Wednesday, 6 September 2023

 The Secret Sister is Published

My fourth novel was launched into the world last Thursday 31st August and I have been delighted with the early reviews and messages I've received already. I thoroughly enjoyed writing the stories of Sara and Claudia and the fact that readers are enjoying it too means a lot to me. As always, Mr Imposter Syndrome was ever present in the days building up to publication day as I worried about what readers would think!

As with each of my previous novels, I enjoyed giving prospective readers a flavour of the new book by posting 'count-down' excerpts and snippets accompanied with an appropriate photo. These appeared to have gone down well with readers and I like to think they piqued their interest to download the novel. For those of you who may have missed them, I've expanded on a few that attracted the most interest and given the links for the others: 

14 Days to Go 

Carlo Rosso lay back on his bunk, drew on his cigarette and blew out circles of smoke as he exhaled. The noise of fellow prisoners talking echoed in the air, which smelled of damp and mould… ‘So, this is where I’m going to spend the last years of the war.’ Miles away from his mother and from Sicily — the country he loved so much.'

13 Days to Go, 12 Days to Go, 1Days to Go, 1Days to Go, Days to Go

8 days to Go

'The wedding breakfast was held at the village hall in Dolwen. Nell and Peggy had decorated
the room with the bunting left over from the VE Day parties, and friends had pooled their food coupons together to supply the sandwiches and cakes. Sara smiled when she saw the large, elaborate wedding cake placed on a square table in the corner. No one would guess how small the fruit cake was hidden inside the cardboard cover she and Menna had decorated with plaster and painted to look like a professionally iced wedding cake.’

Days to Go,

6 Days to Go -
'Halfway along the street was a busy trattoria with delicious smells of freshly ground coffee wafting in Claudia’s direction. She smiled when she remembered her father turning his nose up at the Camp coffee her mam made him with hot milk. “Real coffee comes from roasted beans, not a bottle with a funny blue label, Sara,” he used to tease her. Spaghetti didn’t come in tins either, according to him.’

Days to Go

4 Days to Go 

‘Claudia took her time on the steep walk back up to the main town, stopping to browse the little shops selling handmade local crafts and jewellery, which lined the cobbled streets. On the steps of some of the shops were colourful ceramic pots containing scarlet geraniums, and the balconies above displayed more pots with showy plants.’

3 Days to Go

‘On the wall were what looked like children’s drawings of aeroplanes sketched in charcoal.
“Different kinds of fighter bombers, even a parachute. Imagine being a child and having to spend your days (in these caves).” Alessandro’s voice was sombre. ‘No fresh air, no playing on the beach, just squashed in here with hundreds of people you did not even know. Poor bambini.”’

Days to Go, Day to Go. 

On publication day itself, I celebrated with an Italian meal at a local trattoria with my husband for a celebratory lunch. The meal was superb - an Aperol Spritz aperitivo before Sicilian arancini to start, followed by ravioli, then Sicilian lemon tart. The digestivo had to be a limoncello as Claudia would have tasted for the first time in the novel.

A huge thank you to all who have downloaded and read The Secret Sister already. I'd love to hear what you think about it.

It was very exciting to receive the beautiful paperbacks that have arrived ready for the official launch next week.

You may order the ebook and the paperback HERE.

'This is a beautifully written story where we are taken from the POW camps in Wales to breathtaking Sicily. A family saga that deals with heartache, romance and mystery . A real page turner you won't be disappointed.'

Thank you for reading. You may also follow me on:

Twitter @JanBaynham

Facebook Jan Baynham Writer

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For more about me and all my books, please visit my AMAZON page.

Monday, 28 August 2023

 Guest Post with Sue McDonagh

Today I'm delighted to welcome my very good friend and writing buddy, Sue McDonagh, back to the blog. Sue and I go back a long way and met in a writing group before either of us was published. And here we are now with Sue's fantastic fifth novel, The Sea Sisters Swimming Club, coming out tomorrow two days before my fourth. We are both published by JOFFE BOOKS under their Choc Lit imprint.

