Black Opal Books 2017
For some reason, books occasionally arrive in pairs—meaning that out of nowhere a topic that has received little attention convinces two or more writers that it is novel-worthy, and those authors produce their finished products at more or less the same time. In this case, we decided to address the issues addressed by combining two shorter interviews into a single podcast. Both books explore the ramifications of Hitler’s decision to invade France, then attack Britain. Both examine the wartime leadership and postwar political defeat of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Both are set in Europe, especially the United Kingdom, between 1938 and 1946. Beyond that, they tell very different stories.
In When It’s Over (She Writes Press, 2017), Barbara Ridley traces the experiences of Lena Kulkova, a young Czech woman who accompanies her socialist boyfriend from Prague to Paris, then follows him to Britain just before the Nazi forces invade the French capital. As Lena copes with life in a new country, itself threatened by war and increasingly suspicious of strangers, she yearns to reconnect with the family she left behind in Czechoslovakia. But only after the war, as socialism strengthens its hold on the British working class and threatens the political career of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, does Lena discover the fate of those she loves.
Wickwythe Hall (Black Opal Books, 2017), focuses on a crucial decision in the summer of 1940. When Hitler invaded France and the Vichy government agreed to collaborate with the Nazis, the British feared that the French navy would be coopted and turned against them. Churchill issued an ultimatum to the French: turn over their fleet, sail it to a distant port, or see it annihilated. When the French, insisting they would not hand over their ships to the Germans, refused to negotiate, the British navy destroyed the fleet at Marseilles, with great loss of life. Through three overlapping and intertwined narratives, Judithe Little reveals the short-term and long-term effects of this decision and the war of which it formed a part, on individual lives.
C. P. Lesley is the author of seven novels, including Legends of the Five Directions (The Golden Lynx, The Winged Horse, The Swan Princess, and—forthcoming in December 2017—The Vermilion Bird), a historical fiction series set in 1530s Russia, during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible. Find out more about her at http://www.cplesley.com.