The two expats are born survivors, rising above ill health and even escaping virtually unscathed from the Lothar Storm of December 1999. They take everything in their stride until one dark night a road accident undermines their confidence in their chosen country. Will they retire defeated or will they battle through to recreate their dream?

This is a book which makes you feel a part of the author’s life as she embraces her surroundings, including the primitive lifestyle which the building project necessitates in its early stages. The text is embellished by colour photographs.

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A Northern Life by A L Mottley

A Northern Life

Principal category Biography
Word count (approximate pages) 60,800 (160)
In Kindle, Epub or PDF formats $4.99
Paperback edition

What she don’t know, can’t hurt me!

Based on true life events this is a side-splittingly funny look at the life a of young mixed-race girl, Lesley, growing up in the north of England, during the 60’s and early 70’s. She lives in a noisy and cramped but nevertheless loving home along with her siblings and parents. Lesley is the eldest of six children all born within 8 years of each other and her book tells of her constant battles with her siblings and the unique relationship she shares with her ‘Mam’ – a strict and loving but, in Lesley’s eye, a ‘strange’ woman

A Northern Life covers the lives and traditions of a typical working class family, growing up on a council estate in the north of Manchester, with a twist of Caribbean flavour, courtesy of her Barbadian father.

It features typically strong northern female characters such as Mam and Nana and their outlook and views on life in general as seen from the perspective of a small child.

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Read about Whitsun and Christmas preparations and what to do when it rains – all through the author’s uniquely funny style. It also charts Lesley’s increasing ‘fed-up-ness’ at the never ending appearance of more kids in the household and her despair at having to ‘play’ with them along with her ‘hilarious’ confrontations with Mam.

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Reviews

“This author’s first book is a laugh out loud assortment of tales from her life growing up in North Manchester as the child of a mixed race marriage. She is tremendously funny in her telling of anecdotes, and stories involving her parents and grandparents, siblings and friends.”
MH, Chadderton

A Bolt For Freedom

A Bolt For Freedom

 Principal category Biography
 Word count (approximate pages) 14,000 (30)
 In Kindle, Epub or PDF formats $0.99

The heart-warming prequel to Skeoch

This is the account of the author’s eventful and entertaining life up until the momentous decision to move to Scotland recounted in ‘Skeoch’.

The sole survivor of twins, she is brought up in a house haunted by a large Alsatian dog, and works her way through various interesting and madcap jobs which are gradually more and more connected to the world of stage and films and lead her inevitably towards her first encounter with her future husband, Conrad Phillips, lead actor of the series ‘William Tell’.

Theirs is a whirlwind romance culminating in marriage after only 10 weeks. For part of the honeymoon, the groom asks the bride to choose between an extra night in a luxury hotel, or a night in his boat and a non-stick frying pan – she chooses the latter!

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This sets the tone for the couple’s married life, where they have to live in cramped accommodation – particularly a problem after the birth of their first daughter – and only get to increase their living space after surreptitious night-time dumping of vast quantities of rubbish hoarded by their landlord.

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A holiday travelling through France and thence to Menorca with their young baby gives them the thirst for space and freedom. Thus is born the yearning which leads to the ‘Skeoch’ adventure.

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Bannockburn Tartan cover image reproduced courtesy of Cameron Ross.