Saturday, April 4, 2015

Peace Lily by Alex Martin

The Katherine Wheel #2 series


The aftermath of World War I is evident everywhere, the heartbreak is still fresh, when the two young women return to Cheadle Manor. Cassandra Smythe returns as the sole heir, after her brother Charles lost his life in the war. She has to take over the role of executive manager of the estate from her grieving and ageing father, but her mother is not ready to accept the new role of women in society. 

Kathy Phipps returns to her husband, Jem, and her family who all work for Lord Robert and Lady Amelia on their vast estate. The camaraderie of the war is soon forgotten when the old order returns between working class and gentry.

A new reality awaits them in which life throws them several new curve balls. Jem lost an arm in the war, and is no longer able to continue his work as a gardener. Like all the disabled veterans, he is dumped on the trash heaps of history and must fend for himself. Kathy, who was trained as a mechanic in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, is no longer wanted in the army. The jobless couple must face an uncertain future, while life at the manor, with class conscious Lady Amelia in the lead, slowly picks up speed again.

Jem Phipps:  "Both sets of parents - Bert and Agnes; George and Mary - they still had to scratch about to put enough food on the table for their families. The manor was unchanged. Sir Robert and Lady Amelia were still lording it over the rest of them. What right had they to live in that fucking great mansion when he and Katy - and God knows she'd worked as hard as any man during that Godforsaken war - were bunked up with the Beagles in the tiny lodge house that guarded their posh, locked gate?"
Lady Amelia's bitterness over her only son's death leads to the dismantling of relationships, even Cassandra's American fiance Douglas Flintock, leaves for Boston in a fury. It would lead to new paths for both girls when they sail over the Atlantic to rescue love, but run into trouble in the country for the brave and the free, where class differences are defined differently but just as cruel.

The young people have to battle and adjust to an environment where the part of the population who did not participate in the war, do not understand the trauma and its aftermath for those who are trying to overcome their memories and nightmares of the battle front. The peace lilies deceptively grace the halls and homes. There is a cruel irony in their beauty.

This is a light read, in comparison with the outstanding first book 'Daffodils'. The spirit of hope is the the main ingredient in the story. Family relationships, love, and social prejudice throws obstacles on the road to recovery for the four young people: Kathy and Jem, Cassandra and Douglas. 

Loyalty between husband and wife, between friends, between family, determine the outcome of Kathy's difficult journey. She is the main character, who has to overcome the one obstacle after the other to survive the past and future. She becomes the victim of circumstances and must find her way back to self-respect and hope. Like an old-fashioned corset, she could hardly breath or move easily without feeling crushed.

Cassandra's hardship will be on a different level, where money is no object, job security is not an issue, and prejudice is not a threat. In the end, their friendship will be tested in ways they have never seen coming.

A very relaxing read.


After the appalling losses suffered during World War One, three of its survivors long for peace, unaware that its aftermath will bring different, but still daunting, challenges.
Katy trained as a mechanic during the war and cannot bear to return to the life of drudgery she left behind. A trip to America provides the dream ticket she has always craved and an opportunity to escape the strait-jacket of her working class roots. She jumps at the chance, little realising that it will change her life forever, but not in the way she’d hoped.

Jem lost not only an arm in the war, but also his livelihood, and with it, his self esteem. How can he keep restless Katy at home and provide for his wife? He puts his life at risk a second time, attempting to secure their future and prove his love for her.
Cassandra has fallen deeply in love with Douglas Flintock, an American officer she met while driving ambulances at the Front. How can she persuade this modern American to adapt to her English country way of life, and all the duties that come with inheriting Cheadle Manor? When Douglas returns to Boston, unsure of his feelings, Cassandra crosses the ocean, determined to lure him back.

As they each try to carve out new lives, their struggles impact on each other in unforeseen ways.__________________________________________


Life has been full to date. Now I have a window, a pause, in which to explore my first passion - writing. I have a shed in the garden where I can be found bashing both brain and keyboard. I'm attempting to express those thoughts and ideas that have been cooking since I was seven, and learned to read. 

There was an old black and gold typewriter knocking about my childhood home. When I wasn't skinning my knees climbing trees or wandering aimlessly in the countryside with my dog and my dreams, I could be found, as now, typing away with imaginary friends whispering in my ear.

My first novel, The Twisted Vine, is based on a happy time picking grapes in France in the 1980s. I met some amazing people there but none as outrageous as those that sprang to life on my screen. The next one, Daffodils, is now published on KDP and in paperback with is based in Wiltshire, where I grew up. It attempts to portray how ordinary lives, and the rigid social order, were radically altered by the catalyst of the First World War.

The next one, as yet un-named, is a ghost story. I'm just listening to the whispers from the other side to get the full picture....

You can keep up to date with my progress on 



Genres: Historical fiction, Britain, WWI, Family, Relationships
Number of pages: 336
Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Publishers:Alex Martin
Publication date: October 3, 2014
ISBN13: B00O694ET4

Edition language: English
Purchase links: Amazon USA | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble

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