#GuestPost by Frankie McGowan, author of A Single Journey @Endeavour_Media

#GuestPost by Frankie McGowan, author of A Single Journey @Endeavour_Media #GuestPost by Frankie McGowan, author of A Single Journey @Endeavour_MediaA Single Journey: A moving story of love, loyalty and long-lost family by Frankie McGowan
on February 4 2018
Genres: Mystery, Fiction
Pages: 364
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Harriet has begun to despair of her life.

With a failed relationship behind her, a business on the rocks and a flat that’s falling apart around her ears, she could really use some luck.

Elena Banbury, née Guseva, an elderly but imposing Russian woman who is Harriet’s neighbour and landlady, frequently entertains the punters at Harriet’s jewellery stall with tales of the palaces of St. Petersburg and the treasures of Fabergé. But Harriet sometimes feels, guiltily, that she could do without the endless errands that seem to fall to her as Elena’s friend.

Then, unexpectedly, when Elena dies, she leaves all her worldly goods to a grateful Harriet. In time, however, it becomes clear that others are shocked by Harriet’s good luck, too. Shocked... and very, very unhappy.

Challenged in court by Elena’s family who live in Berlin, Harriet is forced to give up her inheritance and long-dreamed-of plans for a new business, and start her life again. But with her reputation in tatters and the memory of Elena tainted, Harriet knows a great injustice has been done.

Against the advice of her friends, family and lawyers, Harriet sets off on her own, very singular journey to Berlin.

In the weeks that follow she meets rich and poor, the glamorous and the criminal, the honest and the secretive, and begins to see that perhaps she has something to learn from them all. Something to learn about herself, and something to learn about her priorities.

She knows she has to fight for justice. But, when she meets the scholarly, perceptive Neil, who generously tries to help Harriet in her mission, but who is struggling with a complicated marriage, she must also decide if she’ll fight for love, too.

A Single Journey is a compelling and lively story, combining colourful characters with a page-turning plot and romantic highs and lows.

So today I am delighted to share with you a guest post from Frankie about the why Berlin is used in the novel. Enjoy! 

Why Berlin?

It’s not where I got the idea for A Single Journey, but a visit to Berlin shifted the focus of the plot considerably. That began when I read about a court case in England of a rich, feuding family who claimed the youngest sister had coerced their grandmother into leaving her the lot. Sounded like a plot, but there the idea stayed, me not quite knowing where to go with it, until a long while later I happened to be in Berlin visiting Peter, my husband. Being in the film industry, he tends to be on location a lot, and for all kinds of reasons the unexpectedness of that incredible city gave A Single Journey a prod.

One morning having coffee with an American friend in Hackesche Höfe, a charming series of linked courtyard cafes on Rosenthaler Strasse in Mitte (you should go if you’re ever there), filled with pretty shops and cafes, is where the book found a shape. While history had taught me about the horrors of the Nazi regime, women left to the mercy of a marauding Russian army, I knew very little about the way the Nazi’s had stopped the increasing freedom women had begun to enjoy before 1933. Education, professions, the arts, all stopped, and women were made to become, as Hitler saw it, housewives and nothing else. My friend who was visiting at the same time told me that in 1934, her great aunt had managed a dress shop not far from where we were sitting. But while she was the brains and had her money behind it, that hideous regime did not permit her to actually own it. A male relative had to sponsor her.

Luckily my friend had a photograph of another relative standing outside the little shop, so I had an idea of what it was like, but the entire area had been extensively bombed and all trace of the shop and the street is gone. But it’s where I decided that Valentina – Elena’s mother – had her business, sponsored by her friend Max, and where Elena grew up. Decades later, when in A Single Journey Harriet arrives in Berlin, Hackesche Höfe is where I fixed it for Harriet to have a drink with Neil Charlton, the scholarly professor on secondment to Humboldt University who helped her unravel why Elena’s relatives were so keen to get her stuff back.

Follow the rest of the tour here

About Frankie McGowan

My career began on teenage magazines before joining Fleet Street writing features for among others, The Sunday Times, The Times, The Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror (where I was an assistant editor and columnist).

Later as a magazine editor and while bringing up Tom and Amy, my now grown up children I launched and edited New Woman and Top Sante before switching to writing the first of my novels. My short stories have been published in a variety of magazines, including You, (Mail on Sunday) Women’s Own, Home and Life, Image (Ireland), Redbook (US) The Lady and Woman’s Weekly.

More recently I was asked to adapt two of my novels, A Kept Woman and A Better Life into screenplays. All my novels have reached the top twenty on Amazon which is the best feeling ever for any writer, but this year two of them, A Kept Woman and The Italian Lesson, both went to Number One in Australia for which I was thrilled and grateful to all those lovely people who bought them.

I am currently working on a new novel – well, I say working on it, what I mean is I’ve got a title for it, A Short Break – and the name of the heroine so all I need now is to try not to lose the plot


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