Joy M. Lilley’s Books

Joyful Pussy Cat Tales by Joy M Lilley.

Pussy Cats are always looking for something to pounce on. They seem to be on an endless quest of adventure. But do we remember how their quest began? From the most gentle to the most fearless, you will read the life stories of a few pussy cats who found their forever home and, with their unique personalities, made a name for themselves.

Product Details:
Paperback: ‎24 Pages
Publisher: ‎Independently Published (July 4, 2022)
Language: ‎English
Young Readers: Short Story Collections
Young Readers: Cats

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The Liberty Bodice by Joy M. Lilley.

Gloria Harris is born in Market Harborough in the United Kingdom, in 1922. She spends the first few years of life living with her parents and grandfather. Her siblings, an older sister and twin brothers, also share the household. The relationship between Gloria and her mother is strained much of the time.

The early days of her life are spent in considerable poverty, so much so that Gloria and her sister are sent away to Northern Ireland to be with their aunt and uncle, who are more affluent than their parents, due to the improving circumstances for the farming community in Ireland. Her aunt and uncle have a smallholding and keep a few animals and poultry that provide them with eggs and milk: the land produces enough fresh vegetables for themselves and for sale at the local market. Gloria and her sister Ann are made to work hard during this time, helping out on the farm and with the household chores. Their aunt and uncle have no children and are not particularly kind to the girls. The sisters have to stay in Ireland much longer than they had been led to believe they would, and it is several years before they come home.

On their return to Market Harborough, they discover that their brothers have both been in considerable trouble, one having made a girl pregnant and the other having stolen from his employer. Gloria realises that these circumstances were part of the reason why the girls had to stay away for so long.

At the age of sixteen Gloria is sent to France on a student exchange, where she stays in Nancy with the well-to-do family of Chantelle Valvoire, whom she befriends. Gloria has a penchant for languages and these talents are vastly enhanced during this period, when she speaks almost exclusively in French. She also loses her virginity to a dashing Frenchman and is terrified of pregnancy, but after she returns home, to her great relief, the putative pregnancy comes to an end. As a result of this experience, she vows to have nothing more to do with men until she is older. This resolve soon weakens when she meets Geoffrey, a school teacher from London whom she encounters on the journey back from France. Once home, Gloria practices her love of languages in some form or another on most days, regularly enjoying conversing with her sister’s Dutch boyfriend, who helps and encourage her linguistic achievements. He teaches French and German at the school she attended.

The Second World War begins and Gloria does her bit for the war effort by working on the land after leaving school. But she is restless, anxious to play a much more active role in fighting for her country. After hearing an appeal from the Home Office for foreign language experts to work abroad, she finds out all she can about joining the Special Operations Executive (SOE). After some considerable time, she secures an interview to join what became known as ‘Churchill’s secret army: the S.O.E. Her family are horrified at what their youngest daughter is letting herself in for and try their best to dissuade her, unsuccessfully.

After going through the rigid and arduous training to become an S.O.E. officer, she is sent into occupied France, where she is involved in a number of successful missions. Eventually she is captured by the Gestapo and sent to Fresnes prison in Paris, then on to the notorious Dachau Concentration Camp. In both places she is treated appallingly, being starved and tortured, and to avoid the likelihood of her inevitable death, she hatches a plan of escape. After doing so she has many trials and tribulations, after which she finally meets the brave Résistance leader and accomplished navigator, Sabien. He acts as guide for Gloria and some other stragglers through war-torn France and helps them back to England. Her feelings for him gradually turn from hate to love and they marry on the journey home. Sabien is subsequently summoned to the Normandy beaches to do vital Resistance tasks, and they part company until sometime later, when all hell is let loose.

5 Stars: Find Yourself Standing Alongside Gloria Harris!

If you love Women’s Contemporary Historical Romance, “The Liberty Bodice” by Joy M. Lilley has to be your next read.

As you read this well written drama, you will find yourself standing alongside Gloria Harris (main character). You will experience her childhood, unbelievable traumas, her strengths, achievements, love and sense of duty to her country, while history unfolds in worn torn Europe. Unable to put the book down, you will become more than a spectator, as your mind places your feet in her footsteps along her remarkable journey.

Born in 1922, Gloria Harris is born into a poverty-stricken family in the UK. She and her sister are sent away to Northern Ireland, where hard labor prevailed on their uncle’s small farm. Escape comes when at age sixteen, Gloria is sent to live with a prosperous family in France as an exchange student. Her many experiences only cement her love for languages.

