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CHAPTER SIX   FICTION FOCUS

                          NEW NOVEL

       AT THE SEASIDE NOBODY HEARS YOU SCREAM

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Prologue

 

In the summer of 2013 Annette Bethany Brown went missing without trace. Her boyfriend Toby Channing was the last person to see her, the only person who knew where she had spent the previous days.

In February 2014 Tobias Elliot Channing, private investigator, was still roaming the country, a camper van detective specialising in missing persons; hoping to discover why so many people go missing. He was visiting every place that had a connection with Anna, there were still no clues to her disappearance.

 

READ A NEW REVIEW 

BY NOVELIST AND BLOGGER CAROL BALAWYDER

Toby Channing, a young psychologist, is on a mission. His girlfriend Anna has gone missing. The problem is that he was the last person to see her alive and so her family (along with others) suspect him of murdering her. Did he or didn’t he?

In an attempt to find her, he uses his camping van and poses as a private investigator specializing in missing persons. As he tours around the many different areas he has gone with Anna, a slew of different characters approach him with their own cases of missing persons (one being even a robot). As Toby solves these cases his search for Anna intensifies.

Janet Gogerty  takes us into Toby’s head – his fears, his loneliness, his unpleasant relationship with Anna’s parents – especially her father who wants nothing to do with Toby as he suspects him of murdering his daughter, his relationship with his parents (rather warm) and his pregnant sister. The novel is a mixture of domestic gambol and a complex solving of finding Anna, the love of his life. It is a mystery full of suspense, romance and a study of ordinary people desiring to live a more satisfying life.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like being a private detective, Janet Gogerty’s Toby Channing the Camper Van Detective, through his various cases, illustrates that the job is not all about solving murder cases. In fact, not all missing cases, as is pointed out in this novel, are about crime. But Anna’s case is.

 

 

How long does it take to write a novel?

 

I am going to go for 2014 as the conception of At the Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream. The character of Tobias Elliot Channing, the holder of a degree in psychology and registration as a private investigator, first appeared in a short story ‘The Ambassadors’ in Audio Arcadia’s audio book anthology imaginatively called Short Stories Volume One. It then appeared in a paperback edition An Eclectic Mix Volume One in 2015, with a wonderfully colourful cover. Toby’s actual birth came about when our exercise for writers’ group was to create a detective character. The story idea came from Pete at my other writers’ group – write something inspired by the painting The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein the Younger which hangs in the National Gallery.

 

 

 

In February 2014 the Valentine’s Night Storm gave me an idea for the start of A Story, but what the story would be I had no idea. Compared with other natural disasters in the world our storm in Britain was a minor event, but three people were killed. Our house shook during the night even though we are ten minutes walk from the cliff top, further along the coast a Valentine’s romantic dinner in a beachside restaurant turned into a disaster movie; a ‘freak’ wave picked up shingle and smashed it through the panels that make up the front of the art deco building, the diners were eventually rescued by army vehicles.

The weather forecasts warned everyone to stay away from the coast the next morning, we walked ( okay I dragged Cyberspouse, saying it would be fun to take the scenic route to the local shops ) to the cliff top to see high tide. It was exciting, no chance of being blown off the cliff as you could lean into the south westerly coming off the sea and taking your breath away. But as we clung to the low fence on the cliff top and peered over, we got a shock, piles of smashed wood washed over by waves, rows of beach huts reduced to matchwood. And that is when I had my idea; you will have to read the novel to find out why Ellen Green was so afraid when she looked over the edge of the cliff that morning.

 

Fed up with waiting for me to get on with writing the novel, Toby Channing drove his camper van into two very different novellas I was writing, which along with The Ambassadors are part of the collection ‘Someone Somewhere’ published in 2017. ‘Someone For The Weekend’ and ‘Durlswood’ became two of his strangest cases.

What happened in the intervening two years? Lots of blogging and writing; strangely only five months pass during the novel and the passing of time makes no difference to Tobias Elliot Channing because he is firmly fixed in 2014. It is just as well this novel had a fixed starting point, because writing novels ‘in the present’ is just about impossible. How the world has changed in the past six years...

