Friday, September 14, 2007

Granny Buttons posts Black Thread review

Was I looking into the canal for inspiration?
Who knows what I was thinking at the time, but I did manage to get a story out of it!

The following review of my latest novel comes from Andrew Denny of
Andrew must be regarded as one of the leading UK canal bloggers - certainly for volume of articles published, variety of material and its regularity, not to mention the quality of his photographic images.

Andrew's review (posted 13 Sept) begins:
I've been reading The Black Thread a historical novel by Margaret Muir.
It's set at the end of the Victorian era, mainly in Leeds and on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal up to Saltaire and Bingley.
The canal research on this one is good, and it turns out to be a pretty hot page turner.
It's nominally a historical novel with romantic embroidery, but it's fast-paced, the storytelling is taut and never drags, and smartly-plotted. The conclusion is neat (if a little improbable) but cleverly explains Amy's name and several other points in the story.
At the heart of the story is a family of Number Ones running their L&L 'short boat' mainly on the Leeds side of the canal, and this is where the story's research really shows.....

To read the rest of the review, go to:

Spring in the Tamar Valley

I'm just loving the early spring flowers colouring the garden.
The daffodils are out and the snowdrops and irises.
Camellias are an absolute picture (as you can see) and the azaleas are coming into full bloom, and lots of flowers I don't know the names of.
And every branch on the fruit trees is covered in blossom.
Most magnificent are the magnolias I have sen nearby, though I don't have a tree in the garden.
Photo: Camellia bush outside my kitchen window and morning mist in the valley.

A camellia by any other name!

How could I resist buying a camellia with the name - China Doll.
China Doll was the name of one of my favourite goats.
Although she died several years ago, I will never forget her.
Whenever I went out in the paddock she would follow me, and if I sat down on the grass she would come and sit next to me and lay her head on my lap and happily go to sleep.
It's hard to forget those special animals?
Guess I'm feeling sentimental.

Photo: Curly (another pet) checking out my brief case!
Photo: China Doll - camellia variety

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Firing up the memories

There is something about a real fire crackling in an open hearth which brings back memories of chilhood.
It's warm and homely and inviting, and until I lit a fire in my new house, it was something I had almost forgotten.
I remember, as a child, sitting around the fire with the family, listening to the radio plays and my favourite program, Journey into Space (long before the days of the successful Apollo moon missions).
I also remember the pink mottled legs from sitting too close.
And I remember the faces and changing images in the fire itself - a benefit from not not having ones eyes glued to a TV screen.
Of course, in those days in the UK we were burning coal.
Today, sadly, the home fire burning wood is regarded as a pollutant.
So much for progress?
Photo: Winter in Tassie

Canal Cuttings give thumbs up for The Black Thread

This is the first feedback I have had for my latest novel - published 30 August.
I'm very pleased.

The Black Thread by Margaret Muir - Book Review
This is a very sensitive and dramatic story set in 1898, in and around Leeds and the historic area of Saltaire on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
The main character Amy longs to meet the father that left home before she was born. The story gave you a true feeling of factuality, rather than fiction.
You get an insight into Leeds and Liverpool Canal bargees and woolen mill worker’s community life during those hard times and Amy’s relationship with the canals and Victorian industrial worker’s poverty.
The supporting characters subtly appear out of the pages right at the beginning of the book and keep turning up, some like bad pennies!
I thoroughly enjoyed this well written book with its mysterious twists and shocking turns and would thoroughly recommend it.

Jean Beven,
The review appeared on the website of - a canal and narrowboat website.
Photo: (author) by Rob Dunn taken at Hungerford 2006