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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 Star Review: 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 along 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.
Review by Theodocia McLean (Book Marketing Global Network)
Paperback: 324 Pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2nd edition (February 5, 2018)
Global Library: Women’s Contemporary Historical Romance
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 Star Review: 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.
Review by Theodocia McLean (Book Marketing Global Network).
Print length: 141 Pages
Publisher: SilverWood Books (December 18, 2013)
Global Library: Romance (Family Saga)
One Chance Encounter by Joy 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?
Paperback: 120 Pages
Publisher: Absolute Author Publishing House (February 8, 2020)
Global Library: Romance (Contemporary)
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 roller-coaster 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: “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 D.L. Finn: 4.0 out of 5 Stars. This story held my interest until the last page. September 20, 2019, Format: Kindle Edition. “Sixteen-year-old Maisie and her family move from the U.K. to France for her father’s work. I loved where they lived, the culture, and the countryside surrounding their community. It drew me into that part of the book. The house they move into is run down with part of the roof missing. The family makes the best of it, but tragedy strikes when her brother disappears. The story moved at a faster pace after Maisie’s brother went missing. Although there was a mystery, I found the aftermath of that event more dominate for Maisie and her family. Maisie seemed rather mature for her age, but she was strong-willed and as confused as a teenager would be. I rooted for her but didn’t fully connect with her until halfway through. I liked some subjects covered, including alcoholism and drinking and driving. “Strawberry Moon” crossed the line once, at least for me as a YA read, along with a reaction that I wished had more reflection on Maisie’s part. Still, this story held my interest until the last page. I’m hoping there’s a second book to resolve all those unanswered questions.”
Review by Chris: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Murder mystery meets coming of age story. April 19, 2019, Format: Paperback. “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!”
Paperback: 285 Pages
Publisher: Independently published (April 6, 2019)
Global Library: Fiction (Coming of Age)
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.”
Print length: 74 Pages
Global Library: Romance (Contemporary)
Message From Author Joy M. Lilley: “Hello, My name is Joy Gerken, pen name Joy M. Lilley.
I write, blog and was a trained nurse all my working life, until I retired in 2015.
My first novel is titled “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. (Liphar short stories) 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.
‘Strawberry moon’ (my fourth release) is a crime, mystery set in the Dordogne, France.
Just released (February 2020) ‘One Chance Encounter’ is a Contemporary Romance.”
Author’s Page At Book Marketing Global Network: