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A Long Shadow by Caroline Kington - Book Tour + Giveaway

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A Long Shadow

When farmer Dan Maddicott is found shot dead in one of his fields, he leaves behind a young family and a farm deep in debt. Although the coroner records accidental death, village rumours suggest he has taken his own life so that the insurance payout can save his family from ruin.

Dan’s wife, Kate, refuses to believe the gossip and is determined to prove to herself, and her children, that his death was an accident. But could it have been murder? Kate discovers a set of old diaries containing secrets that may reveal how Dan really died.
Set against the backdrop of the farming crisis of the turn of the millennium, Caroline Kington’s absorbing family drama also tells the secret history of another resident of the farm, decades before, whose tragic tale will come to have major repercussions in the present day.
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A Long Shadow is a multi-layered saga, set against the backdrop of the countryside under siege.
Watersmeet, a prosperous West Country farm, belongs to the Maddicott family. At the wedding of his cousin, Mary, in 1990, Dan Maddicott meets Kate. They marry and have two children, but their happiness and prosperity are threatened by the arrival of BSE and foot-and-mouth disease.
Then Dan is found dead. Was it suicide? All the circumstances point to that conclusion. Kate faces two seemingly impossible tasks: how to prove it was an accident and how, when faced with many obstacles and prejudices, to take over the farm herself.
A series of potentially fatal incidents occur, which appear to target Kate.  But why?
There are many inter-weaving threads to this haunting story, which finally pull together to complete the conundrum.
It begins in 1943. A pregnant young girl falls into the clutches of the Leaches, tenant farmers with a deep grudge against the Maddicotts.

SUSAN 1943
Susan Norris lay on her narrow bed, her heart thumping so fast she could hardly breathe. She was not a brave girl, but desperation had led her to find a degree of courage and a determination that would have surprised her mother, had she been alive to care. Her body was treacherous with fatigue and she was afraid of falling asleep and once asleep, not waking till the morning reveille. Inside her coat, she shivered with fear.
It was cold in the dormitory. The blankets on the beds were meagre and many of the girls disobeyed the rules and wore overcoats over the thin, regulation nightdresses. They were not afforded the luxury of dressing gowns but as a consequence of the night raids, their coats were hung next to the lockers in case they had to take refuge in the shelters.
Those lockers contained all the possessions they were allowed to bring to Exmoor House. These were minimal and included a change of clothing for their eventual release, a face flannel, a hairbrush, a purse, which was emptied when they arrived, and a family photograph, although photographs of single men were expressly forbidden.
Susan had already packed her possessions in a small bag and concealed it under her pillow. It was so pitiably little it didn’t make much of a bulge, but Susan had her heart in her mouth when Matron made an inspection of the dormitory before bidding them good night. Susan was also fully dressed, but wrapping her coat tightly around her as she slipped from the lavatory to her bed, nobody had noticed.
As the minutes ticked slowly by and the room grew quieter, Susan prayed hard there would be no air raid that night. Not that she had any great faith in God. He hadn’t listened to her when, at the age of seven, she had prayed that her Mother wouldn’t die, or at the age of nine when she had prayed for her Father not to marry the hard–faced woman he had brought in to replace her mother; nor had He heard her when the telegram came reporting her father missing in action; nor when Franklin’s regiment left overnight; nor when her period hadn’t come. If there were an air raid, it would be difficult for her to slip away as she intended. The girls would be counted in and counted out of the shelter and if she was not there, the hunt would begin immediately and she would be brought back and punished. 
Exmoor House was originally a workhouse. Part of the old stone building was used to provide shelter for the elderly too poor or infirm to take care of themselves. Faced with increasing numbers of young, unmarried, pregnant girls, particularly since the stationing of US troops in the West Country, another wing had been opened and girls were referred there from all over the region.
 As if to punish them for their transgression, life in the mother and baby hostel was one long ordeal. Kept there for the six weeks up to the birth of their children, the girls worked long, hard days, scrubbing floors and staircases, washing, ironing and cooking for themselves and for the old folk. There were few enough privileges and these were removed at the slightest sign of insolence or misbehaviour. A pitiful wage was paid for the work they did but this was kept by the moral welfare worker responsible for them until their release, unless, of course, they lost it in fines in the interim.
After childbirth, their tasks become less onerous, being more related to the care and cleanliness of the nursery than the old folks. At six weeks, having loved, cared, and nurtured their little ones through the most vulnerable period of their lives, the girls were expected to hand the babies over for adoption.


Author Bio
Caroline Kington spent most of her working life in theatre and television, as a director, producer and founder of the fringe theatre company Antidote Theatre.
Since the death of her husband Miles Kington, the columnist and broadcaster, she has posthumously published three of his books: a humorous memoir of his illness, called How Shall I Tell the Dog?; a collection of his columns and other writings, The Best By Miles; and a collection of his celebrated ‘Franglais’ columns that had not appeared in book form before, Le Bumper Book of Franglais.
In her own right, she is the author of the Summerstoke trilogy of rural comedies. She insists that no character in the series is based on anybody from the small village near Bath where she has lived for many years. Nobody believes her.
Her novel A Long Shadow had its origins in a feature she made for Channel 4 News at the turn of this century about the pressures on farmers as a result of BSE and foot-and-mouth disease.
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Giveaway to Win 5 x PB copies of A Long Shadow (UK Only)
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