SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Hello Reds and lovely readers! I'm so delighted to show you the cover design for the next Maggie Hope novel, MRS. ROOSEVELT'S CONFIDANTE, which is coming out October 27, 2015 (so not too long to wait!):
I hope you love it as much as I do! I adore Fala, of course, as well as the ghostly figure in the window.... And, um, I'd really like Maggie's coat, please! (With a faux-fur collar, of course.)
And what's on the inside is progressing nicely as well. The manuscript is now typeset and in page proofs. So my job is to go over the book one last time.
Look! It's a book! (Amazing what typesetting will do.)
And I'm particularly proud of the dedication. I asked Miss Edna about the political and racial events of the 1940s often, and it led to great discussions. I treasure the memory of them.
As you may know, I'm also working on the next book in the Maggie Hope series, THE QUEEN'S ACCOMPLICE, and just returned from a two-week research trip to London and Beaulieu, in Hampshire. (It's pronounced Bew-lee — go figure!)
Fantastic trip and I have so much to share that it will take additional posts, but one of the most amazing thing was visiting the real-life SOE secret agent offices in London and "finishing school" in Beaulieu. I never forget for a moment that although I'm telling a story with a fictional protagonist, real women and men sacrificed everything to be dropped behind enemy lines and, as Winston Churchill instructed "set Europe ablaze!"
Here are a few of the sites and plaques honoring the SOE in London:
|On what used to be one of the main SOE offices on Baker Street.|
|Now it's a lighting store and anonymous office space.|
|This building was home of the SOE and Free French. It's now banking offices.|
|This is the plaque in memory of the Free French and SOE|
And also in Beaulieu:
|This is the SOE memorial on the grounds of Beaulieu Abbey, originally built in 1204|
|A close-up of the inscription|
|The outside of what's left of Beaulieu Abbey|
|Inside the domus. It was originally a dormitory for monks. During World War II, dances were held there and it also served as sleeping quarters for soldiers heading to Normandy.|
|U.S. soldiers getting some rest before the invasion of Normandy.|
I'm in awe of the agents' bravery and courage — and so many of them didn't return. But, thanks to their efforts, along with the Free French and La Résistance, so many telephone lines were cut, bridges blown up, and roads blocked before D-Day by the "underground army" that the Allied invasion of Normandy had just that more going for it.
Reds and lovely readers — are you familiar with the work of the SOE? And are there any war memorials that are particularly important to you? What's your personal connection? Please tell us in the comments.