Spotlight on In Another Time (Caroline Leech) Plus Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!
Today we're spotlighting Caroline Leech's novel, In Another Time!
Read on for more about Caroline and her novel, plus a exclusive excerpt, and giveaway!
Meet Caroline Leech !
Caroline Leech is a Scottish writer who moved to Texas for an adventure in 2007. Her debut novel for young adults, WAIT FOR ME, was published in the USA and UK by Harper Collins in early 2017, and IN ANOTHER TIME will be published in August 2018. Both books are set in Scotland during World War Two. WAIT FOR ME tells the story of a girl’s friendship with a German prisoner of war who is sent to work on her father’s farm, and IN ANOTHER TIME follows a teenage girl as she joins the lumberjills of the Women’s Timber Corps. Caroline’s previous career in public relations in the United Kingdom was working with performing arts companies and culminated with her editing a glossy photographic book, WELSH NATIONAL OPERA – THE FIRST SIXTY YEARS. Caroline lives in Houston TX with her husband and three teenage children, and she can be found online at www.carolineleech.com and @carolinesblurb.
~ Exclusive Excerpt ~
IN ANOTHER TIME by Caroline Leech
WOMEN’S TIMBER CORPS TRAINING CENTER,
SHANDFORD LODGE, BRECHIN, SCOTLAND
FRIDAY, AUGUST 14TH, 1942
Maisie’s shoulders burned, her palms were torn, and her ax handle was smeared with blister pus and blood. Again.
The woods were airless today, and it made the work even harder than usual. As a bead of sweat ran down from Maisie’s hair toward her eye, she stopped to wipe her forehead with the sleeve of her blouse, knowing she’d probably just added yet another muddy streak to those already across her face. Maisie wondered how on earth she’d be able to get herself looking presentable enough to go to a dance by seven o’clock. She’d only be dancing with her friends, but still, she didn’t want it to look like she’d spent the week up to her knees in dirt and wood chippings. Which, of course, she had.
Perhaps it was just as well there was no chance that some handsome chap would ask her to dance. She would bet a week’s wages—all thirty-seven shillings of it—that there were none of them left in Brechin these days, not since every man aged between eighteen and forty had been called up to the war.
Maisie stood and stretched out her back, pretending to study the tree she was attempting to chop down. When would this constant ache disappear? Even after two weeks of learning how to fell, split, saw, and sned, she still woke up each morning feeling like she’d gone ten rounds in the ring with a heavyweight champion. She had blisters on her hands from the tools—four-and-a-half-pound axes, six-pound axes, crosscut saws, hauling chains, and cant hooks—and blisters on her feet from her work boots. There were even blisters between her thighs where the rough material of her uniform chafed as she worked.
“I bet the WAAF and ATS recruits don’t hurt this badly all through their training,” she moaned to her friend Dot, who was working two trees over. “I still think the recruitment officer lied to me. She made it sound like the Women’s Timber Corps would be a walk in the park.”
“Or perhaps a walk”—Dot flailed her ax again toward the foot of her own tree—“in the forest.”
“Very funny,” Maisie replied, then blew gingerly onto her stinging fingers. “Bloody hell, that hurts!” She pulled out her once-white handkerchief and dabbed at her hands, hoping to feel some comfort from the soft, cool cotton, and watched Dot swing the ax a couple more times. Again and again Dot’s blade seemed to bounce off the wood as if it were made of India rubber, exposing no more of the creamy flesh under the brown bark than had been visible five minutes before.
Maisie glanced behind her to see if their instructor, Mr. McRobbie, was watching, but he was talking to another recruit farther up the line of trees, so she let her ax-head rest on the ground. She had been issued this six-pound ax when training began, but right now, it felt like a forty-pound sledgehammer. She reached into her pocket and withdrew her whetstone, the smooth flat stone she used to set her blade. Mr. McRobbie had drummed into them the importance of having a whetstone with them at all times, to keep the cutting edge sharp and clean, but Maisie had discovered another use for it. She laid the stone, warm from her body heat, onto the blisters of her hands one by one, sighing as the discomfort was eased, if only for a few seconds.
