Books Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Ellen Dunne

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.
Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Katie

Letters from ElsewhereIt’s Friday again and time to meet Katie Button. It was supposed to be a new start for Katie and James but Jack’s arrival at Southampton forces Katie to board and travel alone to New York with the promise that James will follow as soon as he can. Oh and the ship Katie is travelling on is called the Titanic. Here’s her letter to James.

14th April 1912

Dearest James,

    I am somewhere in the Atlantic, surrounded by nothing but blue sea as far as the eye can see. It’s been a calm sailing so far, a bit chilly today though but a bracing walk along the promenade is rather invigorating.

   I’ve met and made a friend. Her name is Polly. She’s from Ireland and like me, travelling on her own. But downstairs (third class) they know how to make everyone feel welcome with wonderful music and dancing. I feel comfortable with Polly and her friends; I can talk to them about my life as it’s pretty similar to Polly’s. She was a maid too and is looking for a new life in America. I think we’ll stick together when we reach New York. It won’t be so daunting.

    I’ve been thinking of you and your father. I hope he’s not suffering  and I’m sure he’s grateful to have you there. You made the right decision to stay with him in his hour of need. You can also keep an eye on Jack but don’t be mad with him for his actions at the Southampton. He just wants what’s best for you. You’re his brother and the thought of you sailing away to the other side of the world is probably most upsetting for him.

     I miss you so much. I will write again soon. I’m filled with excitement but I’m so nervous.

    Lots of love,


PS My good friend, Polly wrote this letter for me and she is teaching me to read and write. She said her father helped build Titanic when it was in Belfast.

About The Adventures of Katie Button

The Adventures of Katie ButtonWhat happens when your dreams collide with reality?

Katie Button doesn’t believe in soul mates. When charismatic Jack Masterson asks her out on a date, despite him being her new boss alongside his more aloof brother, James, she agrees.

But her romantic dreams about a dashing highwayman, heroic gladiator and Tudor lord are becoming more frequent. And, worryingly, they feel real. She remembers every detail, every touch, every kiss. Until she realises the man in her dreams is James.

But Katie doesn’t even like James. And what about Jack, who is whisking her away for sexy mini breaks in the here and now?

Katie knows she needs to put an end to her dreams before they ruin her life. But how?

Find Lizzie Koch


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Books Holidays

The Social Sandwich, Part 6

This is the sixth in a series of posts describing my recent trip to England, Ireland, the Netherlands and Wales, from writing course to school reunion and more.

As I’ve mentioned, I met several people on this trip for the first time, people I knew only online. Of those, there was only one I stayed with: David Rory O’Neill.

I’ve been proofreading and helping to edit David’s books, which he has self-published after being told by traditional publishers that his books don’t fit any genre. I don’t understand this need to straitjacket books. Why can’t one book have enough variety to fit more than one genre? Is it just so that booksellers know which shelf to put the book on?

I digress. David is a prolific writer. He has published 12 novels and 2 novellas so far, and it sounds as if he has plenty more to write. I agreed to work on one book at first, so the fact that I’m still doing this shows how much I enjoy David’s writing. Naturally, David and I have got to know each other quite well through emails. That didn’t stop me from being a little apprehensive about this four-day stay.

From Cork airport, David and B took me into the city, where I was treated to a very knowledgable tour, and to a sip of Guinness, Ireland’s national drink, and taught my only word of Irish: sláinte (pronounced slahn-CHA), which means cheers, or as we would say at home: lehayyim.

Afterwards, we visited the town of Cobh (pronounced Cove) and saw, amongst other things, a fascinating exhibition about the Titanic, situated where the last 123 passengers boarded the ship on its first and last voyage.

The next day, we had a tour of many of the places that appear in David’s novels, and here I felt rather embarrassed. Because, while I enjoyed reading about all of those places and loved the way they blended in to all the stories, I didn’t remember much about them. The real interest, for me is in the characters and their stories. The places are important, but they didn’t remain with me when I finished reading.

Picnicking in Black Valley, County Kerry
Picnicking in Black Valley, County Kerry

On the following day, B took me to Limerick University, where young people were taking part in a festival of traditional Irish music and dance. They sounded and looked very professional. We were even treated to a solo harp performance from a girl who was practising outside. Then we went for a walk along the River Shannon.

Timoleague Abbey, West Cork
Timoleague Abbey, West Cork
(smiling despite being scared of falling back)

Another day of touring the beautiful countryside and all too soon it was time to leave. On the way to the airport, David and B were going to show me the historical part of Mitchelstown, but that plan was hijacked by an interesting stranger.

As we stood beside Kingston College, a row of Georgian terraced houses, wondering who lived in these houses now, this stranger started talking to us. He told us how he and his wife had escaped Zimbabwe/Rhodesia amidst awful scenes and found refuge in one of these houses, along with several others from that country. Then he invited us into his house and showed us pictures of the place they’d had to leave.

So I missed my tour of Mitchelstown, but gained a fascinating first-hand insight into a very different part of the world.

What a lot was crammed into four days! I will remember the special time I spent in a beautiful country, hosted by two lovely people. Thank you, both!