Monday, February 28, 2022

Love in a Time of War by Adrienne Chinn - Book Tour

Love in a Time of War

Three sisters

The Great War

The end of innocence…

In 1913, in a quiet corner of London, the three Fry sisters are coming of age, dreaming of all the possibilities the bright future offers. But when war erupts their innocence is shattered and a new era of uncertainty begins.

Cecelia loves Max but his soldier’s uniform is German, not British, and suddenly the one man she loves is the one man she can’t have.

Jessie enlists in the army as a nurse and finally finds the adventure she’s craved when she’s sent to Gallipoli and Egypt, but it comes with an unimaginable cost.

Etta elopes to Capri with her Italian love, Carlo, but though her growing bump is real, her marriage certificate is a lie.

As the three sisters embark on journeys they never could have imagined, their mother Christina worries about the harsh new realities they face, and what their exposure to the wider world means for the secrets she’s been keeping…


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The following extract from Love in a Time of War follows the middle sister, Jessie Fry, as she joins the hospital ship she's been assigned to at the Port of Alexandria in Egypt, which is heading out to tend the wounded from the campaign raging against the Turks and Germans at Gallipoli during World War I. Much to her mother's disapproval, Jessie has signed up to become a nurse for the British Army, and this is her first posting abroad. In this scene she meets a young Australian nurse named Ivy Roach who will become a good friend. She also muses about how beautiful and peaceful the voyage in the Mediterranean Sea from Egypt, past the Greek and Turkish islands is, and justifies her disapproval of her sister Celie's relationship with a German soldier named Max.

Port Of Alexandria, Egypt – July 1915

The HMHS Letitia sits alongside the dock, dwarfed by the grey-painted hulks of battleships being loaded with sacks of provisions and ammunition from the railway trolleys on the supply line which runs along the Port of Alexandria. Horses stand patiently queuing in the burning sun, flicking at flies with their long tails as they await their turns to embark for the Gallipoli peninsula on the eastern Turkish coast.

            Jessie picks up her new leather suitcase – a parting gift from her parents – and, adjusting her straw hat, hastens past the horses and the crowds of raucous Australian and New Zealand soldiers toward the large white hospital ship with green crosses painted along its hull. She steps onto the wooden gangway, and, with one last backward glance at the teeming port, heads up onto the ship.


‘Lovely, isn’t it? Ya’d nevva know there’s a war on, would ya?’

            Jessie looks over at the plump young brunette nurse who has joined her at the ship’s railing. She has a wide, high-cheeked face and mud brown eyes, and she wears the short scarlet cape and grey cotton dress of the Australian Army Nursing Service.

Jessie nods. ‘All these islands with their charming fishing villages, and this turquoise sea … it’s all so idyllic.’ She smiles and extends her hand. ‘I’m Jessie Fry, with the Queen Alexandra’s.’

‘Ivy Roach, AANS. Yeah, like the cockroach.’ The girl brushes her flapping white nurse’s veil out of her eyes. ‘I’m thinkin’ of changin’ it to de la Roche. Nice ring to it, don’t ya think? Couldn’t do it when I lived at home, of course. Pa’d have a fit. Now I’m out here, I reckon I can do what I like. Ivy de la Roche, that’s the new me.’

            ‘Were you a nurse in Australia before the war?’

            ‘Yeah. At the Royal Melbourne. Did a bit of everythin’ there. Still, when the chance came to head outta Australia, I jumped at it. I’ve been to Malta and Cairo already. Had a ride on a camel to the pyramids. I highly recommend that, though you’ll be battin’ off blokes runnin’ after ya sellin’ tat all the way to the Sphinx.’

            ‘I’d love to see the Sphinx. We had a stopover in Malta for a day on our way down from England. I had an ice-cream in the Barrakka Gardens. It was lovely. I’ve always wanted to get out of Britain and see the world.’

            Ivy looks out at the craggy coastline of yet another sun-drenched island. ‘Yeah. Shame it has to be under these circumstances. I met a nurse at the pyramids who’d just been transferred to the hospital at Abbassia, just outside of Cairo. She’d been on the HMHS Assaye for four months. Said Gallipoli was an awful place. Said she scratched herself raw from the fleas and crawlers that came ovva from the mainland with the wounded.’

            ‘I brought lye soap, just in case. My matron was a nurse in the Boer War. She warned me about fleas and lice.’

            Ivy’s face breaks into a toothy grin. ‘Why didn’t I think of that? You’ll be the most popular nurse on the ship. Dibs on bein’ your best mate.’

            Jessie laughs. ‘Sure.’

            ‘I’m gonna head down to the mess for some tea. Do ya wanna come?’

            ‘Not just now, thanks.’

            ‘Sure thing. Catch ya later.’

            Jessie watches Ivy march down the deck and disappear through a doorway into the ship’s mess. She turns back to the view of the island slipping quickly past the port side of the ship. The blue-green waves ripple and crest in the gentle breeze, and a small bright blue fishing boat comes into view. Jessie waves at the two fishermen and they wave back. She has no idea if they are Greeks or Turks.

            She grasps hold of the white metal railing as the ship lurches over a wave. What if they were Turks? The Turks who were even now blowing the British, Australians, New Zealanders and Newfoundlanders to pieces down the Turkish coast at Gallipoli? It wouldn’t do to think about it. Life is easier if you keep an eye on the line in the sand. There’s our side, and there’s the enemy side. Us and them. Celie would do well to understand that. Max is on the enemy side.


Author Bio –

Adrienne Chinn was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, grew up in Quebec, and eventually made her way to London, England after a career as a journalist. In England she worked as a TV and film researcher before embarking on a career as an interior designer, lecturer, and writer. When not up a ladder or at the computer writing, she often can be found rummaging through flea markets or haggling in the Marrakech souk. Her second novel, The English Wife -- a timeslip story set in World War II England and contemporary Newfoundland -- was published in June 2020 and has become an international bestseller. Her debut novel, The Lost Letter from Morocco, was published by Avon Books UK in 2019. Her latest novel, Love in a Time of War, set during WWI, is the first in a series of three books based around the changing lives of three English sisters and their half-Italian mother, with a timeslip to 1890s Capri and London.


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