Fiction ~ recent titles
The Price of Bread, by Crysse Morrison
Frome-based novelist, poet and blogger Crysse Morrison takes us back fifty years to a world far-removed from the Somerset of her previous Hobnob title, the acclaimed Frome Unzipped. In her novel it’s the winter of 1970 and Northern Ireland is smouldering with the unresolved hostilities of its ancient sectarian tribes, with Belfast a hotbed for trouble. In the heart of the city, Lee and her partner and friends ignore sectarian labels, and Lee still trusts in her hippy mantra ‘all you need is love’ – but the streets are increasingly dangerous, especially with two young children and more immediate challenges like how to beat the cold and the rising price of bread. When threats are scrawled on their back wall, and as sandbags and barricades block the streets, ‘love’ is becoming a precious and elusive commodity…
July 2020, 200pp, paperback, £8.95, ISBN 978-906978-85-3.
The Complete Adventures of Henry Chalk, Pedestrian Tourist, by Nick Cowen
The fictional tours of Henry Chalk in 1807-8, told in a series of letters to his uncle in the style of a pedestrian tourist. With danger snapping at his heels our hero stumbles upon the founding fathers of archaeology who are intent on opening every prominent burial mound in the Stonehenge landscape. Love and mystery entwine the young walker like an ever-tightening creeper as he explores the sunken lanes and glaring chalklands. And as the young hero puts pen to paper to record his adventures, his own story unfolds, whilst a shocking denouement awaits. First published by Hobnob between 2005 and 2013 in three parts, the trilogy is now brought together in a single volume, with additional drawings by the author and biographies and explanations of the real characters encountered by our hero.
July 2020, 512pp, line drawings, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-89-1.
The Thegn’s Creed, by Sue Boddington
Sue’s second historical novel. It tells the story of two brothers, thegns from the Saxon aristocracy, struggling to come to terms with the upheaval of their world and maintain their status as freemen on their ancestral land. Their fortunes are played out against a backdrop of 11th Century Wiltshire village life and the seasonal round of agricultural toil in an England still full of tension between Saxon and Norman.
July 2020, 284pp, paperback, £8.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-88-4.
Dissenters: Conscience and Corruption in 17th-century Frome, a novel by Liz Hutchinson
In the 1660s English society experiences religious, social and industrial upheavals. Throughout the land, thousands of Puritan clergy are expelled from their churches and homes, dissenting congregations suffer repression by the magistrates and meet illegally. In Frome, Somerset, a family is impoverished and drawn into a smuggling gang. The changing times offer new opportunities – some less reputable than others – and violence is often the first response to those who enforce the law. The town’s flourishing woollen industry allows some to build fortunes, especially the more unscrupulous developers. But for others, the threat of poverty, starvation or the gallows is always present . . .
May 2020, 274pp, paperback, £10.95, ISBN 978-906978-83-9.
Sweet Medicine, by Sue Boddington
Spring 1860 in a lonely corner of Montana, four people are seeking fulfilment in their lives and some form of healing for troubled minds. Bear Claw, the Cheyenne warrior, whose mother was the daughter of a Jewish pedlar, is searching for a way to reconcile his life as a Cheyenne with his promise to his mother to honour the traditions of her people. Ben Barnett, the youngest son of a Wiltshire squire has emigrated with his young wife Frances in the hope of finding a cure for his depression and restless spirit in the challenge of a pioneering life. Frances however, longs for a more secure, civilised life with her relatives in Boston. Lothar Klein dreams of becoming a rich man and being accepted in the upper ranks of European society and has travelled from Germany believing he will find gold in America. When the lives of these four people intersect a chain of events is set in motion that reaches a dramatic conclusion.
The story is set against the background of the dangers and hardships of living in an untamed landscape and the often fraught relationship between the white settlers and the native population, but also how an individual friendship can transcend differences in race and culture. The life and traditions of the Cheyenne are portrayed in detail at a time when the Plains tribes still had the freedom to live in their own way before they were swept aside by the irresistible force of the believers in Manifest Destiny.