 

 

  SEE SOME OF THE PLACES TOBY CHANNING VISITS

AND READ ABOUT ONE OF HIS SHORT CASES

IN AN EXCERPT FROM THE NOVEL.

SCROLL DOWN TO FIND OUT ABOUT 

MY OTHER NOVELS AND COLLECTIONS

 

              BRIEF ENCOUNTERS OF                                          THE THIRD KIND  

                          THE BRIEF ENCOUNTERS TRILOGY 

 

Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 starsWhat an opening!

ByAnita Daweson 25 September 2018

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

Spaceships, encounters and strange goings-on, all so much more interesting than the film with the similar name and as I read this story, I couldn’t help wondering how I would cope in similar circumstances.

Right back at the beginning of her marriage, Susan longed to be a mother, but it looked as though she was destined to be disappointed. Then something strange happened. She was taken to a spacecraft where the aliens promised her she would have the baby she longed for.

Emma, the baby who duly arrived soon after, was perfect in every way, as all babies are. But as the child grew up, she seemed extraordinarily perfect and the exact clone of her mother. She didn’t cry and was never ill.

Three healthy boys followed, gloriously ordinary boys. You could be forgiven for thinking the story ends there, but you would be wrong. All manner of strange things continue to happen to Susan and her family, until a simple blood test throws a bunch of spanners into the works, causing trouble and suspicion.

Can Susan keep the secret and her family safe and out of harm’s way?

The aliens visit more than once, but instead of helping, I thought they made matters worse. A complicated, well-written story, believable in spite of the unusual storyline. The characters are lovely, reacting the way you imagine ordinary people would if presented with these circumstances.

I loved the way they all tried to make the best out of a sometimes difficult situation, and I am glad there is to be a sequel so we can follow Emma’s baby as he grows up.

This story is a little long, but I wouldn’t suggest shortening it in any way for fear of ruining such a perfectly plotted story…

 

 

 

 

In the early years of the Twenty First Century, widow Susan Dexter has more to worry about than the recession. For thirty years she has kept a secret; she is not sure if her daughter is human. New events lead her to other people who need to find the truth.
How do ordinary people cope with the extraordinary?
Mystery, music and medicine are at the heart of this family saga; sub plots are woven amongst several very different love stories, as the characters question what it is to be human and what is reality.

 

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Since Peter died Emma came round more often, though it was rare for both of us to have a weekday off. That day we were looking forward to enjoying the late September sunshine in my garden and she had news to tell me. Emma was arranging the loungers as I made the coffee.

Suddenly she cried out ‘What’s that in the sky Mum?’

I stepped out, followed her stunned gaze up to the clear sky and froze; I had always dreaded they would come back. Above us was a huge shimmering shape, elegant and beautiful.

 

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A CHARACTER WHO WALKED UNINVITED INTO THE FIRST NOVEL NEEDED TO TELL HIS OWN STORY – THAT BECAME THREE AGES OF MAN.

ANNA ALSOP TAKES UP HER OWN STORY FROM THE DAY AFTER THE FIRST NOVEL ENDS IN LIVES OF ANNA ALSOP.

 

 

 

 SCROLL DOWN FOR SHORT STORIES

AND READ ABOUT  QUARTER ACRE BLOCK

 

 

 FICTION FOCUS   ON  SHORT FICTION

ANTHOLOGIES AND COMPETITIONS

Anthologies

 

Anthologies, collections of various authors’ stories are an attractive prospect for many new or not so new, but still aspiring authors. The chance to have your writing in print, your story chosen by strangers is an affirmation and you have something to show your relatives. Your story will be surely be read by all the friends and relatives of each person who features in the anthology and perhaps one of them will be a publisher or even a film producer... The route to these exciting possibilities is often via a competition, you might also win some money and impress your family.

