Liz Trenow’s family have been silk weavers for nearly three hundred years, and she grew up next to the mill in Sudbury, Suffolk, which is the oldest family-owned silk company in Britain and one of just three still operating today. Liz has had a long career as a journalist with regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news. The Last Telegram is her first novel, and is proving highly successful. The novel is shortlisted for the 2013 RoNAs, presented by the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Liz spoke about her debut novel The Last Telegram (September 2012) a story woven around wartime silk production in which she captures the beauty of the East Anglian countryside as well as the challenges faced by rural workers during the Second World War.
As I walk ever more falteringly through the hallways, echoes of my life –mundane and strange, joyful and dreadful – are like shadows, always there, following my footsteps. Now that he is gone, I am determined to make a new start. No more guilt and heart-searching. No more “what-ifs”. I need to make the most of the few more years that may be granted me
Sixty years ago, in the darkest days of the Second World War, Lily Verner made a terrible mistake that, she believed, led to tragic consequences. Now recently widowed, Lily decides to pack up the house she has lived in for 80 years. As she does so, long-buried memories start to emerge: of how she reluctantly became a silk weaver, of her passionate but forbidden affair with a Jewish refugee, of the woman who loved her, and how she found herself in charge of producing vital wartime supplies of parachute silk. Now in failing health, she is forced to confront the events that have haunted her all these years.
As the Nazis storm Europe, Lily becomes an apprentice at her family’s silk weaving factory. When they start to weave parachute silk there is no margin for error: one tiny fault could result in certain death for Allied soldiers.
The war also brings Stefan to Lily: a German Jewish refugee who works on the looms. As their love grows, there are suspicions someone is tampering with the silk.
Can their love survive the hardships of war? And will Verner’s silk stand the ultimate test?
You can read her entertaining blog at: http://liztrenow.com/blog-2/