Friday, 18 January 2019

#BlogTour The Hidden Women by Kerry Barrett


Today it's my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Hidden Women by Kerry Barrett. At the end of this post there is an extract of The Hidden Women for you to enjoy. It's a story of women empowering other women, and how some secrets seem more hurtful or sinister when they are kept buried.

About the Author
Kerry has always loved books, words, writing and reading. She was a very bookish child and read all the time. She remembers challenging herself to read all the Famous Five books by her seventh birthday – but she doesn’t remember if she succeeded!

From growing up on a diet of Enid Blyton, Noel Streatfeild, and Sweet Valley High, she moved on to Jackie Collins and her all-time favourite Jilly Cooper. She studied English Literature and Language at the University of Birmingham, then after university, she trained as a journalist and worked on various newspapers and magazines as a writer and editor. In her spare time, she wrote and rewrote what would eventually become her first novel, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, which was published in 2013.

Kerry now divides her time between writing her own novels and editing other people’s. She loves editing as much as writing and she thinks being an editor helps improve her writing, while being a writer makes her a better editor.

Kerry is from Edinburgh originally, but now she lives in South London with her husband and two sons.

Follow @kerrybean73 @HQStories @HQDigitalUK on Twitter,Visit kerrybarrett.co.uk,
Buy The Hidden Women


About the book
Berkshire, 1944
When Will Bates offers to take ATA pilot Lilian Miles to the dance, he sends her heart into a flutter. But as their relationship progresses, Lilian can’t help but get cold feet. Deep down she’s always known that the secrets locked in her past would weigh heavily on her future happiness…

London, 2018
Helena Miles loves nothing more than digging into the back stories of celebrity families, making her perfectly suited for her job as a researcher on the hit show Where Did You Come From?. But when handsome superstar Jack Jones sweeps into her life, she unexpectedly finds herself trawling through her own family history.

As she explores her family’s past, she discovers that there are far more secrets hidden there than she ever expected… What really happened to her aunt Lilian during the war, and why can’t she open up about it now?

Review
I think the title is apt, because women do take on roles that are hidden and forgotten in history. Not many of us are able to name famous female figures in science, war, medicine and all other elements of advancement. Why not? Because the names of men tend to take a higher ranking in history. The truth is that there are plenty of unnamed invisible women who have advanced our society and contributed to sustaining the human race in many different ways.

This story is told by two women, Lillian is a fearless female pilot during WW2 who was determined to give herself and the women around her more than one choice in life. Then decades later her great-niece Helena, who is a genealogy researcher, stumbles upon the some of the secrets Lillian has been keeping hidden from her family.

The Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) was a British civilian organisation set up during World War 2. They employed both male and female pilots, due to the lack of available men, and also received equal pay. The women of the ATA tend to be modest and underplay their role in the Second World War, as do the majority of women who took their places in so-called men's jobs and the women who were in active service. Adding the sub-plot of an organised ring where women help other women to re-home or adopt babies, to help women get help in desperate situations was an interesting idea.

The opposite side to Lillian's story, which is also the avenue to her finally being able to reveal her secrets, is Helena digging in places she shouldn't be digging in. Helena sees the similarities between herself and her aunt, and then how differently their lives have evolved across the decade, despite those similarities.

It's a story of women empowering other women, and how some secrets seem more hurtful or sinister when they are kept buried. Barrett manages to balance a tale of empowerment and a cry to arms with the emotional vibe of a family saga. The result is an informative, brave and heart-warming read.

Buy The Hidden Women at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.