When the Second World War begins, her horrified family can only watch as Gloria trains to become a Special Operations Executive (SOE) in Churchill’s secret army. Your heart will be torn when Gloria is captured by the “Gestapo and sent to Fresnes prison in Paris, then on to the notorious Dachau Concentration Camp.”

Let me bring you into the story at Chapter Thirteen-Our War:

…We were so pleased we would be together on our first mission. This kind of work was neither for the faint-hearted or the weak. It was winter now, and we had to be parachuted into occupied France after dark the next night.

…We had been told about the resistance network and how someone would be waiting to collect us and take us to a safe house.

…The night before we were sent overseas on our first mission, none of us slept. We were together in a small hut at army quarters near Tempsford airfield. It was a terrifying time for me; I couldn’t think straight and wondered why on earth I had joined up in the first place. I kept thinking about my family, who had tried so hard to stop me from going ahead with these plans and began to wonder if they may have been right. Then, I thought of Geoffrey and his marriage proposal. Had I made a mistake?

…I was telling myself quietly in bed and hiding under covers that I would not die; good Lord, I was far too young to die. Although none of us spoke aloud, I believed that the other two were probably feeling the same way.

…The night seemed endless, and it fleetingly crossed my mind to get up and go home. No one would notice if I crept out and disappeared into the night. We had been told the night before our mission that not all the agents of the S.O.E. had made it home. Some had died in terrible circumstances. I kept on chewing that information over and over in my head. I couldn’t contain myself any longer and turned to the others and said, “Pearl, are you awake?”

…“Yes, I am. I can’t sleep.” “Sandra, are you awake?”

…“Yes, and I don’t know what I’m doing here, really.”

…“Do you think everyone about to go overseas feels this way the night before, Pearl?” I asked.

…“I hope so; I’m sure we are not out of the ordinary in feeling this way. Do you think that many agents bottle out at this point?”

…“Yes, I do, but I wonder if they are allowed to leave so close to being taken over to the continent?” asked Sandra.

…“Well, that’s exactly what I want to do right now,” Pearl said as she threw back the bedclothes and jumped out of bed.

…“Look. It’s four in the morning. We leave at five tonight. Let’s tuck into a bottle I’ve been keeping for a time such as this. I have kept it out of sight since we started our training. I didn’t want to give the impression that I’m a drinker. I thought it would give us enough Dutch courage to keep us from abandoning our cause,” Pearl said with a wry smile.

…I fetched the glasses, and the three of us tucked into the large bottle of brandy and drank the lot between us; I had a feeling that this might happen, from the various conversations over the last weeks. We were all afraid of what we were going to encounter in occupied France; not long after the bottle had been emptied, the three of us fell asleep with considerable ease.

…The next day, around lunchtime, we had to report to the officers’ barracks for our final briefings.”

You must read this book to find out how Gloria’s summons the strength to survive, and bring some closure at the end of her journey.

After you read “The Liberty Bodice” be sure to purchase “Figs, Vines and Roses”, “One Chance Encounter”, “Strawberry Moon”, and “Times Pendulum Swings” by Joy M. Lilley.

Editorial Review (Book Marketing Global Network).

Review by Wanda Fischer: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Well Done Historical Fiction. Reviewed in the United States on August 21, 2020.Verified Purchase. I have to begin this review by stating up front that I am a huge fan of historical fiction. “The Liberty Bodice” fits the bill. The author did tremendous research to weave historical facts into the story of Gloria and her family, bringing to life segments of pre-World War II that many people might not know.

Gloria’s family is not wealthy; in fact, they live a sort of hand-to-mouth existence in Northern Ireland. They move to England so that her dad can get a better job. Things go fine for a while until her mother, who makes extra money by taking in sewing, has twin boys. The family struggles again. Gloria and her sister are sent to live on a farm back in Ireland with their aunt and uncle. They keep thinking they’ll be going home soon, but it’s years before they go back to live with their parents and brothers. It seems their brothers, as they’ve grown, have gotten into trouble–one has stolen from his employer, the other has gotten a girl pregnant. To make matters worse, her dad has had an accident at his job.

Gloria and her sister return to England to find their dad a changed man, their brothers in their respective messes, and their mother not knowing what to do.

Enter World War II. Germany’s taking over Europe. Bombing England. Poland falls. Rumors of concentration camps and exterminations of Jewish people abound.

What Gloria does next may surprise the reader. But this author takes you on an exceptional journey of a young woman whose resolve and strength that she obviously gained through a difficult childhood through a challenging–no, horrible–journey during one of the darkest times of the world’s history.