Back in 2009 I was browsing in Borders, a heavenly mix of music, books and magazines; lurking on a bottom shelf under writing and history magazines was a colourful monthly publication called First Edition. Get Yourself Published For Free it proclaimed. Of course that meant they would not be paying YOU for your stories, but that didn’t seem to matter and one of my stories, Reality, was accepted, my brief biography sent off and in due course my free November copy arrived in the post. I immediately rushed off to check the shelves of Borders and WH Smith to buy another copy to send to my mother. I then e-mailed friends and family who hunted in their local branches; I could say I was in print nationwide. Alas, that edition, only the ninth issue, was the last and by the end of that year Borders had suffered a similar demise in the UK. I wonder what happened to the second story I sent them?

 

 

 

‘Dorset Voices’ was compiled by Poundbury Voices and published by Roving Press. Writers were invited to submit short stories, articles and poems; photographers were invited to submit black and white pictures. My story ‘Four Days In June’ was accepted and the book was launched at Bournemouth Library.

https://www.rovingpress.co.uk/DorsetVoices.html

 

My favourite covers are ‘An Eclectic Mix’. I have stories in volumes one and two, published by AudioArcadia.com 2015

http://www.audioarcadia.com/

 

In 2018 my story ‘Thanephant an Elephantasy’ was included in 'Shoal', published by Thanet Writers and launched at Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shoal-Anthology-Alice-Olivia-Scarlett/dp/1912673002

You can read Four Days In June and stories from Eclectic Mix in my third collection Times and Tides

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Times-Tides-Janet-Gogerty-ebook/dp/B06VXPNL4T

 

TWO MORE SHORT STORIES

OR SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE BACKGROUND STORY TO MY NOVEL QUARTER ACRE BLOCK

 

Down My Lane

 

This morning I woke to find my lane full of reporters and cameras; after yesterday’s events I was not surprised.

But I was not happy; Tesco delivery van once a fortnight is the norm, with occasional visits of scruffy cars and vans to Marty and Lucy’s. You would recognise the view of my lane, on calendars and place mats, but few people know where that photograph was taken and who lives in the two old coastguard cottages.

If we still had a coastguard here perhaps it wouldn’t have happened and I would be left in blissful peace. I don’t do babies and I don’t much like visitors, except when they’re leaving.

Marty and Lucy are okay, they assume I’m an eccentric old lady who lets them grow organic vegetables and roam free range chickens in her garden in return for a share. They don’t know I’m a writer; pen name, well known before all this self publicising and multi media business. They would be shocked if they knew what I write; violent crime thrillers set further along the coast in Brighton.

They’ve got a baby now, I suppose that’s why they felt they had to do something. I was just looking out the door yesterday, wondering why a helicopter was buzzing round, when Lucy came running up and shoved the baby in my arms.

‘Lock yourself in, we don’t know what they might do, or how many; but we must help the mothers and babies, let the police deal with the rest.’

Before I could utter a word she was gone and for the first time in years I locked the door. The baby wriggled and I tried to quell my panic. I had to put it down somewhere safe before its delicate head hit the flagstone floor. Laundry basket, full of towels, nice and soft; the baby glared at me. I realised the back door was open. As I closed it I caught a brief glimpse of activity on the shingle beach and it finally dawned on me what was going on. I’m not that isolated, I listen to the radio. Kent, Sussex… and now I knew it was true. Illegal immigrants, refugees, people smugglers, whatever they were; invaders had landed on my beach, National Trust to be precise, but if feels like my beach. I wondered why on earth Marty and Lucy had got involved, they should have locked themselves safely in their home with their baby and waited till the police and army had rounded up the strangers.

I soon got my answer; a rapping on the door.

‘Quick, let us in before we’re seen.’

Lucy burst through the door, followed by several bedraggled figures clutching bundles. Marty followed and locked the door behind him.

‘They don’t speak English, but they’re scared of the blokes,’ he said ‘what else could we do? Put the kettle on, run a bath, find as many towels and blankets as you can.’

‘Where’s the baby?’ said Lucy, fleeting panic crossing her face.

