Tapestry of War, Jane MacKenzie
Our own local author from Collioure, Jane MacKenzie, has had a new novel published this year. Many will be familiar with Jane’s best-selling Catalonia trilogy of novels, Daughter of Catalonia, Autumn in Catalonia and Mediterranean Summer.
These are naturally popular in our region because of the way they bring local history to life, and explore the impact of the turbulent events of the last century on ordinary people and communities.
For her fourth novel, Tapestry of War, Jane still maintains her passionate interest in twentieth century history, this time following the course of World War Two.
She writes about quite different parts of the world, but her depiction of the bravery of Free French forces in the war, young men who defied calls to capitulate, and who didn’t know if they would ever be able to return home, will touch chords with anyone who loves France.
The story is a dual one. From the deserts of North Africa, to the waters of Scotland, the Second World War touches the lives of two women from two very different worlds.
In Alexandria, journalist Fran finds her world turned upside down as Rommel’s forces advance on the idyllic shores of Egypt. The life of luxury and stability that she is used to is taken away as she finds herself having to deal with loss, heartache and political uncertainty. Meanwhile, in the Firth of Clyde, Catriona struggles between her quiet rural life and her dreams of nursing injured servicemen on the front lines.
As the war rages on, the two women’s lives and families become intertwined, creating what author Elisabeth Gifford has called a “quite compelling story of courage, hope and love”.
Press reviewer Anne Cater has followed Jane from the early stages of her career. She wrote in her blog:
“Jane MacKenzie has clearly put such a lot of research into this story. She brings the customs and cultures of two such different places to life so very well. Both Fran and Catriona have tragedy and despair to deal with and both of these characters are beautifully created; appearing incredibly real and I for one was completely swept up by both of their stories.
Wonderfully atmospheric and highlighting the perils and consequences of war, for everyone, despite where they lived, or who they were. Tapestry of War is an evocative and tender story, perfectly executed and will delight fans of this genre.”
Tapestry of War was published simultaneously throughout the Commonwealth in April 2018, by London publisher Allison and Busby. The paperback version came out in September.
Jane is delighted that this latest novel has been entered for various literary prizes and she will be appearing at a literary festival in Scotland later in November. She is always happy to meet up with readers’ groups, and a highlight for her was when a group of Catalan learners of English invited her to Girona and told her that her books had truly captured their culture and history.
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