The above photo is Royaumont Abbey- temporary home to the Scottish Women’s Hospitals during the first world war.
I’m hoping that Amy Andrews will forgive me for using part of the fab title of one of her wonderful books for the title of my blog.
I know we all love a hero- but what about our fictional heroines? Do we want them to be like us? Or do we want to recognise that our heroines can be as brave, if not braver, than our heros. My current release The Wife He never Forgot, was inspired after I watched a documentary set in Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. It showed footage of a nurse, I forget whether she was NHS or full time military, in the back of a Chinook as it flew in, under fire, to rescue an injured soldier. I couldn’t get over her bravery. I would have been terrified. My book therefore is as much of a tribute to the women who work close or at the front lines, taking an equal share of the risks, and yet not flinching. I honestly take my hat off to you.
Perhaps it is partly this fascination with female heroines that led me to write my first historical When the Dawn Breaks published by Sphere and written under the name Emma Fraser. When I read about the women who, as soon the first world war started, upped sticks and left for France and Serbia to work in female only units close to the front lines. As I describe in my book, they had to flee from the enemy over mountainous terrain in the middle of winter. Some stayed behind with their patients and were arrested. All of them had to endure at some time during their time with the SWH terrible hardship and difficult conditions while caring for young men with the most appalling injuries.
And perhaps it is the same fascination with female heroines (particularly medical ones) that led me to my second historical We Shall Remember also published by Sphere and under the name Emma Fraser.(To be published sometime next year) In this book I have a Polish medical student who while her country is occupied risks her life in many ways to save the lives of others. While also a work of fiction much of my heroine’s story is based on real life events, including a brilliant, but little known, idea two Polish doctors devised that saved thousands of lives.
Enough about my heroines. What about yours? Do you like the female characters in the books you read to be exeptional (or as I would say in my heroines’ cases ordinary women thrust into extra-ordinary circumstances) or women like ourselves- jogging along with our brief but bright moments of heroism?
I’d love to know what you think.