Having had time to think about what I write and why, I suppose I write about strong women because the time I set the stories in needed them. The wives of naval officers often had to fend for themselves for months years, even, and unless they were married to wealthy men it was a hard time. So they made the best of their lot and often took a ‘companion’, after all nothing wrong in two women being together, it was safer than one on her own.
There is a lot tut tutting and harrumphing around today, but you have to remember that this was in the 1700/1800’s before the Victorians gave us morals, about what the ordinary people could and couldn’t do. However, they carried on just as before enjoying themselves whilst dictating to everyone else. So what Claudia gets up to in A Soldiers Wind and A Bengal Poppy is nothing new, it’s just not talked about today yet it still happens.
London and the East End
Now Stanley is a slightly different kettle of fish. This is the story of a man born and raised by his mother who happens to be a prostitute. Not the sort with a ‘golden heart’ believe me Diane was a cold ruthless woman, if she wanted something then she got it no matter what. Killing during the war she learnt the rudiments of life, money and property was what would give her and her precious son Stanley a home and security, that and nothing else so she set out to own both.
So she set up a ‘Escort Business’ supplying clean, healthy young girls as companions for the rich, nothing new there but she was the first to do it. Again a strong woman, who knew what she wanted and got it, with the protection of her son. Once again there is the social relationship between mother, son, and the girls, everybody looking after each other, that’s how it was in certain circles of society in the East-end. You might not like the idea of his life but you must remember that was then not today things were very different for some people just after the war. Also remember not everything is about the Krays or other mobsters, they were the ones who made the headlines yes, but others like Stanley, kept under the radar and for good reasons.
So when you see the cover of A Soldiers Wind or An East-end Boy don’t expect the usual gangster or naval adventure, read the books and think of yourself in those days, no television, no wifi, and ask the question if you were rich or lived in the same circumstances, what would you do for relaxation?? Then perhaps you will understand the stories better and see the social points I am making, women had to be strong or they didn’t survive..
These are books aimed at women, yes there is sex and often violence (but not against women) there is also the steamier side to life mixed in. But it’s how the heroines survive as they pick their way through their lives, I know how Gillian survived but read the stories to find out for yourselves.
(c) M D Bosc – Author