The author develops believable, strong characters and brings them alive through her prose. She’s a skilled writer, and her research accentuates her writing perfectly. I disagreed with some of Gloria’s decisions, but that only made her more believable as a character.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Product Details:
Paperback: 324 Pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2nd Edition (February 5, 2018)
Language: English
Adult Readers: Women’s Contemporary Historical Romance

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Figs, Vines and Roses by Joy M. Lilley.

Joy M. Lilley’s first novel ‘Figs, Vines and Roses’ tells a moving tale of love and loss at the turn of the nineteenth century.

In 1888 eight-year-old Issy Merryweather has a comfortable family life in Cobnut Hall, Derby. Sharing carefree summers with her brother Clarence, beloved dog Molly and cherished grandma Ella, Issy enjoys the freedom of childhood innocence. But as she comes of age a move to Kent changes her life forever.

When Issy meets Terence, she is enraptured by him and despite his humble background an inseparable bond is formed in secret. But, it’s a secret which Issy will never escape after a heartbreaking turn in events…

5 Stars: Great Family Saga!

Figs, Vines and Roses is a family saga giving insight between the upper and lower class in 1888. Author Joy M. Lilley does a good job describing life in various English towns as the reader gets to know the Merryweather family. I can relate to young Isabella “Issy” and her brother Clarence, since like them, I was sent to a boarding school. Their childhood was very comfortable, innocent and more privileged than most and with it came the best boarding school.

I invite you to join Isabella in her family life with dog Molly, brother Clarence, Grandmother Ella, her inevitable coming of age journey into young adulthood. Issy falls in love with Terence, who is the gardener. This is forbidden love since Terence is from the “wrong side of tracks”. What is the secret that Issy can’t escape?

…Isabella love for beautiful gardens brings the reader here: “It did not take long before Isabella began exploring the grounds of the estate and could see the potential of the gardens that had suffered so much neglect for many years; apparently, she had discovered from one of the grounds men that the mid-Victorian landowners had built a brick farmhouse beyond the Castle building and at the same time took the estate in hand. There were remaining signs of this with shrubs and flowers in bloom, and interesting varieties of trees in abundance. Apparently prior to this the estate had lain in ruin since the Seven Years War (1756-63), when captured French seamen were incarcerated there.

…Isabella spent much of her time in the garden as it was early spring and there had been yet another long, cold winter to overcome. This had taken its toll on the land, which now was in need of attention. Issy knew what was required to help the gardens come into bloom again. She had an enormous imagination and could foresee how the garden could look once again with the right care and attention. She day-dreamed of restoring the garden to its former natural beauty.”

Will she be able to turn her dreams into reality?

Author Joy M. Lilley did a good job holding my interest in this short read as the author leaves things open for a sequel. I give this book five stars for the story.

Editorial Review (Book Marketing Global Network).

Review by Gabby: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. A historical novel with depth. Reviewed in the United States on February 10, 2023. Verified Purchase. This book, Figs, Vines, & Roses by Joy Lilley, is about the Merryweather family at the turn of the nineteenth century. Several characters are included in this book, but the main one is Isabella (Issy) Merryweather. The author astutely plots the tale to conjure up the evolving world through Issy’s growth from childhood to the late fifties. We can find the Industrial Revolution, the social gulf, and the tension among the so-called aristocrats and lower class around that era. Through Ms. Lilley’s eloquent writing, we are gripped by Issy’s admirable love story that overcomes her initial fear and breaks the social class barrier. Issy’s lifelong striving for women’s rights, gender, and social equality is evidently depicted in the narrative. The last line of the novel is heart-wrenching. At last, Issy courageously decides to reveal the truth to her daughter—a secret that has consumed her for years. I googled Sissinghurst Castle and was delighted to find the garden, just as the story illustrated. I will love to visit this castle if I travel to London again.

Product Details:
Print Length: 141 Pages
Publisher: SilverWood Books (December 18, 2013)
Adult Readers: Romance (Family Saga)


My Aunt Peggy by Joy M. Lilley.

This story written by the protagonists niece is an insight to a lady with little education or hope of achievements and success in her life. However she bucked the trend and achieved much in life. Her family loved her dearly and cared about her right up to the last.

She achieved more in becoming a constant winner of bowls tournaments a game she dearly loved. She also won the hearts and minds of many celebrities in the forties, when she worked at the famous Pinewood film studios in Britain.

Many gave her their signed black and white photographs. Auntie Peggy was an engaging character to most and an adversary to a few .As you turn the pages you will be laughing and crying at some events of this intrepid lady’s life.