Sue, welcome back. I'm very excited about your new book on your behalf. Not only does it look fabulous with another of your own cover designs, but I've had the privilege of reading an ARC and can tell readers they're in for another Sue McDonagh treat. I'm going to let you tell readers about the story behind the novel. Over to you!

Thanks, Jan. They say you should write what you know. When I first started planning this novel, my heroine, Fran was going to be stabbed while on duty. Fate has a way of taking a hand though, and gifted me a six-week research period that changed the book, and my life. In November 2021, I woke in the middle of the night with a heavy, weighted feeling in my chest. Indigestion, I decided. I’d had a busy day, eaten badly and rushed what I had eaten in front of a Zoom meeting. Totally my own fault. I propped myself up on pillows and dozed off eventually. 

The next morning, I jumped into a minibus with half a dozen swimming mates, to head off to
near Aberystwyth to film a Visit Wales advert, in the sea. I felt ropey all day, rubbing my chest constantly. Looking back, I don’t quite know how I forced myself to walk around the shops, have a meal with everyone, walk back to our guest house – very, very slowly – and then get up for a long day's filming in the North Sea, 
in my swimsuit.

When I got home, pain engulfed me after a cuppa and a slice of toast. Still not alerted by an erratic heart-rate that went from 45 to 145, I didn’t even go to hospital until the following day, after a retired nurse friend forced the issue. So convinced was I by my self-diagnosed indigestion, I didn’t even take a phone charger, let alone pack a bag. I didn’t see my own bed for six weeks.

When the lovely cardiac consultant asked me what I’d been doing during my not one, but two heart attacks, which had damaged my heart and would need extensive open heart surgery, I watched his eyes roll ever so slightly as I told him I’d been swimming. In the sea. For six and a half hours. In my bathers.

‘It’s a good thing you’re fit,’ he said, at last. ‘You’ll be here for at least a fortnight. Get someone to bring a bag in for you.’

‘So – definitely not indigestion, then?’ I remember asking, weakly. I don’t think he bothered to reply.

It was a scary prospect. Two of my heart valves had simply blown apart. I’d had no warning beforehand, no genetic heart issues, although I’d had advanced ovarian cancer in my twenties. The staff in my cardiac ward were absolutely lovely. I was fitted with a heart monitor, the size of half a brick, and I had nowhere to put it.

‘Stick it down your pants,’ one of the other patients told me. Brilliant idea. Until I went to the loo and forgot all about it. I saved it just as it almost disappeared down the pan. The staff rushed to shout at me through the bathroom door as I’d pulled all the leads off myself and sent the monitor at the nurse's station haywire.

They were out in force a few days later when, determined to have a shower, I collapsed, unconscious in the bathroom with a massive gastric bleed that I knew nothing about. I came round with my bed space rammed full of staff, and the doctor folding away those paddles that bring you back to life. I have no idea whether they actually used them.

I looked round at them all, and said, ‘Sorry everyone. But at least I smell nice.’ Ever the entertainer… 🙈 My nurse friend told me they’d rather have me smelly than dead 🤣

After four weeks, seven units of blood and veins that collapsed after a scant hour or two, I think they were pleased to see me off the premises to the hospital where I’d finally be having surgery. I like to think that I brightened their days, occasionally. Especially the evening they changed the battery in the heart monitor and water poured out of it.

‘Have you had another shower?’

‘Me? No,’ I lied, unconvincingly, while my fellow patients outed me loudly. What can I say? I hate being grubby! Perhaps this is why I swim…

I gave Fran, my heroine, all my hospital experiences - although I don’t mention them in any detail. It made sorting out my often chaotic timelines easier, as I simply used my own calendar.

The Sea Sisters Swimming Club became a sort of therapy for me – writing took me away from the house when I didn’t feel well enough to walk much, and allowed me to think through issues like the terrible, livid scar that ran so obviously from neck to navel. I have many scars, from my cancer, and two hip replacements, but nobody sees those. This one is clearly visible in every top I own – and it’s a reminder of what happened every time I look in the mirror. Now, eighteen months later, it’s barely noticeable, even in a swimsuit, and I see it as a survivor's mark. A blessing, and a tribute to the skill of my cardiac team. I dedicated the book to them. Thank you again.

