I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on Eileen Ramsay’s The Farm Girl’s Dream blog tour today with a guest post and review. First up, over to Eileen…
Eileen The Writer
Everyone in my family read – books, magazines, newspapers, the backs of cornflake boxes, and if there was nothing to read our parents told stories.
Our mother was Irish and when we were young she told us tales of all the naughty things she and her friends used to do when they were children. When we were older she told us stories about Ireland in what she called the “troubles.’’
Father was born in Scotland but his father was English and so my sister, my brother and I have always felt very British. Dad had been a professional soldier and so had served in many countries and when we were young he had just returned from WW11. On cold evenings he would light a fire in the living room and he would tell us stories of “old unhappy far-off things and battles long ago” He loved Burma and the Burmese people and fascinated us with his descriptions of jungle flowers, beautiful temples, and gentle generous people. Every night I told my sister a story. She, being three years older, was supposed to tell me one in return but somehow she always fell asleep.
I grew up and became a school teacher and wrote stories for my classes. And then one weekend when I was staying with friends I wrote a story about my friend’s father’s dog. I called it Duffer and the Writer. My husband read it before I could print it out for my friend.
‘You should have that published,’ said my husband.
I had never thought of publication – that was for real writers – but I began to write seriously. I was reading the books of Elizabeth Goudge and Georgette Heyer and so I decided to start writing a Regency romance. At the same time I was doing a Master’s degree and a professor allowed me to submit the manuscript as part of my course. Not long after graduation I attended a writers’ conference at UC San Diego where I met an editor who surprised me by reading the manuscript and sending me a note. ‘I think this will go.’ That same year, we decided to return with our sons to Scotland where I met an editor who gave me the names of the agents his company used. I applied to one of them who asked for the manuscript and – imagine my delight when she sold it to an American company. They did not ask for a second book and so the lovely agent said, ‘Write about what you know,’ and so I did. I wrote The Broken Gate which is about love and family life and human strength and kindness.
And Duffer and the Writer, no I have never published it but it did win the ‘Children’s story’ category in a competition held by The Scottish Association of Writers.
From the fields of Angus to the shores of Mexico, a family struggles to find their way home. Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Rita Bradshaw and Kitty Neale.
To young Victoria Cameron, Angus, Scotland is the most beautiful place on earth and she wishes nothing more than to stay on her little farm for ever. But the death of her beloved grandfather leaves her and her mother without a farm and struggling to make ends meet.
Never one to give up, Victoria soon finds work in a Dundee mill, while her mother supports them by taking in lodgers. Neither ever expected one of those lodgers would be John Cameron, the father that walked out on them so many years ago.
Victoria is torn about how to receive this stranger, and torn about the other man in her life – a young boy she thinks she could love if only he comes back from the war.
Published June 15th 2017 by Bonnier Zaffre (UK)
I was brought up in the eighties with my Mum’s historical romance/family saga paperbacks piled up on our bookshelves, and it was one of these that became my very first adult read at around age twelve. Over a couple of years I devoured many more, and although my tastes have changed since then, I still have a soft spot for a good old saga for a bit of comfort reading.
Eileen Ramsay is a new to me author, although she has a massive 18 books already to her name. The Farm Girl’s Dream is set in the perfect time period for this type of book – the years spanning the prelude to the first world war and before the second. I think why this period in history does work so well is that, with ordinary women at the heart of this book, this period in history offers a time of great social change, growth and opportunity for females, allowing deep character developement. It becomes difficult not to become attached and immersed in their life.
The Farm Girl’s Dream captures this feeling of change for its main character, Victoria, beautifully. Through adversity and hardship, we see her become independent, grasp opportunities and fight to make a life for herself beyond expectation. The supporting cast of characters are equally as intriguing and I loved the nostalgic sense of community typical of this time.
Eileen’s writing is engaging and flowing, meaning this is a very easy book to become lost in and read over a few hours. In places I felt it was a little jumpy and things seemed to move on quite quickly, however when you’re spanning three decades, then I suppose this is somewhat inevitable. I did enjoy her descriptions of places and smells, from the squalor of the Jute mill to the exoticness of India as the world is opened up to Victoria.
The Farm Girl’s Dream is a sweeping saga – there’s tragedy, struggle, family, rags to riches, a villain and romance. But it’s the sense of hope and accomplishment which make these books so appealing and this one definitely hits the spot. I really enjoyed getting lost in this book for a few hours, and ended with a huge smile on my face and feeling of contentment. Lovely, feel good comfort reading well worth a read – and a new author for me, whose books I’d happily pick up again
A Pinch Of Salt, also by Eileen Ramsay, is re-released in paperback later this summer.
(I read a copy courtesy of the publisher)