 

In an instant my home was no longer my own. Lucy was slouched on my settee feeding her baby and using sign language to reassure our guests; they smiled and let her peep at the bundles in their arms, but were terrified of me and Marty. I retreated upstairs to open cupboards; he was right behind me pulling out my best towels and sheets along with ancient eiderdowns and pillows. I looked out of the tiny window under the eaves.

Way below, the beach was full of yellow jackets escorting a mixed bunch of people; some slouched in despair, several trying to run away, stumbling on the shingle.

 

It didn’t work, trying to hide them; the police came to check if we were safe, said there were procedures to be gone through. I was relieved. It was Marty’s idea that if the press got hold of our story the authorities would have to look after the women and babies properly. We were going to follow up what happened to them. I reassured my young neighbours they had done more than their share to help.

Now I’m beginning to realise the press invasion is far worse than yesterday’s invasion, my only consolation is that I have a new idea for my next novel; my publishers have been hinting for a while that I need to update and become more relevant. People smugglers…

 

DOWN MY LANE IS ONE OF THE FLASH FICTION TALES

                      IN  SOMEONE SOMEWHERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark & Milk - A great mix of light and sinister tales.

24 May 2016

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Janet Gogerty...What a super writer of short stories. I have read many of her stories and this collection hits the mark yet again. As a writer myself I marvel at how many she has penned and never once covering the same ground twice. That is no mean feat. There are twenty seven gems in this collection and they really are a diverse assortment of tales. Amongst my favourites are:

Janus - A frightening look at how genetic tinkering can lead to horrifying results.
Bones on the Beach - A news reporter finally solves the mysterious disappearance of Miss Tyler's lost love.
You have One Friend - You may want to keep an eye on your Teddy Bear and for goodness sake don't leave him unattended near your computer.

I have rated this Collection Five Stars. Well worth purchasing and losing yourself in Miss Gogerty's imagination.

 

 

Dreadlocks and The Four Bears

 

Delia answered the phone promptly, it was her agent.

I’ve got you a star role, back to the cinema.

Initial excitement was followed by disappointment.

You won’t have to leave London, it’s a voice over.

It still rankled with Delia that she had been passed over for Marigold Hotel.

‘Advertisements?’

No, no CGI.

‘A spy film?’

No computer generated image, like Toy Story, Paddington Bear…

Delia wondered how much worse it could get. ‘A children’s film?’

Nothing wrong with that, all the stars do them now.

‘Who else is doing it?’

Tamara James.

‘Who?’

You know, she sent that Twitter and hasn’t worked since.

 

On Thursday Delia turned up at what her agent called a bijou studio. She had not dared ask any more details, she could not afford to turn it down, but the young strangely attired young man who greeted her was friendly, enthusiastic and solicitous.

‘First one here, great, now how much do you know about the film?’

‘Nothing, I like surprises, this is just a bit of fun for me, I do like to support up and coming talent.’

‘…and we are very honoured to have you on board. Basically we’re going back to basics, a classic tale not yet retold, want to get in before Disney; Goldilocks and The Three Bears.’

Delia laughed. ‘I know it’s only a voice over, but I think my voice may be a little too mature for Goldilocks.’

He joined in the laughter. ‘Brunhilda… the brown bear, not the Valkyrie; you will be magnificent as Mother Bear.’

The smile froze on Delia’s face. ‘Who is playing Father Bear?’

‘There is no father bear, we have to reflect the modern family.’

‘I don’t understand, there have to be three bears.’

‘Yes, Big Mama Bear, that’s you, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.’

‘Very funny and how did they manage to produce baby bear?’

‘AID.’

‘I thought this was a children’s film, now you’re telling me the family has aids?’

‘No, artificial insemination by donor, Big Mama’s egg, Polo, the only gay Polar Bear in the Arctic, was the sperm donor and Pandora, Mama Bear, was the surrogate mother.’

‘Polar bears in the wood, this gets more and more bizarre.’

‘We have to show diversity.’

‘So what is Pandora?’