The Sea Sisters Swimming Club is a comedy, which might seem strange for such a terrifying experience, but hopefully, you already see the opportunities for humour that arose during my stay in hospital. I laughed so much as I wrote it, and I hope you enjoy it too.

Available to Pre-Order in digital and paperback, it’s released on 29th August, 2023. I can’t wait to see it out there!

A huge thank you to Jan for hosting me on her blog 😘

It's a pleasure, Sue. I remember the message you sent cancelling our meet-up for coffee, cake and writing chat. 'I've had a heart attack... well, two actually!' To see your amazing recovery and to know this new novel is a result of your writing 'therapy' has been wonderful. I wish you good luck with The Sea Sisters Swimming Club. I'm sure its sales will soar!

Buying links:

Social Media links:

Facebook author page




Fifty-year-old police officer Fran Doherty thought she had a good few years left in her. But if a heart attack while dancing the night away at a disco in a sequin dress isn't a sign to slow down, then she doesn't know what is . . . 

Fran's waved good-bye to the force and hello to her pension. but who is she without her job? She decides to get away from it all in Llanbryn, an idyllic seaside village in Wales. it beats feeling sorry for herself and watching Homes Under the Hammer all day.

Fran's soon taken under the wing of the Sea Sisters, a group of inspirational women of all ages and sizes who swim in the ocean. They challenge her to move on from the past and face her life-long fear of the sea.

And the strapping Wyn watches her eye. He appears to be the local troublemaker, but perhaps Fran's got the wrong end of the stick . . .

The closer she gets to Wyn, the more she's unable to deny the feelings he brings out in her. And Llanbryn feels more like home with every passing day.

Fran feels more alive than she has in years, but Wyn has his own emotional scars. maybe they can help each other?

Thank you for reading. If you are writer, has writing ever acted as therapy for you? I'd love it if you shared your experience in the comments below. Thanks.

You may follow me on :

Twitter @JanBaynham

Facebook Jan Baynham Writer Page

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You will find more about me and my novels on my AMAZON page.


THE SECRET SISTER is available to pre-order for 99p. on Amazon and is currently available on NetGalley.

Publication day Thursday 31st August.


Tuesday, 22 August 2023

 RNA Conference 2023

It's now a week since I returned from the RNA Conference 2023. It was the first I'd been to since the conference in Lancaster in 2019 and the first one I'd been to in London. And what a success it was! 

Five members of the Cariad Chapter left Cardiff Central Station early on Friday 11th August, only to find that the lovely Christina who writes as Ella Matthews had been sitting a few seats behind us, having got on the train in Swansea. In what seemed like no time we were all leaving Paddington by Tube and making our way to Imperial College in South Kensington where the Conference was going to be held. After dropping off our luggage (a largish case on my part!), we made our way to the Sir Alexander Fleming Building. From then on, it was all systems go with so much packed into the two days. 

I think what most people get from the Conference may be divided into three parts:

- the learning and finding out more about the craft and business of writing

- the opportunity to submit to industry professionals and have an appraisal of your writing. When things go really well, you may be invited to send your whole manuscript to the publisher or agent thereby avoiding being in the proverbial slush pile.

the socialising and reacquainting with other writers you've met at previous conferences or are familiar with online, and making new friends

The Conference was organised differently this year There had been a wealth of information beforehand so that as delegates we were well prepared for what to expect. Although you could choose any, to help us decide, the talks and workshops were divided into three streams. Stream 1 was designed to be most suitable for newbies and aspiring writers; Stream 2 was most suitable for those authors who are more experienced/on the publishing ladder and looking to improve themselves; Stream 3 choices were most suitable for 'old dogs wanting to learn new tricks'. The sessions were led by experienced published authors or industry professionals. I attended two excellent practical workshops, Scrivener for Beginners by Vicki Beeby and Introduction to Canva by Jeevani Charika, and although I'm not a techie, I'm so glad I did. I just need to keep practising now. Create a Connection: Newsletters by Katie Sadler was just what I needed, as next on my marketing list is to build a newsletter.

