Michelle was joined on the telephone for this months virtual Book Club by Sylvia Kent and our guest writer Janet Howson.
Janet’s book, Charitable Thoughts is out now.
INTERVIEW – JANET HOWSON
Charitable Thoughts by Janet Howson
Brenda Watt’s life has no purpose. She is sixty-five and has retired from a full-time job after working in the same offices for forty-two tedious and unhappy years. She has no family, no one she could call a close friend and has never had the time or inclination for hobbies, clubs or gyms. She feels lonely, isolated and useless. So she decides she needs a challenge and decides to volunteer at a local charity shop. This is the starting point for her transformed world. She discovers that charity shops are not the quiet, unassuming places she had always imagined them to be, as she experiences school girl thieves, grooms who have lost their wedding outfits, drug runners, ferrets, floods and discarded goldfish. Brenda had never imagined how much she could enjoy life.
BOOK CLUB UPDATES WITH SYLVIA KENT and a special mention to writer Maggie Ford
Billericay Readers Group are currently reading:-
The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes
The Girl at Conway Place by Alex Rushton
The Murder of Harriet Monckton
The Murder of Harriet Monckton is based on a true story that shocked and fascinated the nation. On 7th November 1843, Harriet Monckton, 23 years old and a woman of respectable parentage and religious habits, was found murdered in the privy behind the dissenting chapel she had regularly attended in Bromley, Kent. The community was appalled by her death, apparently as a result of swallowing a fatal dose of prussic acid, and even more so when the autopsy revealed that Harriet was six months pregnant.
Drawing on the coroner’s reports and witness testimonies, the novel unfolds from the viewpoints of each of the main characters, each of whom have a reason to want her dead. Harriet Monckton had at least three lovers and several people were suspected of her murder, including her close companion and fellow teacher, Miss Frances Williams. The scandal ripped through the community, the murderer was never found and for years the inhabitants of Bromley slept less soundly.
This rich, robust novel is full of suggestion and suspicion, with the innocent looking guilty and the guilty hiding behind their piety. It is also a novel that exposes the perilous position of unmarried women, the scandal of sex out of wedlock and the hypocrisy of upstanding, church-going folk.
The Girl at Conway Place
1986. Cathy Simpson is a single mother with a young son, Jason, living in a flat in Conway Place, north London. Desperate to provide her boy with a father figure, she joins a dating agency and meets the charming and attentive Simon Scott, who forms a strong bond with Jason. Although Simon and Cathy marry she can never forget the man who was Jason’s father. Cathy’s best friend, Holly, takes it upon herself to discover his whereabouts, a task which has unexpected consequences for everyone.
About Sylvia Kent
I am a freelance author/columnist. My 12th book BRENTWOOD IN 50 BUILDINGS is now in bookshops, & work has been published in national, regional and on-line press. Following Freelance Writer of the Year award (Writing Magazine) my work has appeared in 75 titles and my FOLKLORE OF ESSEX contributed to Channel 5’s film COUNTY SECRETS. The History Press published THE WOMAN WRITER obtained at the British Library. This book outlines the provenance of the SWWJ’s 1894 foundation and includes our pioneering members in journalism, literature & poetry. The famous Joyce Grenfell, former SWWJ President enjoys a dedicated chapter. My books were reviewed in The Times and other dailies. As SWWJ’s archivist. I’m immersed in new historical research, contributing to on-line press, see my downloadable Kindle books. Also Facebook,Twitter & Amazon @sylviaakent & film/audio clips now added. Latest titles are BARKING & DAGENHAM FROM OLD PHOTOGRAPHS and BRENTWOOD IN 50 BUILDINGS. I was invited to become a Fellow of the SWWJ and recently won the John Walter Silver Salver for 2018 and 2019. I broadcast on PhoenixFM, BBC Essex and other stations. Current page views 365,000.
Picture taken in 2018.