‘A Panda of course.’

‘Pandas are not real bears.’

‘I know, but we can’t be seen to be prejudiced. Pandora escaped from the zoo, it wasn’t working out with her husband, this was her only chance of becoming a mother.’

‘So what is the cub, a Teddy Bear?’

‘I love your sense of humour; I’ll show you the first rushes on the lap top.’

Despite her reservations, Delia found herself taken by the lively colourful characters. ‘It is rather lovely, someone must be good at drawing. How sweet, a coffee coloured cub who’s afraid of the water and refuses to learn to fish. What’s happening now?’

‘The family have gone down to the lake in the woods, where Polo has lived since being ostracized by the Arctic community. Every Sunday they invite him back for breakfast, the access visit to see his son.’

‘Leaving the porridge to cool off?’

‘Vegie Kedgeree actually.’

Delia was getting into the spirit of the film. ‘Can I see what’s going on back at the cabin? …who on earth is that?’

‘We could hardly have the stereotype young blonde girl, that is Dannie Dreadlocks, she’s left home because her parents won’t take her to the gender reassignment clinic. We have to make sure the film is inclusive of the GLBT community.’

‘What has any of this to do with sandwiches?’

‘Sandwiches? Oh, you’re so funny Delia, you mean BLT, bacon lettuce and tomato. I’m talking about gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender.’

‘I think you are making this film too inclusive, can’t you just have a nice story?’

‘It will be, most of this stuff is back story, only the parents will understand. Let’s skip to the next scene, we’ve already added the sound track.’

Delia watched as the androgynous Dannie Dreadlocks skipped up the wooden stairs inside the cosy cabin, complaining in a strong Glaswegian accent that they should have gone to Ikea. In the first room she found a tiny wooden bed and sat down, but it snapped in half. In the big room she found the enormous four poster bed that Big Mama and Mama shared. At that moment a huge shadow filled the room and Dannie turned to see Big Mama blocking the doorway. The frame froze on the lap top screen.

‘Oh, what happens next?’

‘We haven’t written that part yet, we thought we’d let you all go down the Mike Leigh route and make up the script.’    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

maureen turner-books by maureen

 

5.0 out of 5 starsAnother successful collection of shorts from Ms Gogerty

20 September 2017

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Yet another delightful collection of short stories from the irrepressible Janet Gogerty. This time twenty five stories on almost every subject imaginable.
The variety of themes are astounding and I will only mention a few in this review.
The opening story, Blind Date tells of just that, a blind date between Michael and Jessica accompanied by Michael's guide dog Bella. Not a dog to tangle with.
I loved 'Solar Power' with its idea of a solar powered hat for elderly Daphne. It certainly put a spring in her step. I chuckled over Ms Gogerty's comment of 'Burger Syndrome Spectrum thingy.'
'Up, up and away' was an eye opening story involving a hot air balloon disaster - the method of dealing with the rogue balloon was quite shocking. 'Making an Entrance' Wow! Never upset a fellow thespian.
'Restoration Project' had a very spooky ending...I loved it.
The last story, 'Christmas Eve' has all the elements of just how traumatic Christmas can be especially when guests descend with little warning.

 


 

QUARTER ACRE BLOCK

A NOVEL ABOUT TEN POUND POMMIES IN THE 1960'S

In the nineteen sixties many ‘ten pound pommies’ had never left England before and most expected never to return or see loved ones again. George Palmer saw Australia as a land of opportunities for his four children, his wife longed for warmth and space and their daughter’s ambition was to swim in the sea and own a dog. For migrant children it was a big adventure, for fathers the daunting challenge of finding work and providing for their family, but for the wives the loneliness of settling in a strange place.

Prologue   December 1963

 

As autumn brought dark evenings and the walls of their terraced house closed in, George began visiting Australia House in his lunch hour. The winter of ‘63 had been the last straw. George and Helen wanted to emigrate to Australia. They did not expect to make their fortune, but reasoned they would rather live on a tight budget somewhere warm. During the summer of 1963 they had faltered; to move to the other side of the world and never return seemed unthinkable; but late one December evening, alone in their small dining room, George and Helen whispered and pored over brochures and forms.