Out of the other seven sessions I attended, Writing Dual Timelines, a talk by Kath McGurl, will prove to be most useful for me, I think. It was informative as well as giving tips and advice about how to link and weave two stories together and the order in which you write both stories. The final talk I attended before the close on Sunday was Brainstorming Your Book, by Fiona Lucas. I'd heard her speak before and she was as inspiring as ever.

The social side of the Conference was more inclusive this year. The organisers had ensured that anyone who was attending for the first time or who didn't know anybody didn't feel isolated or left out. It was so good to catch up with other writers and chat with authors I had not met before.  After dinner on the Friday night, a Hopeless Romantics Quiz was organised. It was very enjoyable but it proved that I knew very little! The social highlight of the weekend was The Gala Party. Whereas in the past it was a formal dinner, at this Conference it took the form of a barbecue followed by a disco. The excellent DJ made sure the dance floor was never empty. And we danced until we dropped! 

Before the music started, there were presentations for The Elizabeth Goudge Trophy for the best opening chapter of a novel with the theme of 'absence makes the heart grow fonder'. We were delighted that the winner was our lovely fellow Joffe/Choc Lit author, Sally Jenkins. The Joan Hessayon Award, given to the best debut novelist whose manuscript had gone through the RNA's New Writers' Scheme, was won by another Joffe writer, Katy Turner. Huge congratulations, Katy. A clean sweep for Joffe on the night! Our RNA Cariad Chapter member, Angela Sims, was also a contender.

Cariad Members with Angela
Joffe/Choc Lit Authors outside Hotel 190

It was good to meet two editors from my new publisher, Joffe Books, in person. With my fourth novel imminent, I'd had a considerable amount of dealings with Emma and Jasmine online, email and Zoom, but nothing beats spending time with them face to face during Saturday. They invited those of us who are now Joffe/Choic Lit authors to join them at the smart Hotel 190 for pre-Conference drinks.

I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, learned loads and met lots of lovely writers. I can't wait to go again next year!

Thank you for reading. You may follow me on:

Twitter @JanBaynham

Facebook: Jan Baynham Writer

Instagram: janbaynham

You will find more about me on my AMAZON page.


THE SECRET SISTER is available to pre-order for 99p. on Amazon and is currently on NetGalley. 

Publication day Thursday 31st August


Monday, 31 July 2023

 Guest Post with Ella Cook

Today I'm joined by fellow Joffe  author, Ella Cook. Her latest novel, Healing Hearts in the Litlle Village, was published on July 25th and is described as '...a heartwarming romance about second chances.' 

Welcome to the blog, Ella. I think you're going to talk to us about confidence and mental health. It's over to you!

Thank you. Something happened recently that really shook my confidence – so I’m really grateful to Jan for giving me space on her lovely blog to chat about it.

I got my first negative reviews as an author: it’s actually about this new book (be warned!)

The thing is, I thought I was prepared for this moment, that I knew how I’d respond. I mean, I’ve been a business writer for years and had countless critiques of my work. And like most authors I know, I got plenty of rejections before I got that amazing ‘yes, we love your book and want to publish it’ moment.

But I wasn’t even close to ready to handle it. I don’t make any secret of the fact that I have bipolar – I’m quite open about it because I think it’s something people should feel able to talk about. What I am, most of the time, is stable. I’ve worked really hard to be able to identify and deal with triggers, and to be able to roll with the punches that life throws at us. Work stress? Fine. Bereavements? Heart-breaking, but sadly a normal part of life. Health issues? Something you just learn to deal with. Rejections? Part of being a writer.

Bad reviews? Just another, albeit less-than-pleasant part of being an author, right? Well, actually, no.  It was a total meltdown that sent me into a depressive spiral – probably one of the worst this year (I’m writing this in July, by the way). I’m only just starting to pull myself together now – after a lot of tears, quite a lot of swearing, and huge amounts of love, support and reassurance.

