The Summer of ’66
How far would you travel to find the truth?
It’s the 1960s and Jennifer Howells is a young woman with the world at her feet, just on the cusp of leaving her Welsh village for an exciting life in the city.
Then the contents of an inconspicuous brown envelope turn Jennifer’s world upside down. The discovery leaves her spiralling, unsure who she is. Overnight, Miss Goody Two Shoes is replaced by a mini-skirted wild child who lives for parties and rock’n’roll.
But Jennifer’s experience with the excesses of sixties’ culture leaves her no closer to her true identity. She soon realises she’ll have to travel further – first to Cardiff, then across the ocean to Sicily – if she wants to find out who she really is …
Available as an eBook and audiobook on all platforms. Paperback available from Amazon.
After retiring from a career in teaching and advisory education, Jan joined a small writing group in a local library where she wrote her first piece of fiction and from then on, she was hooked! She soon went on to take a writing class at the local university and began to submit short stories for publication to a wider audience. Her stories and flash fiction pieces have been longlisted and shortlisted in competitions and several appear in anthologies both online and in print. In October 2019, her first collection of stories was published. Her stories started getting longer and longer so that, following a novel writing course, she began to write her first full-length novel. She loves being able to explore her characters in further depth and delve into their stories.
Originally from mid-Wales, Jan lives in Cardiff with her husband. They have three grown up children and four grandchildren, with another little one expected in the summer. Jas is co-organiser of her local RNA Chapter.
See all Jan’s books here …
The story is mainly set in the 1960s (but goes back to the 1940s as well) and is split between South Wales and Sicily. Jen finds out that the couple that brought her up are her grandparents so she tries to find out what happened to her real parents. There are lots of family secrets which get unearthed along the way.
I really enjoyed reading this book and found it hard to put down. I empathised with the female characters and the author explains very well how sacrifices were made in order to preserve social standing.
This story spans the stories of 3 women from the late 1940s to the mid 60s. The author enmeshes you in the family and the pain of their stories. The horror of conceiving a baby before marriage is explained and how the women deal with it dealt with so sympathetically detailed I shed a tear. This is not though a sad book, far from it. It highlights the strength they all have in all areas of their lives in their different eras. The differences and similarities are well described and the constant presence of Aunt Edie ties it together. I really enjoyed this book and at the end felt uplifted by the joy of a jigsaw completed.
This story went a lot deeper than I was expecting covering the 40’s and 60’s and how a family was torn apart due to falling in love with the wrong man. It covers the cultural stigmas of the 40’s brilliantly in addition to being a really entertaining and riveting read when Jennifer finds information out about her family that blows everything she thought out of the water and leads her to want to discover more about herself and bring her family back together. Not a period i would usually read but so glad i did.
Rose is a teenager who can do nothing right by her father anymore. He used to idolise her, but not anymore. She does her best to avoid him. He is doing dealings in the black market and he is not happy when she confronts him.
She goes to work in the kitchen up at the big hall and forms a beautiful friendship with Maisie. Farm hand boys bring the daily veg and it doesn’t take long for the girls to be smitten. The only issue is, Rose falls for the Italian, who also happens to be a PoW and hated by all. She tries her best to keep her distance but the pull is too strong and they meet in secret and soon have the most amazing night together. The worst possible thing happens and her father catches them meeting one day. He orders Rose to leave. She has nowhere to go – except to her Aunt Edie.
Whilst staying with Aunt Edie, she finds herself a job but shortly after discovers she’s pregnant. She is sent to a home for mothers around 6 weeks before the arrival and what she sees and has to do is absolutely heartbreaking.
Fast forward 18 years and Jennifer discovers that parents are not her birth parents. She wants to find out more, but it is never spoken about and she rows with her father and she ends up staying with Aunt Edie too.
With Aunt Edie she starts to unpick some of the story and embarks on a journey to find her real parents.
This is amazingly gripping. Was never sure what would happen next. The story has so much depth and detail and what happened to Rose is highly likely to have happened to so many women back in those war times. Thoroughly enjoyed it ❤