‘One thing’s for sure,’ said Helen ‘we’ve grown out of this house.’

Her third pregnancy had been a surprise and the arrival of twins a shock; owning their own house had been a dream come true until then.

‘When they built these little houses in the thirties, people were thrilled to have an inside bathroom’ laughed George.

‘...and a garden’ added Helen.

‘Everyone lives in detached houses in Australia, with a laundry as well. By next Christmas we could be in a new house on a quarter acre block of land. Jennifer could have all those pets she wants and I could have my workshop.’

‘Oh George, I don’t think I could bear it if they turned us down.’

‘They won’t, it’s an enormous country with hardly anybody in it; why else would they be paying our fares? Ten pounds to fly across the world.’

‘Or voyage across the oceans.’

‘Six weeks at sea with our lot, no thanks. Besides, I’ve looked into it; if we opt to fly, we should get our passage much quicker.’ He gathered the attractive brochures into one pile and the forms into another. ‘If we post these off, we’re going to go, no turning back. But we can not tell anyone yet, not your mother, or your sister or Joyce and certainly not the children; it wouldn’t be fair to get their hopes up until we’re absolutely certain.’

She kissed his cheek and handed him the pen.

 

 

REAL LIFE?

Quarter Acre Block is based on our family’s experiences, but is not autobiographical. Readers ask which parts are real? I needed my mother’s help to get the adult point of view, but the Palmer family are not my family. I wanted the story to be realistic, so the Palmers follow the same journey as we did. The ‘six week holiday of a lifetime’ sounded fun and I was envious of those who had come by ship, crossed the equator and met King Neptune, but the Palmer family had to fly.

I knew no one who had been in the migrant camps: I don’t think my father would have persuaded Mum to go at all if she had to face the prospect of a camp! Dad knew ‘someone from the office’ who had migrated and they sponsored us. The chap met us at the airport, put us in a caravan well gone midnight and returned at nine am to take us down to Scarborough Beach. His family had taken to beach life and were living ‘the dream’. My younger brother and sister were terrified of the waves and I clung to a plastic surfboard, too embarrassed to tell their children I couldn’t swim. After that experience the only beach my parents wanted to sit on was Crawley Beach by the Swan River. It was very pleasant and I taught myself to swim there. I have always loved the water, but my parents hardly ever ventured in.

 

You can read a little of what my life was like in the six months leading up to our departure in my Tidalscribe blog

- Quarter Acre Blog.

  https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/quarter-acre-blog

 

 

READ REVIEWS

Poppy

 

5.0 out of 5 starsWell Done Janet!

17 October 2017

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

This book was written by my friend at writing class. I absolutely loved its clear and incisive descriptions of life for the Poms who decided to make new lives in Australia. She has written several more books and collections of short stories and I would recommend them to anyone.

 

 

 

 

REAL LIFE

I did have an excellent teacher for my two months of primary school at the end of the Australian school year. With a totally different curriculum, he encouraged me to get good results in the tests so I could start high school a year early. We moved to our new house and suburb before Christmas, in time to meet some local children before I started at my new high school. A large school, much as I describe in the novel.

 

 

READ REVIEWS

 

5.0 out of 5 starsHighly recommended!

By Jayne Lucas on 16 March 2013

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were three dimension and ‘real’ and I felt part of the family. It kept my interest all the way through and I was disappointed for it to end – will there be a sequel? I found myself wanting to know how the story developed and what happened to the characters. I shall be looking for other books by the same author.

 

Fascinating insight

By Mr M G Stratford on 29 November 2013

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

A fascinating insight into the cultural changes and challenges experienced by a family emigrating from the UK to Australia in the 1960s.

