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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘Remembrance Day’ By Leah Fleming

August 1913

It was just another Yorkshire afternoon in high summer with nothing to mark it out as a day that would change their lives forever. The young Bartley brood had done their Saturday chores in the morning heat, watered the horses waiting to be shod under the shade of a clump of elderberry trees in the paddock behind the forge. Newton and Frankland, their broad shoulders tanned like leather, were pumping water from the well into the slate tank at the back of the yard for Father’s wash in the zinc tub. It was time for his Bible class preparation. Asa Bartley never liked to touch the Holy Book with his blacksmith’s rusty fingers.

Selma, his young daughter, made her usual rounds of the village shops with her mother’s wicker basket: off-cuts for stew from Stan, the butcher, soda crystal for Monday’s wash tub from Mrs. Marchbank at the C0-op, stopping to chat with neighbours taking advantage of the end of their shift at the cotton mill, and picking up a second-hand copy of the local Gazette. It was one of the hottest afternoons in the whole summer. Doors were open wide onto the street with strips of beaded rope pinned over the lintels, waving in the breeze to discourage the flies, windows propped up with bedding hanging out to bleach in the sunshine, stools set outside in the shade to catch passers-by for crumbs of gossip. Dogs panted in the shade and the forge cat, Jezebel, was curled up under a hedge.

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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Katherine,

      The scene is so serene and ordinary, that it is difficult to see what impending event is set to shatter the peace and change things so irrevocably, especially as it is still almost a whole year until the outbreak of World War I, around which backdrop the events of the story are set to unfold.

      “Asa Bartley never liked to touch the Holy Book with his blacksmith’s rusty fingers.”

      Are my favourite words from the opening passage, as they just say so much about the man!

      Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your weekend 🙂

    • Hi Bev,

      I have read a couple of Leah Fleming books now and I really enjoy the descriptive narrative, which seems to come so naturally to her. It always evokes a real sense of time and place.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I always appreciate it 🙂

  • I agree with the comment above – the descriptions are wonderful and I can totally picture the scene!

    I’m STILL reading Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, so nothing for me to share this time.

    • Hi Kelly,

      I’m not really sure where this opening passage is heading yet, as we are still several months off the outbreak of World War One, although judging by the cover, that’s where the storyline is heading.

      It was a genuine coincidence that I chose to share this post on Friday 1st July, as the date marks the centenary of the start of one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War, the Battle Of The Somme. There were services of remembrance all over the UK, for the 57,470 British casualties, of which 19,240 men were killed, in just the first day of the offensive.

      Getting a little patriotic for a moment, this was one of the most poignant images of the day, supplied by people local to where I live, which makes me even more proud…


      I’m not surprised that you are still going strong with ‘Gone With The Wind’, I think you are up for a challenge by even contemplating it. I know I would have bitten off more than I could chew and would probably have abandoned all hope by now!

      I hope that summer has arrived where you are, as here it is still more like autumn weather and just about everyone is getting tired of it 🙂

      • That display with the shroud figurines is so impressive and thought provoking. Thanks for sharing it. I actually read another blog post yesterday talking about the 100th anniversary of the battle. My WWI knowledge is sketchier than with other wars, but regardless… deaths in numbers like that are mind-boggling. We seem to lose the fact that these statistics represent real people – fathers, sons, husbands, brothers. So sad.

        • And yet we keep on doing the same thing over and over again, only these days it might also be mothers, daughters, wives and sisters we lose.

          The human race seems to have this inbuilt self-destruct wish for both itself and the planet – Perhaps it is all simply part of the cycle of life plan, which has been predestined for us!

    • Hi Maria,

      Leah Fleming has written several novels set amid the backdrop of both World Wars and has managed to achieve an impressive and complimentary library of cover art to accompany the stories. They look great when viewed together on a single page …


      I’m not too much of a cover junkie myself, however I do appreciate a suite of good cover art which is eye-catching and ‘tidy’ looking!

      Thanks for stopping by, it is always good to read your comments and I hope that you enjoy your weekend 🙂

Written by Yvonne