(The good thing about having the rapid cycling flavour of bipolar is, that although the moods swings can be vicious and severe, they tend to be much shorter lived).

And I’m really grateful to Jan today, because I promised her this blog before the miserable-making reviews – and in nearly fifteen years of business writing I’ve learned to write even when I’m feeling dreadful, and never missed a deadline (and I’m not planning on starting now!). So it’s forced me to shine a light on the shadows that a not nice review has brought back out to the surface. Much like the shadowy monsters of some of the best fairy tales and fantasy stories, the creeping darkness that unkind review brought into my world didn’t come alone – instead it opened the door for years of self-doubt to return, bringing with it the misery caused by years of that dreaded imposter syndrome, and memories of all the times I – or someone else – told me I wasn’t good enough.

And I realised that it couldn’t really be more timely than when I was writing a blog about Healing Hearts in the Little Village – because it’s pretty much a theme for this novel, although it wasn’t one that I’d planned. Our main character Olivia Emery–she’ll probably tell you to call her Liv – is a highly accomplished doctor who has studied some of the hardest and most demanding types of medicine there is – and she really is very good at what she does.

But personally, she can be really, really very hard on herself.

She’s a lot like a lot of people I know, and – if I’m totally honest – me. She doesn’t always realise it, but she carries a lot of voices in her head and baggage: unkind things that have been said to her in the past that she hasn’t completely dealt with. And it’s not until she faces a new trauma that we learn how much those past shadows still haunt her, and influence her behaviour. She’s scared, so used to being hurt and let down that she almost expects it, and therefore finds it really hard to trust people.

Fortunately, the rotten author who gave her such a dark back story (me again!) isn’t really that mean, and wrote in a hero – and a glittery little fairy princess – who are going to do their best to help Liv find some self-confidence again, to remind her how to be kind to herself – and hopefully love herself again. This leads me nicely to one of my favourite lines in this book, which I liked so much that I had it printed on a mug!

So, thank you, Jan – for reminding me that sometimes I need to take a page (or at least a quote!) out of my own book…

And to everyone else: make sure that the voices you pick to listen to, the
ones that influence your behaviour and how you feel about yourself, are kind ones. Maybe when you’re next having a bit of a wobble, or a hard time, change the message and story you are telling yourself… speak to yourself the way your friends would talk to you. Or how you would talk to them. Instead of being your own harshest critic – just for a few minutes try being your own, biggest cheerleader. Because you are awesome, you are unique and you are worth it.

You might be surprised how effective a few minutes of self-kindness can be.

And now that I’m feeling a bit less sorry for myself, I’m going to go and pull on one of my favourite happy dresses (made by Popsy, by the way – you cannot beat them for feel-good, confidence-inspiring dressing!) – maybe skip around in some flowers, and try to practice my own advice and be a little bit nicer to me for a bit.


Thank you for your interesting post, Ella. I'm sorry you've had a hard time dealing with some negative reviews. Here's one of the lovely comments and positive reviews you've had already for your new book instead:

'A fabulous feel-good read from Ella Cook that will tug your heartstrings in all directions. Really great storylines for both Dr Olivia Emery and Dr Callum Mcpearson that will cleverly draw you in to a couple of heart-stopping moments when their tentative relationship comes unstuck.'

About the author

Ella’s been obsessed with books since the moment she could reach to pull them off the shelf by herself, and has wanted to write for as long as she can remember.

She grew up in London where fairies lived at the bottom of her Grandma’s garden, and she still looks for magic – and often finds it – in everyday life.

She won the SWWJ Floella Benjamin Award in 2019, and published her debut, BEYOND GREY with Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction in 2021. Her books are now published by Joffe Books, who won the IPG Trade Publisher of the Year in 2023. She doesn't plan to stop writing any time soon.

When she emerges from her fictional worlds, she writes bids for children’s services and lives in Warwickshire (where there are probably more fairies) with her ever-loving husband who reads all her stories first and makes gallons of tea in magical cups that keep drinks warm for whole chapters.



One broken-hearted city doctor. A countryside surgery in need of a new GP. The perfect love story bound to get your pulse racing . . .