 

 

Evokes an era

By Jane Deans on 5 December 2012

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Quarter Acre Block is the story of an ordinary, middle class English family of the sixties' experiences as they make the momentous decision to emigrate to Australia to obtain a better standard of living. Told mainly through the eyes of the young daughter, Jennifer it is both heartwarming and evocative of the era. Anyone old enough to have been subjected to the delights of Spam, The Beatles, Tupperware parties,Sunday church and transistor radios will appreciate the detail.
As they grapple with the difficulties that face them in their newly adopted country the family encounter many new characters and experiences. Dad, George must find employment, they need somewhere to live and Mum, Helen has to adjust to life as a housewife and mother in an environment that is totally alien.
The story is told in an anecdotal style and charts the family's progress during their first year.
This book is a gentle read, with no major shocks or thrills, but nevertheless enjoyable.

 

A Good Honest Account of a New Beginning

By Rea on 22 July 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

Quarter Acre Block from Janet Gogerty is a fascinating peek into a year in the life of a "ten pound pom". Following the decimation of World War II and as an encouragement for immigrants to come and repopulate Australia, many British families were offered the opportunity to emigrate to Australia, for just ten pounds fare.
Quarter Acre Block follows the first year of the Palmers' new life in Perth, Australia. I found the story very interesting and was able to identify with so many of the issues facing this young family; loneliness, homesickness, finding employment and just making new connections on the other side of the world.
This was a really good story, well written and easy to read. Although it is a novel, there is clearly some autobiographical influence from the author in this story. If you like stories about real people facing real problems, you'll love this book. I can definitely recommend it.

 

4.0 out of 5 starsHeart Warming four star hit

By Jane Krabbeler on July 13, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Quarter Acre Block
BY: Janet Gogerty
Reviewed By: Long Island Dreams Book Reviews
Star rating: 4 out of 5 stars
George and Helen Palmer are loving and caring parents who desire to give their four children every advantage that life has to offer. When the opportunity arises to emigrate to Australia from their native England, the Palmer family seizes the opportunity.
Quarter Acre Block follows the Palmers as they embark on the journey of a lifetime. You will cry as they say goodbye to all their family and friends and travel around the world to their new home.
The author spins this tale in such a way that you will completely identify with the Palmer family as they begin to adapt to their new environment. You will feel their apprehension through out all their firsts, from taking the bus to the shops, starting a new job and attending a new school.
I have no doubt you will feel their joy as they see the beach for the first time, learn to swim, make new friends, buy a new home and so much more.
You will feel Helen Palmers loneliness as she struggles to adjust to her new life away from her extended family and all that she has known. I have to say Helen Palmer jumped off the page at me. I wanted to wrap her in a warm embrace and reassure her that she George and the children would triumph in their new home.
Quarter Acre Block is a heart warming story of love and perseverance. I found myself laughing, crying and cheering for this family. This is a four star page turning hit, that you definitely won’t want to miss.

 

 

 

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READ EXCERPTS; the story of the Palmers' new life is told from both mother and daughter's point of view.

 

That evening she was allowed to stay up later, till the twins were safely asleep. The television was switched off and she and Simon were told to sit in the front room to hear important news.

‘Australia,’ exclaimed Simon ‘why didn’t you tell me?’

‘We are telling you now’ grinned his father. ‘We haven’t even told your grandparents yet, no point in getting everyone excited or upset till we know for sure.

‘I’m excited,’ said Jennifer ‘going on an aeroplane to a hot country; I could learn to swim and we could have a dog.’

‘I’m sure you can, when we’re settled’ smiled her mother.

‘Or a horse… like those children on television.’

‘What about my friends?’ complained Simon.

‘They can come on holiday to see you’ said Jennifer.

‘It’s a bit further than the Isle of Wight’ he sneered.

‘You’ll make new friends son’ his father reassured him. ‘Besides, the way things are going, you won’t be the only boy at your school emigrating.’

She and Simon were sworn to secrecy; the twins must not know yet, they were sure to tell. No one must know, just in case; in case of what Jennifer wasn’t sure. Perched on top of the concrete coal bunker, nibbling her Easter egg in the watery spring sunshine, she hugged the secret to her eleven year old self.

