How A Chocolate Box Full Of Letters Inspired This Love Story Set In The Second World War 4

#Iamwriting Delighted to announce that I have just finished the final edit of my novel, The Very White Of Love. It will be published in June 2018 by Harper Collins imprint.

                                    H2 How I Found The Chocolate Box

As I was sorting through my mother’s possessions after her death in 2005, I found a battered, cardboard chocolate box at the bottom of her wardrobe. It was decorated with red roses and tied with a piece of red ribbon. Inside, I found bundles of faded love letters, tightly bound with string and fastened with tiny knots.

                                     H3 The Love Story In the Letters

The letters were NOT from my father, but from my mother’s fiancé, Martin Preston, the nephew of the poet, Robert Graves. They met in Buckinghamshire during the summer vacation in 1938 and fell madly in love. But with the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Martin enlisted with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. He then travelled to northern France in January 1940 with the British Expeditionary Force, in the run-up to Dunkirk. He never returned.

                                        H4 A Mystery Photograph

I had always known of Martin’s existence. Right up to her death under the glass on her dressing table, next to pictures of my father and her three children, she kept a faded photograph of Martin. It showed him sitting on a bench in Oxford, in a cricket blazer, his thick, brown hair swept back off his forehead.

                                      H5 Unanswered Questions

My mother had never spoken much about the story of her love affair with Martin. Who was this dreamy-looking, young man, who looked up at us from under the glass? What happened to him? What was his -and their – story? The more I read his letters to my mother, the more I wanted to find out ….


About sworrall

Writer with @Natgeo; author of The Poet and The Murderer; and the forthcoming Starcrossed: A Romeo And Juliet Story in Hitler's Paris (2022)

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