Review by Lisa Kradjian: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. A Beautiful Remembrance. Reviewed in the United States on November 25, 2022. Verified Purchase. This is a lovely recollection of a beloved relative, imperfections and all. I wish it had gone on a little longer – the stories and memories are real, and clearly cherished. The pictures add even more emotion to the anecdotes. I recommend this, a stroll through a bygone era.

Product Details:
Paperback:‎ 57 Pages
Publisher: ‎Independently Published (May 12, 2021)
Language: ‎English
Adult Readers: Fiction (General)
Adult Readers: Women’s General Fiction

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One Chance Encounter by Joy M. Lilley.

Two strangers, a UK married woman and an American movie star meet and said hello. Their hello turned into an online relationship.

The online relationship turned into a wanting to see each other again. The desire for one chance encounter turned into something no one could imagine.

Morya, a romantic at heart, meets a mysterious stranger, and her life would never be the same.

Would fate or destiny lead her to one chance encounter?

Review by Tony Bassett: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. A charming tale full of twists and turns. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 25, 2020. Verified Purchase. A charming tale of a woman whose mundane life receives a boost when she meets her favourite American movie idol by chance. Moyra French had made countless sacrifices in her early life to care for her ageing mother and then found herself wed to a cruel husband. Then her luck changes. After her husband’s death, she strikes up a once-in-a-lifetime friendship with film-star Tom Ursuline. But will their transatlantic affair—initially conducted online — end happily for the Surrey farmhand or will her flight of fancy end in heartache? This easy-to-read story is full of twists and turns that keep the reader guessing until the final pages.

Review by Mrs. Enid J Watson: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Good Read. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 9, 2020. Verified Purchase. Joy has come up with another absorbing story. Her latest publication has an interesting character called Moyra. After meeting a stranger outside her place of work (an American film star called Tom) Moyra sends him an email and it all starts from there! Moyra becomes infatuated with Tom (the villain of the story) and after her husband dies decides to go to Los Angeles to Meet Tom. He asks her for a large amount of money. Unfortunately, it all goes wrong and Moyra realises she has been duped. A good read from start to finish.

Product Details:
Paperback: 120 Pages
Publisher: Absolute Author Publishing House (February 8, 2020)
Language: English
Adult Readers: Romance (Contemporary)

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With Tears In Her Eyes by Joy M. Lilley.

Sequel to One Chance Encounter

Moyra returns from the United States of America feeling down and unfulfilled. She had failed in her quest to find the celebrity she briefly met the year before.

A bad accident gave her plenty of time to consider her future, she was now sixty years old and had no wish to spend the rest of her life alone.

She enrolls with a dance studio for two reasons, to help strengthen the badly damaged leg attained in the accident and in the hopes of meeting a partner to share the rest of her life with.

Here she meets a man and a romance begins, unfortunately with dire consequences, taking us somewhere towards the end.

Product Details:
Paperback: 172 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published (21 May 2021)
Language: English
Adult Readers: Romance (Contemporary)

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Strawberry Moon by Joy M. Lilley.

The Patterson family leaves the U.K. to begin a new life in France. St Severin, in the Dordogne, provides the backdrop for the family’s new home and all of the life-changing obstacles they are about to encounter. Maisie, who is almost seventeen, narrates this unpredictable story.

Maisie struggles as she experiences the changes of coming of age, the pain of loss, and the rollercoaster ride of competing love interests. Maisie’s older brother, Dan, rebels over the move and frequently threatens to return to England when his studies are over. Dan starts an affair with a married French woman. After a few months in France, he goes missing which begins to unravel the family. What starts as an exciting move becomes more difficult with each passing chapter. Maisie is left navigating this complicated new world, all while trying to plan the rest of her adult life.

Review by Amazon Customer: Kindle Customer: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. A family in chaos in a foreign country. Reviewed in the United States on January 10, 2021. Verified Purchase. This beautiful Strawberry Moon keeps you guessing with every turn of the page! Joy M. Lilley is a master storyteller. The reader may think they have an inkling of what is to come, who is the protagonist and antagonist, who are the “good guys”, but nothing and no one is exactly what they seem. Lilley is true to her craft, piecing the story together seemingly in unrelated scene-dominated, dramatic events. “No spoilers here.” The craftsmanship that went into Strawberry Moon gives the reader a story and an ending that catches your breath, touches your emotions, and fulfills expectations beyond your imagination. Well done!

