Books Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Ellen Dunne

This letter is sent with a heavy heart, Michael; you of all people will know how difficult it is for me to write the words you are about to read.

Letters from ElsewhereI’m delighted to welcome Ellen Dunne to my blog. Ellen, who comes from the pages of An Ocean Divide by Elizabeth Grimes Brown, lives in Ireland. Her lover, Michael McBride, recently travelled to New York to join his older brothers in their expanding family construction company. Ellen hasn’t told anyone that she is pregnant with Michael’s baby. In July 1912 she writes a letter to Michael that distresses him deeply.

This letter is sent with a heavy heart, Michael; you of all people will know how difficult it is for me to write the words you are about to read.

On Friday of last week, I became Mrs Patrick Lafferty.  Now I felt that I should be the one to tell you of my recent nuptials, and not out of any malice, Michael. I’m sure you will agree and understand that I would not stoop to that. I wouldn’t be wanting you to hear it as a topic of some piece of idle gossip.

Although it pained me deeply to hear of your engagement to, Amelia, I believe is her name?  I cannot but wish you well. You must luv her very much, Michael, for I can’t think of anuther reason why you would break my heart like this.  You of all people. I would never have expected in all the world that you would be the one to hurt me so.

That dreadful, unexpected revelation in the letter that cum from Robert, to your Da, was as a shock for us all, especially as I hadn’t heard a word from yourself on the matter;  still, it is dun now, and, after all we have been to each other, I cannot but wish you well in your new life.  And, Patrick, well he is a good man, I do care for him; I know he luvs me and will take good care of me.

I feel there should be more to say, but I am at a loss for words to express my sadness.

Wishing you well


This is the first time Michael has heard any suggestion of an engagement to Amelia. Who could have told Robert such a thing?

About An Ocean Divide

EB2Invited by older brothers, Joe and Robert, to join their successful company in America, 19-year-old country boy Michael McBride is booked on the Titanic. After surviving the sinking of the ship and unaware that the family business has been built on corruption with the backing of the Mafia, he works hard to learn all he can. Through distractions, distance and deceit, he unwittingly neglects his love back in Ireland.

Ellen Dunne, finding she is pregnant, and hearing false rumours of Michael’s impending engagement to his boss’s daughter, is panicked into marriage to neighbouring, older farmer Patrick Lafferty.

Over the years, feuds and resentments divide brothers Michael and Robert. Michael’s love for Ellen is as strong as ever and one of his visits back home results in a second pregnancy. Eighteen years pass before Michael finds out that Jack, Ellen’s son and a boy he has befriended and grown to love on visits over the years, is really his own boy, the revelation being announced at Ellen’s funeral. Jack rejects him out of hand. Can father and son be reconciled, will Michael find new love, and will power-hungry brother Robert one day rue his guilty past?

As the story follows the family over four decades, the tale of love and loss brings heartache for all – births, deaths and corruption creating a feud between brothers.

About Elizabeth Grimes Brown

EB1Elizabeth Grimes Brown, mother of four adult children, three grandchildren and a 1-year-old great-granddaughter, lives in England with her husband, Bill. Born in 1941 at the height of the ‘big blitz’ into a small parish in the Dock Road area of Liverpool, Elizabeth, like many children born around that time, learned to make her own fun through escapism. Pretending, or story-telling, became part of her daily life.

After being employed in some menial jobs, and while raising her family and working for 23 years as a bank clerk, Elizabeth was always keen on being creative, be it dressmaking, decorating or art.  There were a few successes along the way: she won a make-over competition in a national newspaper in the year 2,000, and a piece of her art was hung in the local library as part of an exhibition.

It was only on retiring that Elizabeth decided to enrol in a creative writing course. After 2 years and a grade 1 and 2 accredited by Lancaster University, she applied and gained entry to a BA Creative Writing degree at Edge Hill University. Unfortunately, due to home and family commitments, this exercise was cut short.

Elizabeth has been treasurer of her local Writers’ Group since 2004 and has gained knowledge, experience and confidence through public readings. She has had a few small successes with acceptance for Puffin books and short stories in a couple of anthologies, and while taking part in a letter-writing venture for the ‘Liverpool Sea Odyssey’ to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic, her letters were amongst the hundred selected to be fired from a cannon at the culmination of the event.

Having three novels and one short story published with, in addition to the paperback version, Elizabeth now has all of her work available on Amazon Kindle.

You can follow Elizabeth on her Elizabeth Grimes Brown Author page on Facebook or

Her available novels include An Ocean Divide, Run Amy Run and Loving in Fear, all of which can be found on – – Barnes & Noble – WH Smith- Waterstones – and The Book Depository.

Other News

Elizabeth adds:

  • I am at present writing a social history novel based on my experiences of growing up in a predominantly catholic parish in the early years following WW2.
  • I am also collecting a number of short stories to add to my existing short story on Amazon: A Life in a Bottom Drawer.

By Miriam Drori

Author, editor, attempter of this thing called life. Social anxiety warrior. Cultivating a Fuji, edition 3, a poignant, humorous and uplifting tale, published with Ocelot Press, January 2023.

4 replies on “Letters from Elsewhere: Ellen Dunne”

First of all, I would like to thank Miriam Drori for this lovely idea of book character letter writing. I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in it.
My novel ‘An Ocean Divide’ evolved from the letter writing venture for the ‘Liverpool Sea Odyssey’ event which took place in 2012 to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the ‘Titanic.’
Using White Star Line headed paper, our participation in the project was to write a letter as someone travelling on the ship; a passenger, employee, band member, whatever. I chose a young Irish 19-year-old country boy, Michael McBride. His letter was to his sweetheart, Ellen Dunne, who he promised to send for once he was established in his older brothers growing construction company in New York.
Having decided to save, Michael, my novel was born.

Thank you for taking part, Elizabeth.

It’s interesting to discover where the seed for a novel came from. Mine was from an online romance-writing course.

Each of my novels has grown from a conversation or an incident told to me. The only original idea I have come up with is the social history set in the early years after WW2. ‘Brick Babies and Paper Dolls’ was first written as an autobiography, but feeling restricted writing events in first person narrative I decided to make it fiction and tell the story from a third party viewpoint but still using experiences from that era.

‘Loving in Fear’ came about through a workshop in one of my creative writing sessions where we were asked to write a ‘hook line.’ I drew on some of the awful tales I’d heard back in the 1970’s. The revelations were from people dear to me and had stuck in my mind over the years.
This particular ‘hook’ began, ‘Cathy’s hand trembled holding the knife.’
The opening has changed over the years, but the story behind it remained the same. A scene of a young, terrified girl, in fear for herself and her children’s safety, standing over her abuser with a knife in her hand.

‘Run, Amy, Run! started life as a comedy, it was to follow the escapades of a homeless woman (I know that doesn’t sound funny) but some of the stories I heard were. Anyhow, I decided to change it and tell the story of a young runaway and her decline from an affluent, privileged, privately educated lifestyle into the pitfalls and horrors of homelessness and exploitation on the streets of London.

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