Dr Liv Emery is at her wits end. Her perfect life was within her grasp. Instead she’s dealing with the fallout of being dumped by her long-term boyfriend in the cruellest way possible.

Then on top of everything else, a patient goes berserk on her. It’s the final straw, and there’s only one thing for it . . . A new start.

So she jumps at the chance to cover her former professor’s GP surgery in the Cotswolds and waves goodbye to the city. And good-for-nothing men.

Life in the village of Broclington is a far cry from London — and her cottage is a welcome change from her old shoebox flat. But her relief is short-lived after meeting her prickly boss Callum.

But perhaps he has his reasons . . . It’s not easy juggling being a single parent to a fairy-obsessed six-year-old while staving off bosses breathing down his neck about funding cuts.

The more Liv gets to know Callum and his daughter, the more she realizes she may be able to help them — and the village practice — more than she could have imagined.

But will her time in Broclington be the healing experience she so desperately needs, or could she end up heartbroken once again?

Fans of Beth Moran, Alison Sherlock, Cathy Bramley, Heidi Swain, Marie Laval or Lisa Hobman will fall head over heels for this cozy romance full of heart.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘A lovely feel-good book.’ Rosamond C.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Brilliant characters and a great insight into village life.’ Gill K.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘A sweet story.’ Evangelia M.

Buying Links

Summer’s Christmas (Broclington Book 1 – in case you missed it)

Healing Hearts in the Little Village (Broclington Book 2 – don’t worry, it reads well as a standalone novel, although obviously I’d recommend starting with Summer!)

Thank you for reading. Writers, how do you deal with things when your confidence in your writing takes a knock?

You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBaynham, on my Jan Baynham Writer Facebook page and on Instagram janbaynham.

To find out more about me and my books, please visit my AMAZON PAGE. Thanks.

Monday, 19 June 2023

 Guest Post with Luisa A. Jones

This week, I'm very pleased to welcome the talented author, Luisa A. Jones, to the blog for the first time. Her first historical novel, The Gilded Cage, will be published by Storm Publishing on Thursday 22nd June.

Welcome, Luisa. I'm always fascinated by the research an author does when writing historical fiction so I can't wait to find out about some of the research you undertook for your new novel. It's over to you!

Thank you, Jan, for inviting me to share some insights into how I researched my historical fiction for The Gilded Cage. I’ve read and loved all your books, so I feel honoured to be asked to contribute to your blog.

Central to my protagonist’s story in The Gilded Cage was her decision to learn to drive, and the confidence she gained from attaining this skill. I set the story just before the First World War, not only because I find it a fascinating era with its rapid technological and social changes, but also because it was a time when it was still fairly unusual for a woman to become a motorist.

My research revealed that, from the earliest days of motoring, there were female drivers who were just as excited as men by the speed and independence afforded by motor cars. The Ladies’ Automobile Club was founded as far back as 1903. As motoring was so expensive, it was an option only open to a privileged few, so around half of the Club’s founding members were titled ladies. The annual subscription fee of two guineas provided technical advice and information, driving instruction for ladies and their servants, organised motoring tours, competitions, garaging to rent, and a social space to meet at the luxurious Claridge’s hotel in Mayfair. Lectures were held on topics such as “Motors and Morals”. As time went by, the club expanded into charitable work, providing funds for a hospital bed for those injured in road traffic accidents, and setting up a motorised field kitchen during the First World War.

I loved learning about some of the famous women drivers of the day. These included Dorothy Levitt, whose snappily titled book The Woman and the Car: A Chatty Little Handbook for Women Who Want to Motor provided me with much inspiration (and a fair bit of incidental detail) for Rosamund’s experience of driving and car maintenance.  Levitt was a Jewish Londoner whose talent for motoring and boating led her to set land and water speed records for women and made her a well-known celebrity. She took part in (and often won) many speed trials, and loved to drive with her Pomeranian dog, Dodo, on her lap. She was something of an innovator: it was Levitt whose suggestion of carrying a hand mirror to see the road behind led to the development of the rear-view mirror.