Review by Jane: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Refreshing. Reviewed in the United States on July 24, 2019.Verified Purchase. This is literally the first “coming of age” story I’ve read in my life, and I must say I really liked it, especially because of the murder mystery elements, which just happens to be my favorite genre. With its relatable characters and fast pace, it was an easy and enjoyable read, perfect for a relaxing summer day on the beach. I wonder if the author decides to turn this into a series (or at least writes a sequel) and let us know what happens to Maisie later in her life. I’d eagerly read that!

Review by Chris: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Murder mystery meets coming of age story. Reviewed in the United States on April 19, 2019. Really enjoyed this novel! The author has a gift for describing scenery and presenting real characters, flaws, and all. It’s a unique murder mystery where there is less focus on the “who did it” and more focus on how a family copes and moves on. And great cover!

Product Details:
Paperback: 285 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published (April 6, 2019)
Language: English
Adult Readers: Fiction (Coming of Age)

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Time’s Pendulum Swings Again by Joy M. Lilley.

Jenny is working as a nurse, when she meets Seb. She is a young woman, living with her mother and has had a strict religious upbringing.

Seb is a handsome, successful surgical registrar and Jenny is incapable of resisting his charms. They fall in love, buy a flat and move in together, against Jenny’s mother’s wishes. Then one day, Seb confesses to Jenny that he is already married with two young boys.

Can a heartbroken Jenny pick up the pieces of her life?

“I could see she was pleased that I had found myself a boyfriend who was a doctor, but knowing my mother, I think she would have been far happier if his skin had been white.”

Review by Tony Bassett: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Tale of romance and woe. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 28, 2023. Verified Purchase. This is a beautifully-written tale of romance and woe featuring a conscientious nurse, Jenny, who falls in love with a dashing Nepalese surgical registrar she works with.Despite cultural difference and warnings from Jenny’s mother, the pair fall headlong in love before she discovers the heart-breaking news, he has a wife and two boys in his country.She is obviously devastated and vows to have nothing more to do with him.Ten years later, she learns the doctor’s marital union had been a loveless, arranged marriage. She is lonely. Can they pick up the pieces of their once close, trusting relationship?This was a short, easy-to-read novel that was difficult to put down.

Product Details:
Print Length: 74 Pages
Language: English
Adult Readers: Romance (Contemporary)


Spy and Villain by Joy M. Lilley.

A physically handicapped lady, thinks she sees dastardly goings on in the house opposite to where she lives.

She is convinced that the woman opposite is being abused.

A Christian theme runs through this story of a spy, the lady in the wheelchair who spends much of her time looking at others through her window and when out of her house.

The story take a dramatic turn when she is proved to be right. And becomes a friend of the abused woman.

Product Details:
Paperback: ‎28 Pages
Publisher: ‎Independently Published (July 4, 2022)
Language: ‎English
Adult Readers: Short Stories

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Clouds by Joy M. Lilley.

This story tells of a mother and daughter Judy, eight years old left to fend for themselves after father is killed in WW2.

Life was hard in those post war years and mother was forced into finding unsavoury ways for their survival.

They were living in Switzerland, a place Judy loved with the mountains and meadows allowing the freedom she and her mother craved.

The clouds theme runs throughout the story depicting the various moods of their journey to a better and safer life.

Product Details:
Paperback: 65 Pages
Publisher: ‎Independently Published (June 1, 2021)
Language: ‎English
Adult Readers: Fiction (General)
Adult Readers: Women’s General Fiction

Amazon Print:


Message from Author: Hello, my name is Joy Gerken, pen name Joy M. Lilley. I write and blog at I was a trained nurse all my working life, until I retired in 2015.

My first novel is ‘Figs, Vines and Roses’ a tale of love and loss at the turn of the nineteenth century.

My second novel is called ‘The Liberty Bodice’. This is a completely different genre to the first novel and follows the trials and tribulations of a young girl working for the Special Operations Executive[S.O.E.]in W.W.2.

You can also find my short story ‘Lost and Found’ published in Liphar short stories Vol 1. by Liphar magazine.

In 2016 my novella ‘Times pendulum swings again’ was published. This tells of a hospital romance that starts well, until the truth about the surgical registrar admitting to his nurse girlfriend that he is married with two sons back home in Nepal.

I am hoping to release my fourth publication ‘Strawberry Moon’ a crime, mystery set in the Dordogne, France.

Amazon Author’s Page

Professional Website

Professional Blog Links


Twitter: @joygerken

Audio Actor: Voice Artist Joy Gerken:

Author’s Page At Book Marketing Global Network:

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