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Authors: Tim Vicary

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Historical, #Literary, #Historical Fiction, #British, #Irish, #Literary Fiction, #British & Irish

Women of Courage

BOOK: Women of Courage
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First published as an ebook by White Owl Publications Ltd 2015

Copyright Tim Vicary 2015

This book is copyright under the Berne Convention

No reproduction without permission

All rights reserved.

The right of Tim Vicary to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988

Other e-books by Tim Vicary

Historical Novels

Nobody’s Slave

Amazon US
   
Amazon UK

Crime and Legal Thrillers

A Game of Proof

(The Trials of Sarah Newby, book 1)

Amazon US
   
Amazon UK

A Fatal Verdict

(The Trials of Sarah Newby, book 2)

Amazon US
   
Amazon UK

Bold Counsel

(The Trials of Sarah Newby, book 3)

Amazon US
   
Amazon UK

Website:
timvicary.com

Blog:
http://timvicary.wordpress.com

Twitter:
@TimVicary

Women of Courage - Foreword

These three novels are very different but they have one thing in common: they are all about women who lived through dramatic periods in history, and showed great courage in fighting for what they believed to be right. All three books are works of fiction, but they are all based on careful historical research. Most of the historical events in them really did happen, more or less exactly as I describe. So although my three heroines - Sarah Becket, Catherine O’Connell-Gort, and Ann Carter - are creatures of my imagination, I think it’s fair to claim that real women very similar to them really did face such difficult and dangerous choices, and behaved very much as they did.

Sarah Becket, for example, in
Cat & Mouse
, does many of the things that British suffragettes actually did in their struggle for the Vote, and suffers just like them; and in the same book her sister, Deborah, is involved in a conspiracy that very nearly plunged Britain and Ireland into a civil war in 1914. In
The Blood Upon the Rose
, set five years later, the young medical student Catherine O’Connell-Gort finds herself at the heart of the terrible and heart-breaking events which led to British and Irish people murdering each other in the names of loyalty or freedom; she has to choose which side to support. And in
The Monmouth Summer
, set 240 years earlier, Ann Carter, too, is caught up in a religious struggle for power which tears her family apart and tests her - and her father’s - courage, facing them with dreadful, shattering decisions which alter their lives forever.

But these historical events really happened, and women very like Sarah, Catherine, and Ann, actually lived through them; which is what led me to imagine, if I could, how they really looked and felt and acted, and to tell their stories as well as I could.

Thank you for buying these books (if you have) You can read them in any order; start where you like. I hope you enjoy them, and that the characters seem as real to you as they did to me when I was writing.

Tim Vicary. York, England. January 2015.

Table of Contents

Women of Courage - Foreword

Cat & Mouse

The Blood Upon the Rose

The Monmouth Summer

About the Author

Other books by Tim Vicary

First published as an ebook by White Owl Publications Ltd 2012

Copyright Tim Vicary 2012

ISBN 978-0-9571698-6-9

This book is copyright under the Berne Convention

No reproduction without permission

All rights reserved.

First published in Great Britain by Simon & Shuster Ltd in 1993

Copyright Tim Vicary 1993

First Published in Great Britain by Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Shuster 1993

The right of Tim Vicary to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988

Cat & Mouse Contents

Author’s Note

PART ONE: Sarah

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

PART TWO: Deborah

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

PART THREE: London

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

PART FOUR: Holloway

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

PART FIVE: Glenfee

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Author’s Note

Anyone well acquainted with the history of the suffragette movement will know that the action described in the first chapter of this novel was in reality performed by the suffragette Mary Richardson on 10 March 1914. It seemed to me such an unusually striking and symbolic act that I have taken the liberty of borrowing it, and slightly changing the date, for the purpose of my story. My character Sarah Becket, however, is entirely fictional and intended to bear no other resemblance whatsoever to the real historical character Mary Richardson.

At exactly the same time as women were being imprisoned for demanding the vote, many influential men were strongly opposed to the government’s policy of giving Ireland Home Rule. They felt that a Home Rule Parliament in Dublin, with a Catholic majority, would be a dagger blow to the heart of the British Empire. The Ulster Unionists regarded themselves as staunchly loyal to the King and Empire. They formed an army — the Ulster Volunteer Force — which threatened the United Kingdom with civil war unless Ulster, the north-eastern province of Ireland, was excluded from the Home Rule bill.

Unlike the suffragettes, none of these men was ever arrested for this open defiance of Parliament, and their protest was largely successful.

Like the eternal war between women and men, the results of that protest remain with us today.

‘The real cure of the great plague is a two-fold one – Votes for Women … and chastity for men.’

Christabel Pankhurst

The Great Scourge and How to End It, 1913.

‘It is reasonable to assume that Germany had secret agents in Ulster in 1914.’

ATQ Stewart

The Ulster Crisis, 1967.

PART ONE

Sarah

1

‘L
OOK OUT! Oh, sorry, ma’am, never saw yer.’

‘What? Who are you — oh, I see. It doesn’t matter.’

‘Beg pardon, ma’am. I’m sure.’ The two coster boys, grubby and boisterous in their flat caps and ragged, oversize jackets, scurried away across the square. As they went they winked and grinned at each other, knowing they had made a discovery. They were connoisseurs of street life and there was something about the woman that drew their attention. A few yards away they glanced back over their shoulders to make sure, and then, their suspicions confirmed, parked themselves calmly under one of the great lions of Trafalgar Square to watch. One of them shied a pebble at the pigeons as they waited.

There was nothing particularly strange about the appearance of the woman. She was fairly tall, about five foot eight perhaps, and quite slim. Between thirty and thirty-five years old. She wore a long grey ankle-length skirt belted at the waist, with a pleated jacket with puffed sleeves above, over a white blouse buttoned up to her chin. On her head was a hat with red and yellow feathers in it. Nothing unusual about that — they were the clothes of a respectable, well-dressed lady — perhaps even a rich one, for the fur of the muff she held in front of her to warm her hands in was expensive, thick and ostentatious. The muff was rather odd though, because it was a fresh, sunny day in April, and she had not chosen to wear a coat.

But it was the look on her face that had struck the boys. When they had bumped into her she had, at first, stared right through them, then started away as though they were trying to attack her. The woman’s face was pale, white as a cloud, the eyes in it burning like coals. An attractive face perhaps, with smooth skin and soft curling brown hair, but that was not what interested the boys. It was the haunted look that riveted them, the idea that she might be a ghost, a woman who scarcely knew where she was.

‘What d’yer reckon?’ the elder boy asked, taking a bite from an apple which he had purloined from a grocery stall in Charing Cross. The odd behaviour of the woman was all part of the joy of observing the eccentricities of the rich. ‘Going to kill herself, maybe?’

He glanced hopefully at the motor omnibus which was trundling towards them at nearly ten miles an hour, a few feet from the pavement where the woman stood.

‘Dunno,’ his mate said, judiciously. ‘Be as good as that, anyhow. You wait and see.’

The other curious thing about the woman was that she stood absolutely still. All about her was movement. Nannies stood by their perambulators talking while their charges cooed at the sky or toddled across Trafalgar Square in pursuit of the pigeons. Amongst them passed office boys, servant girls, city gents in top hats and striped trousers hurrying to get somewhere. The street in front of her was thronged with motor omnibuses, hansom cabs, horsedrawn delivery wagons, and messenger boys on bicycles. All of them hooted, shouted, and jangled past each other. The woman seemed to stare right through them, intent on some vision only apparent to herself. In the whole square, she and the boys were the only living creatures that did not move.

BOOK: Women of Courage
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