In 2020 I took it into my head to do an MA in Novel Writing by distance learning. I had just completed an MA in Translation (French to English) earlier that year and had been inspired by the subject of my dissertation, a section of Aux frontières de l’espoir, an autobiographical account of the exploits of a French-born Jew who helped hundreds of Jewish children escape to Switzerland during the Second World War. When Georges Loinger's book was published in 2006 (in French), he had already reached the impressive age of 96. His death in December 2018 coincided with my search for a suitable text to translate into English. With the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019 on the horizon at that time, his amazing memoirs seemed a great choice.
It was thus entirely logical that An Inessential Liaison, my first full-length novel, would be a work of historical fiction. It is now finished, and I have chosen to self-publish. The book is set in Normandy in the Second World War and required me to undertake in-depth research, which I loved, even if sometimes it became rather too fascinating and absorbing.
I have tried to ensure that no factual errors or inconsistencies have crept into the book. As one small example, I narrowly avoided Félix smoking Disque Bleu as his cigarette of choice: careful checking confirmed the brand was not marketed until 1954. Such pitfalls lurk to ensnare the writer, to the inevitable glee of any eagle-eyed reader who spots them!
A linked novel is to follow, whose events will be set during the French student revolt of 1968.
Wearing another hat, I have worked for many years as a freelance editor on a wide range of subjects. I am a member of the Society of Authors, the Alliance of Independent Authors, Jericho Writers and the Institute of Translators and Interpreters.
All of these endeavours matter not a jot to our dog, a far-too-clever wire-haired Hungarian Vizsla who has no hesitation in letting me know when it's time for her walk...
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What people say
J. *****, 30 July 2022
A profoundly moving story, well-told, that gives a glimpse into how 'common' Frenchmen and Frenchwomen experienced World War 2, a bit of history often ignored — wilfully or unintentionally — by both Americans and Brits.
C.M. Cronin *****, 3 August 2022
For a first novel this is an amazing achievement. I found myself absorbed by the story, the characters and the scene in which it is all set. I could picture it and almost smell it. The story is very well crafted, beautifully and imaginatively told and, I felt, very authentic - the author has clearly done her research. A really escapist read and a very good story. Looking forward to the next!
Malcolm H., 15 August 2022
A lady who paints with words, couldn't put it down until it was finished
Sam Young, 11 November 2022
Compelling sense of time and place. The story's twist and turns, of ordinary people caught up in the horror of war, and events that they cannot control, lead you on to the beautiful ending, that is touched with sadness
An excellent, well researched read.
Amazon customer, 12 May 2023
A gripping, well researched story which kept me on the edge of my seat. There were lots of twists and turns, I couldn't put it down. The story packed a punch with an ending that I didn't see coming.
I learnt a lot about the finer details and the impact of the war on peoples lives.
Frances has a lovely way to deliver some difficult subjects. She is a very clever lady, writing in a way that you feel like you were there with the characters.
David R, 22 June 2023
An excellent holiday read, skilfully bringing to life a place and events in rural France during the Second World War. Born 4 years after the war ended, the book vividly created for me a scene and story which both seem quite close and resonant but also, thankfully, very distant.
The characters and locations created are alive and recognisable and I will certainly view Normandy through different eyes the next time I visit.
I wonder if there is more to hear of Elodie and her family?