Please click on the link for a photograph of Dorothy behind the wheel -

Other notable female motorists included Aileen Preston, who had a motoring school in London and called herself “the first woman to take up motoring as a career”; and Muriel Thompson, a talented racing driver who won the first Ladies’ race at Brooklands in 1908 and went on to become a volunteer ambulance driver in the First World War, winning the Military Medal and the Croix de Guerre for her brave service. The lesbian actress Vera “Jack” Holme was noted as Britain’s first female chauffeur in 1911: a committed suffragette, she was Mrs Pankhurst’s chauffeuse-cum-getaway driver. It struck me as I was writing that such role models could be an inspiration to my protagonist.

Please click on the link for a wonderful photograph of 'Jack' in her role as chauffeuse to Mrs Pankhurst -

In the Edwardian period there were several British manufacturers of motor cars: the most famous of them, Rolls Royce, is of course still in existence, although it is now owned by the German company BMW. I decided to celebrate one of the less well-known marques, and settled on a Wolseley limousine-landaulette as a suitably luxurious and powerful model to be owned by a wealthy industrialist at that time. Only twelve of these are known to still exist today, dispersed around the world. According to the 1913 Wolseley catalogue the specific model I wrote about cost £800; optional extras such as a spare wheel, silk blinds, leather upholstery and a number plate would have increased the cost. For comparison, a lady’s maid at that time might expect to earn around £32 per year.

Please click on the link to see a photograph of the Wolseley 24/30 Limousine-Landaulette -

I was very fortunate in being able to confirm some specific details with a member of the Wolseley Register veteran car club, having found the group on the internet and contacted them via email. He kindly sent me videos, articles and photographs as well as taking the time to answer my questions about such topics as the top speed of a Wolseley 24/30 Limousine-Landaulette and whether the driver’s side front door actually opened (it didn’t, which led to quite a few edits!).

For so many of us even today, whatever our gender, the skill of driving opens up a world of independence that can be truly life changing. While many women drive and own cars nowadays, I can’t help thinking it’s a shame that so few are well-known in the fields of motoring journalism or motor sport. All the more reason, perhaps, to celebrate the achievements of those bold “motoristes” of yesteryear.

Thank you, Luisa. That's so interesting. Women living at the time in which you've set your novel had such a different life to one they would have had today. The motor-car and being able to drive is something we all take for granted. 

The Gilded Cage

About the book:

1897. Rosamund bows her head and steps slowly down the aisle. The satin of her gown whispers against the stone floor and a single tear falls into the bunch of yellow roses twisted in her trembling hands. Despite rumours of his cruelty, Rosamund has no choice but to become this man's second wife.

After her wedding, Rosamund finds herself trapped in Sir Lucien'Fitznorton's lonely country estate. As she wanders the chilly halls, made shadowy by drapes of heavy velvet, she longs for the lost comforts of her childhood home, where she was the beloved only daughter to a doting father, now buried miles away. As a young woman with no fortune of her own, only death can release her from this misery.

Until she meets Joseph, her husband's gruffly handsome new chauffeur. With his mop of salt-and-pepper hair and lilting accent, Joseph is from another world. One of clambering children and tea at scrubbed kitchen tables, the hollow scratch of hunger and long hours of hard work. Despite their differences, they find themselves increasingly drawn to one another.

But Sir Lucien is not only cruel, he's devious too, and soon Rosamund finds herself caught in a dangerous web of secrets and lies. Is Rosamund's fragile marriage nothing but a golden cage, trapping her between two men who desire her... and to what end?

One holds her captive and the other offers her a hope of escape... but who really holds the key to Rosamund's gilded prison?


Twitter: @TaffyLulu



Thank you for reading. I'm sure you found Luisa's post as interesting as I did. If you write historical fiction, what have you researched that is commonplace nowadays? I'd love it if you left a comment. Thank you.

You may follow me on Twitter @JanBaynham and on my Jan Baynham Writer Facebook page. 

I have just started an Instagram page, janbaynham.

For more about me and my writing, please click on my AMAZON  page.