The year is 1887. In a decaying country house Mary Ann Sate, an elderly maid servant, nurses Mr Cottrell, a man she knew well in her youth. Mr Cottrell does not have long to live and so asks Mary Ann to write down the story of his brother, Ned, who fought for The People’s Charter and for improved wages in the textile mills of the Stroud Valleys.
But as soon as Mary Ann begins to write, anger takes control of her pen. Which story should she write? Maybe it is time for the truth about the Cottrell brothers to be told. As Mary Ann unravels the knots of the past, she comes to see how her love for the brothers destroyed the life she might have had.
Should she now avenge the dead? Or can the mere power of her faltering pen enable her to reclaim her own truth?
Once the initial subscription has been raised then Alice's share of the profits (50% of every book sold) will go to Emmaus - a charity who support homeless people in Gloucestershire and are part of a federation of 350 organisations in 37 countries around the world.
The Emmaus website is here.
If you tell a story oft enough
So it become true
Words like the twisting grain of wood
Or the course of a slow running river
Have ways they must evr go
Who might I be to wield the axe cross the grain
Or try to untwist the flow of water
Yet I take up this my pen
To set down here my story
Bone blood brain
What does a soul look like
If you write him on paper
Yes soil also how may he be held
Within this fragile mesh of words
Yet so tis certain
Soil hisself must find his tongue
My story being but one speck of grit
In the swelling ballad of these valleys
Oh how I do love to see them once again
The light brush cross their emerald edges
As the sun bloom and wither day on day
Soil soul and sin too
Soon all one
The hours hurry at my shoulder
The words will not wait
Yea these valleys were my beginning
I come here first on the black ridge of the night
A coach tumbling falling many clattering mile
I know nothing afore
I sit on the back next a basket of chickens
The coach roll and pitch stars unspool behind me
Through a banner of black
The coach cut through all
Chickens screaming feathers poking out
Through the thick twist basket weave
My hand numb as I grip tight head nodding
Not a house a tree a man a beast or a devil
Only the road
Slap of the horses hooves creak of a wheel
Tear and drag of a wind
Tips and tussles distant trees
Til sudden the coach falls forward into Stillness
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