 

A short bus ride took the family to the house that George had grown up in; the road was identical to the one they lived in now, the terraced houses exactly the same layout. Privet hedges and creosoted fences were a feature of nearly every garden in the street; George and Helen stood at his mother’s neatly painted narrow front gate and knew they were making the right decision.

He climbed up into the small loft at his mother’s request; no one had been up there since his father died. Peter and Tony delved into the box he brought down.

‘I should have passed it on to you ages ago, for your boys’ said his mother.

Inside were books and toys he remembered, but had no idea his mother had kept.

‘Sort out which ones were Dennis’ then take the rest, they should go with you, don’t forget the past.’

He opened a book and showed Helen the fly leaf.

To George on your tenth birthday, 1935, with love from Mother and Father.

‘How long ago that was, they were happy days weren’t they Mum?’

‘Yes indeed they were; your father and I were so proud to have our own house and be bringing up two fine sons.’

 

 

READ A REVIEW

Mark Laming

 

4.0 out of 5 starsWhat an insight into taking the plunge to live in ...

12 October 2017

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

What an insight into taking the plunge to live in Australia. This is a well written story with believable characters and real experiences of living over the other side of the world. I shall look forward to reading more of this author’s books as she certainly kept me turning the pages. Mark Laming

 

REAL LIFE

Dad’s family followed us all out. First his brother and family who went on to have an Australian baby, then my grandparents and my aunt. But it was many years before one of my mother’s sisters came out on holiday. Dad insisted we would never go back, which is the best way to settle in. If migrants did not stay for two years they had to pay their outward fare back to the Australian government, some migrants took that as trying it for two years, while others treated it as a two year holiday, yet others planned to try Sydney if they didn’t like Perth. Most migrants assumed they were there for good and could not afford any other option. There were some who were whinging poms and others who went to the other extreme, dismissing Britain as 'finished', as if to justify their decision.

 

My relatives are spread far and wide with a variety of careers and lifestyles; some own land, have camped around Australia, gone scuba diving and done other very Australian things. There have been plenty of ups and downs like any family. I imagine that at least some of George Palmer’s family went on to live up to his hopes for them.

If you have any questions about the book or Australia you are welcome to e-mail me at    ccside@virginmedia.com

 

REAL LIFE - THE DARK SIDE

 

But there is always a dark side; the Vietnam war was raging, Simon Palmer would have been eligible for conscription by ballot when he was twenty, the voting age was twenty one. ‘All The Way with LBJ’ - Australia would not let down the USA after their help in the Second World War. The boys in my class at college were very happy when conscription was abolished just before their twentieth birthdays.

There were other hazards for migrants. Some new migrants did drown in the Indian Ocean. Everyone got their driver’s licence at seventeen and old bangers were cheap for teenage boys to buy and bomb around in. One of the English boys in my class was killed in a car accident; unlike the modern way of counselling, special assemblies and flowers at the gate, no official mention was made at school of his demise!

REAL LIFE –DARK HISTORIES

 

In 1964 we knew little about the Aboriginals, I guess we assumed they were living happily in their natural habitat out in ‘the bush’. Mixed race aboriginal children were taken from their families and put in orphanages. Whatever we came to know later on, there is no escaping the fact we were living in someone else’s country.

Nor did we know about the British children shipped out as ‘orphans’ and left in the ‘care’ of such as the Christian Brothers in boys’ homes out in the countryside. The dark side of migration for sure.

But human beings have always moved around, exploring and colonising. In the sixties Perth was full of English, Italian and Greek migrants and many others from Europe. The Mediterranean people were hard workers, better used to the heat no doubt and were brilliant at market gardening and corner shops. But that did not mean the British were lazy, in the work place and the arts they were at the forefront, taking the initiative. Asian students appeared, but were expected to go home after their studies at university! Fortunately Britain joining the Common Market was a sharp reminder that Australia needed to make friends and trade nearer home. Modern Perth has grown out of recognition in size and character.

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© Janet Gogerty