Still Dot was hacking away at the tree.
Maisie sighed. “Do you want me to finish that off for you? We’ve got a dance to go to tonight, remember, and the way you’re going, you’ll still be slapping at it at midnight.”
“Uggghhh,” grunted Dot with one more swipe. “What am I doing wrong? I feel like I’m doing it the way he showed us, and I’ve got blisters a mile deep to prove it, but I don’t ever make any difference at all! Bloody thing!”
Dot kicked the toe of her boot at the trunk and there was an ominous creaking sound, as if the tree were about to topple. Dot recoiled and jumped clear, but the tree stayed where it was.
Maisie burst out laughing. “Perhaps you should kick the tree into submission.”
“Oh, get lost!” Dot retorted, but then she began to laugh too. “I only want to find one thing on this training course that I can actually do properly, because cutting down trees certainly isn’t it.”
Maisie felt sorry for Dot. She was shorter and slighter than Maisie, though certainly not the smallest of the women in their group, yet Dot couldn’t seem to get the hang of any of the techniques Mr. McRobbie had shown them. After only two weeks, Maisie already felt quite competent at using the tools they had been given so far, but Dot was not progressing at all. That fact was not only making Dot anxious, it was starting to worry Maisie too. They were only two weeks into their six-week training course, but it had been made clear that anyone could be sent home at any time for failing to make the grade. She couldn’t bear it if her new friend were thrown off the course. Who would Maisie have to talk with and work beside then?
The other women doing the Timber Corps training were all very nice, but that was the problem—they were all women, in their twenties and thirties. Only Dot was close to Maisie in age, and even then, Dot was already nineteen, almost two years older than Maisie. But it was comforting to have a friend of roughly her own age, someone who treated her like a teammate rather than a child.
Maisie had certainly felt like an adult last month when she’d walked into the recruiting office in Glasgow and told the sergeant behind the desk that she wanted to join the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, or even the Auxiliary Territorial Service. She was all ready to argue with him that since she was a grown woman taking control of her life, she didn’t need to finish her final year at school because it was about time she did her bit for the war effort.
But the sergeant hadn’t argued with her. He’d instead pointed her to the next office, where a friendly woman told her with a smile that, at seventeen, she was still too young to become a WAAF or a Navy Wren, or even to join the ATS.
Imagining the smug expression on her father’s face as she returned home with her mature and independent tail firmly between her legs, Maisie tried not to whine. “So is there nothing I can do instead?”
“There’s the Women’s Land Army,” the woman replied. “They take Land Girls from seventeen, if you’d fancy working on a farm. It’s hard work, but if you like the outdoor life . . .”
Maisie could rather see herself walking through fields of golden corn swaying gently in the summer breeze, chewing lazily on a stalk of barley as the sun warmed her skin.
“. . . you’d be working with crops and with the animals. You know, cows, horses, pigs, chickens, and the like. . . .”
Cows? Horses? Pigs?
A shudder ran down Maisie’s aching back even now, remembering that conversation. She might enjoy working with chickens or maybe sheep, but not big animals like cows and horses. She especially hated—no, she feared—horses, ever since the rag-and-bone man’s Charlie, a brutish Clydesdale, had taken a swing at Maisie with his huge head and left a nasty dark-red graze and a blooming bruise on her arm with his enormous teeth. How old would she have been? Eight perhaps? It still made her feel queasy.
“No, not animals. I can’t do animals.”
The woman had frowned at her.
“Well, I’m not sure there’s much else other than munitions, dear,” she’d said, “and a bright and healthy girl like you doesn’t want to be stuck in a factory all day, surely. Oh, wait now, here’s something. . . .”
She’d rummaged around in a drawer and pulled out a single sheet of paper. “This is quite a new setup, but according to this, they’re taking girls from seventeen into the new Women’s Timber Corps. It says here that because of the German sea blockade, supply ships can’t get through to bring timber to Britain. Therefore, we need to get the wood from our own forests. Of course, all our foresters are soldiers now, so they’ve created this, the WTC. How does that sound?”
When Maisie didn’t immediately respond, the recruiter had continued. “Would trees be more your thing, dear?”
