I’m wrapping up today’s Historical Saturday with another historical review. “The Mountains Between” by Julie McGowan is a moving and gripping historical novel in three parts: 1929, 1939 and 1946. It details the hardships before, during and after World War 2 for two families in South Wales but also shows the specific circumstances of farming and mining communities at the time.
Human drama, heartaches, love, war, separation and local flair feature in what is a family drama as well as an excellent account of the area and the period.
The characters are well drawn and their stories really got to me. I take a personal interest in the area and loved reading about its history. The book feels very authentic throughout and left me feeling enriched and thoughtful for some time after I put it down.
Very recommended reading.
Julie has been a successful short story writer for magazines and competitions for two decades, in between writing 4 novels, pantomime scripts, songs and scripts for adult and children’s drama productions, and features for national and regional newspapers and magazines.
Her working life began as a nurse and health visitor, and she undertook a range of occupations whilst bringing up her four children, from being matron at schools where her husband was headmaster, to being Town Clerk in her home town of Usk in South Wales, teaching piano, and running a successful drama company with her daughter, which she continues to do.
Julie’s first novel, ‘The Mountains Between’ is set in her beloved Monmouthshire, telling the story of two very different families living each side of the Blorenge mountain during the difficult years between 1929 and 1949. It has been a regional bestseller.
Her second novel, ‘Just One More Summer’ is a modern story set in Cornwall and London, and, as well as being popular in this country, is now being published for the German market by a Random House imprint.
Julie returned to wartime South Wales with her third novel, ‘Don’t Pass Me By’ which tells the heartrending story of a group of evacuees sent to a remote Welsh village.
In recent years Julie has become something of a campaigner, successfully heading a protest group to save the local library, and organising a 100,000 strong petition for better cancer treatment in Wales. Her passion for people informs her fiction writing, and her interest in health and social issues triggers much of her non-fiction writing.
In her spare time, as well as reading and gardening, Julie loves spending time with her family and her ever-growing band of grandchildren, and playing tennis.
She also enjoys giving talks about her books and writing to a diverse range of organisations and running writing or drama workshops at festivals.
If you would like to know more about her writing, or to invite her to speak at a gathering, take a look at her website: http://www.juliemcgowan.com, or email Julie on firstname.lastname@example.org – she would love to hear from you!
All books by Julie McGowan are available from W H Smith and Waterstones – to order if they are not on the shelves – and can be ordered from all bookstores.
They are also available on Amazon & as Kindle/e-books