Bude-based historical novelist, Betty Walker, who also writes contemporary thrillers as Jane Holland, has an exciting new saga on sale this week, first in a special wartime series set exclusively in Cornwall.
Her book, Wartime With The Cornish Girls, is inspired by a true wartime story about a secret communications base at Eastern House in Porthcurno. Pre-orders have been strong, and the book has garnered more than 700 positive reviews on Amazon to date. Sunday Times bestselling saga novelist, Kitty Neale, also praises the book, saying: ‘A fascinating story, beautifully written, with interesting characters I really liked. A most enjoyable read!’
Betty, who penned the book mostly in Bude coffee shops before the pandemic struck, says: ‘In summer 2019, I went to visit the Telegraph Museum at PK Porthcurno, where wartime messages from all around the world were received via transatlantic underwater cables, before being decoded and passed up the chain to London’s Electra House. During World War II, Porthcurno was a government facility, with top secret telecommunications equipment and personnel housed discreetly in tunnels, just as they were at the other side of the country, in the white cliffs at Dover.’
Wartime With The Cornish Girls follows the fictional lives of three women based in rural Porthcurno, who each contribute to the war effort in their own way, helped through danger and dark times by their special bond of friendship.
‘Having grown up with my mum’s tales of a London childhood spent dodging bombs in the Blitz,’ says Betty, ‘it wasn’t hard to envisage those difficult times. Violet is an Eastender who takes her orphaned nieces to Cornwall to escape the war, and Eva is a lively chorus girl, nearly killed in a bomb blast, who heads west to join her army father. Completing the line-up is Hazel, a Cornish housewife with a teenage son desperate to join up and a husband away fighting, who just needs a job to make ends meet.’
The novel includes a fictionalised account of a devastating bombing raid that took place near Porthcurno during the war, as the Germans urgently sought to destroy the secret base they knew was along the Cornish coast but couldn’t pinpoint. There is also a festive sequel due out in November, Christmas With The Cornish Girls, set mainly in St Ives.
Wartime With The Cornish Girls (Avon Books) is available in paperback from August 5th at all good bookshops, and in Tescos and Morrisons supermarkets, plus online in ppb, ebook and audiobook.