Trees? Trees certainly didn’t have teeth. “Yes, thank you,” Maisie had said, “that sounds spot on. I think trees might be much more my thing.”
From somewhere nearby, a whistle blew three times, long and loud. Miss Cradditch, the WTC training officer at Shandford Lodge—known as Old Crabby to all the recruits— had a particularly piercing and insistent whistle, but right now no one cared since it signaled the end of the workday. Next stop, the Brechin dance.
As Maisie walked with Dot and the others down to the Hut C dormitory to gather her towel and soap, she knew she’d made the right decision at the recruiting office. After only two weeks on the course, Maisie was already proud to be training as a lumberjill.
Maisie stared down into the brown-speckled bathwater with distaste. The luxury of the long, deep baths she’d enjoyed at home before the war seemed so long ago now, since all she was allowed to bathe in these days were her strictly rationed five inches of water. And with so many women in the camp, and only three proper bathrooms upstairs in Shandford Lodge, the old manor house that had been converted into the WTC training center, there had to be a roster for who bathed when. It had been four days since Maisie’s last turn to have a bath, and since those days had all been hard physical work, half of the Shandford woods appeared to have made its way into the bath with her.
The water, which barely covered her legs, wasn’t even warm, but it was wet and soothing, and she felt herself relax immediately. After all, she was one of the lucky ones, having her bath on the same day as they went dancing, so she slid as much of her body down into the water as she could, while also trying to keep her hair dry. She considered her hands, not sure if she should risk putting open sores into such filthy water, but how else was she going to soap the rest of her body? Throwing hygienic caution to the wind, she picked up her small, pink WTC-issued bar of carbolic soap, just as someone banged on the bathroom door.
“Come on, Maisie, don’t take all night.” Dot’s voice was muffled by the thick wood. “The truck’s leaving in less than an hour. You need to hurry! Do you even know what you’re wearing yet?”
So much for that long luxurious bath!
“All right,” Maisie shouted back, quickly rubbing the soap up to a stinging lather between her hands. “I’ll be down in a few minutes, and maybe you can help me decide.”
Once she finished her bath, Maisie ran down to Hut C to get ready. She had only brought two dresses from home, so it wouldn’t be hard to decide on an outfit. Many of the other women had worked the whole day with curlers under their decidedly nonregulation head scarves, but thankfully, Maisie only needed to brush out her shoulder-length blond hair and pin it up at each side. Dot’s short dark hair was even quicker, just combed and tucked behind her ears, so the two of them were ready with time to spare.
As they waited for the truck to arrive, Maisie and Dot watched the older women fuss with whatever face powder, mascara, and lipstick they had saved from before the war—it was almost impossible to get hold of any makeup these days, especially in the wilds of Scotland. All Maisie had done was smear a little Vaseline on her lips to give them a shine. She’d only be dancing with the other lumberjills, so what was the point?
Even so, Maisie was excited to be going out. Two weeks after leaving home for her new adventure, tonight felt almost like a rite of passage.
End of chapter one
In Another Time
By: Caroline Leech
Release Date: August 28th, 2018
The Prize will include a signed hardback copy of IN ANOTHER TIME, a signed paperback of WAIT FOR ME,
a signed copy of a specially-commissioned map of Scotland featuring all the places mentioned in the two books,
as well as book-swag for both books, and some sweet Scottish treats.
~ (International) ~
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
I had to do a double take when i saw this cover as the woman on the front reminds me of my cousin when we were growing up so naturally I loved it. There is that nostalgia to the cover with the hues of the colors used. I also liked the variety of fonts and their sizes and colors. The woman's face looks neutral- seeking yet not hopeful nor disappointed, just searching. I had this novel on my TBR list before finding this posting as I am excited to read it with women working side-by-side men with the war going on. I like the idea of a friendship with the two main characters before any romance.
I really enjoyed Wait for Me so I am so excited to read In Another Time! I love how the covers really get the feel of being back in the time period, too!
I love the color of the cover and I really want those overalls! I love books set in this time period so I'm really excited to read it!
The cover is beautiful with the look of an old photograph. The synopsis is very intriguing. Can't wait for this one.