On Tuesday, January 17th at 4:00pm PST Warwick's will host Maggie Brookes as she discusses her new book, Acts of Love and War, in conversation with Rachel McMillan. Maggie Brookes is an ex-journalist and BBC historical documentary producer turned poet and novelist. She was an Associate Professor at Middlesex University, London, where she taught creative writing for thirty years. She was also an advisory fellow for the Royal Literary Fund. Her debut novel, The Prisoner's Wife, a tale of love and resilience during World War II, was published in May 2020. Maggie Brookes lives with her husband in London in the UK.
1936. Twenty-one-year-old Lucy is frustrated with her constrained life in Hertfordshire, teaching and keeping house for her domineering father. But she is happy to be living next door to Tom and Jamie, two brothers she has known since childhood, and whom she loves equally.
But everyone's lives are turned upside down when Tom, the younger, decides to join the Republican cause in the bloody war in Spain. His older, fervently Catholic brother Jamie soon follows - but as a reporter for the opposing forces that support General Franco in keeping Spain rigidly authoritarian, with the help of both Hitler and Mussolini.
Lucy decides the only way to ensure the brothers' safety is to defy her father and travel to Spain herself and persuade them to come home. Yet when she sees the horrific effects of the war on the people - especially the children - she quickly joins the lifesaving work of the Quaker volunteers who have arrived from almost as many countries as have the International Brigades of fighters. Lucy knows that both brothers are in love with her; she herself is deeply torn between them.
The atrocities and casualties mount and Lucy knows that the question of which man she might spend her life with might be irrelevent, as the chances of either of them surviving diminish with every passing day.
This meticulously researched, deeply affecting novel is based on real memoirs of the Spanish Civil War. It is both a love story and a tribute to the remarkable women who fought with compassion and bravery to save the innocent victims of a war that was a foretaste of the carnage soon to come in World War II.
Rachel McMillan is the author of The Herringford and Watts mysteries, The Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries, The Three Quarter Time series of contemporary Viennese romances, and, most recently, The Mozart Code. She is also the author of Dream, Plan, Go: A Travel Guide to Inspire Independent Adventure. Rachel lives in Toronto, Canada.