EXTRACT of The Hidden Women
Chapter 1
Helena May 2018
‘Here?’ I said, staring at my boss Fliss in astonishment. ‘Jack Jones is coming here?’
‘Yes, here,’ she said, resting her hand on her computer keyboard as though to warn me I was about to lose her attention. ‘Apparently he’s very interested in social history and he wants to know how you work. It’s no biggie.’
‘But I’ve  got a system,’ I said, knowing it was no good protesting when Fliss had decided something. ‘I don’t want him to mess it up.’
‘He’s not taking over, Helena, he just wants to know how you’re getting on.’ Fliss sounded impatient. ‘He’ll be here after lunch.’
I forced a smile. ‘Fine,’ I said. ‘I’ll get some stuff together.’ I wandered back to my desk feeling wrong-footed.
‘What’s with the face?’ asked my colleague Elly as I sat down. ‘Did Fliss tell you off?’
I wiggled my mouse to wake up my screen. ‘No,’ I said gloomily. ‘She told me Jack bloody Jones is coming in this after- noon to see how I’m getting on with my research.’
‘Shut. Up,’ said Elly, spinning round in her chair to face me. ‘Shut. Up.’
I blinked at her. Did she really mean me to be quiet?
‘Jack Jones is coming here? THE Jack Jones? We never get to meet the celebs,’ Elly was beginning to babble. ‘I’ve worked on this show for five years and I’ve never met one single person whose family history I’ve researched. Have you met anyone?’
‘No,’ I said. She was right. I’d not worked on Where Did You Come From? as long as Elly had, but I’d researched the family trees of lots of celebrities and not been so much as introduced to anyone.
‘And it’s Jack Jones?’ Elly went on. ‘Jack. Jones.’
I nodded. ‘It’s an interesting one, actually. His great-grandfa- ther was at the Somme …’
I trailed off as Elly waved her hand to shush me.
‘He’s gorgeous,’ she said. ‘Properly handsome. And I’ve heard he’s going to be in that new superhero film soon so he’ll be a massive Hollywood star.’
I nodded again. I knew who Jack Jones was of course – star of the latest Sunday night detective drama that was wowing audi- ences, and tipped for superstardom – and Elly was right, he was gorgeous. In any other circumstances I’d love to meet him. But I had a certain way of working, and a system, and a process, and I didn’t appreciate interference or anyone checking up on me, however handsome they were.
‘Will you come with me?’ I asked Elly. ‘To the meeting?’
She gaped at me. ‘Seriously?’ she said. ‘The meeting with Jack Jones?’
I couldn’t help laughing at her face. ‘Yes, the meeting with Jack Jones,’ I said. ‘I could do with the help.’
Elly was getting up from her chair. She pulled on her coat and picked up her bag as I looked on in confusion.

‘Is that a no?’ I said.
‘It’s a yes,’ she threw back over her shoulder as she headed for the lift. ‘I’m going to buy a new top and get my hair blow-dried.’ Chuckling to myself I turned back to my screen. We worked  on more than one celebrity story at a time and I was currently tracking the maternal line of a breakfast TV presenter. I’d got right back to the early 1800s and I thought I might be able to
go further if I was clever about it.
I clicked on to the census web page I used, intending to get back to work, though I couldn’t concentrate on Sarah Sanderson properly with the news that Jack Jones was coming into the office weighing on my mind. I absolutely loved my job and I considered myself to be really lucky that I’d landed this role on Where Did You Come From? Social history may have been my passion but it wasn’t exactly well paid – so making the jump into television was brilliant for me – and I enjoyed the research as well as seeing the process of the show being made. My colleagues were lovely, and Fliss was very understanding when it came to having to rush off on time each evening to collect Dora from nursery, or working from home when she was ill.
Spinning round in my chair, I surveyed my shelves of neat brown folders, each with the name of the celebrity written along the spine and arranged in alphabetical order. I ran my finger along them until I found J and pulled out the Jack Jones file. I’d found out quite a lot about his family already so I had things to tell him. But today I was supposed to be working on Sarah Sanderson’s family history. Giving up an afternoon to Jack Jones was going to throw everything out.
I opened the folder and looked at the picture of him clipped to the front cover. I liked to have a photo of each person so I knew whose family I was researching – especially for those celebs I didn’t really know much about. It helped them become real for me, and then their families became real, too.
Elly was right, Jack Jones was really handsome. He had glossy brown hair that was longish and curlyish and flopped over his forehead, and a smile with a hint of mischief. I felt a brief flicker of excitement. Though I wasn’t a massive fan of the whole celeb thing – I couldn’t name the Kardashians or the members of One Direction – I had really enjoyed the detective series that Jack had starred in. I wondered if it would be weird to discuss the cryptic ending with him and decided it would be a bit fangirl. Mind you, I thought, not as fangirl as Elly getting her hair done.
I picked up my phone, smiling at the picture of Dora wearing my sunglasses on my home screen, and took a photo of Jack’s picture, then added it to my siblings’ group chat.
‘Guess who I’m meeting this afternoon …’ I typed.
Almost straight away, my baby sister Imogen replied. ‘OMG!’ she wrote. ‘Is that Jack Jones? I love him!’
I grinned. Before I could reply, a message arrived from my other sister, Miranda. ‘I have no idea who that is,’ she wrote. ‘But he’s easy on the eye.’
I smiled again. My sisters were nothing if not predictable. ‘Has anyone heard from Andy?’ Another message pinged
through from Miranda. ‘I can’t see if he’s getting these. Immy manages to reply all the way from Africa and he can’t be bothered to keep in touch from Scotland.’
I made a face at my phone. I adored my big sister Miranda but she could be a bit of a mother hen. Not surprising, I supposed, when you thought about what she’d had to take on when we were kids, and I’d never forget how she’d been there when I needed her when Dora was born.
‘He’s probably not on Wi-Fi,’ I typed. Andy was on an archae- ological dig somewhere on a windswept island in the North Sea
– hardly hanging out in a coffee bar in Glasgow as Miranda obviously thought. ‘He’ll check in when he can.’
I threw my phone into my bag and pulled out my make-up. If Elly was dolling up to meet Jack Jones, then perhaps I should do the same....


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