When is a sale not a sale?

When it’s a giveaway, that’s when!

Being asked which is your personal favourite of the books you’ve written is like being asked which is your favourite child or pet. Each is different and you  love them all in different ways.

Of my books, The Valley of Heaven and Hell was the most enjoyable to research. While planning a cycling trip through one of France’s less well-known areas, the Marne valley, I found that we would be cycling on the exact route taken by Marie-Antoinette, her husband and children, on their outward journey in their attempt to escape the French Revolution, and their return to their deaths.

Reading about the life and death of the unlucky queen was a real eye-opener and completely changed my opinion of her, as well as awakening my interest in French history.


Thus the book became a travelogue written in parallel with what certainly one of France’s most dramatic historical events.

As a New Year gift, Blackbird Books are offering a free download of the book. You can read the first chapter on-line, and help yourself to a copy, from here – the link is in the top right-hand corner.

If you are on Facebook, there is a competition running to win a free, signed paperback copy. Check in to the We Love Memoirs group to enter. You will probably have to scroll down the page, as it is a VERY active group with new offers and reviews coming in constantly. If you can’t find the thread, post a comment and one of the moderators will direct you to it. The competition runs until this Saturday, 9th January.

Do hope you’ll enjoy the read and the ride. 🙂






13 thoughts on “When is a sale not a sale?

  1. I think it’s my favourite too (apart from your biographical work) because I love cycling myself and I learnt so much about Marie-Antoinette. I’ve signed up for a free copy because I read it as part of my Kindle Subscription and had to hand it back. Thank you.

  2. I’ve joined the FaceBook group and I am ‘pending’ – quite what I am pending I’m not sure of … I hope it isn’t approval because I might fall flat! Seriously – it is very generous of Blackbird to give away a copy of a book that is on my list already to buy so I shall wait until I have finished Tinkerbelle and then order this …. I like them in paperback because I can then pass them to my mother who is your newest (though certainly one of your oldest) fan and is roaring her way through Best Foot as I type 🙂

    • I think the mods just check out that no spammers are trying to infiltrate. 🙂 Maybe you’ll win a copy and save yourself a fortune. 🙂 Say ‘hello’ to your other for me. 🙂

      • I’m in group and they are REALLY active as you said – great fun in fact. Hello duly passed on and I’m loving making it’s acquiatance 🙂

  3. Yes, I loved The Valley of Heaven and Hell, and like you, became quite engrossed in and fascinated by the historical aspects. Just as well I’ve read it – I don’t think I can do free downloads – something about not being in Europe, I think.

    • You should be able to download the file from Blackbird, Alison. I think. I’d be interested to know if not. I’m sure that people in the States have been able to do so, in fact I know they have. 🙂 Or else move to Europe. 😉

  4. @Osyth – Bienvenue chez WLM. Yes, they are a wildly enthusiastic bunch of memoir-readers and writers, and I’ve never seen an unkind word there. Nice positive crowd. 🙂

  5. Hello Susie. I have downloaded the book and look forward to reading it. BUT I have just this afternoon finished reading “I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry” and I have to admit that it has left me feeling rather sad – even though there are plenty of laughs in the writing along the way. What shines through to me is what a strong woman you are, you have not allowed yourself to become a ‘victim’ I might add, that in my opinion, you have nothing to apologise to your parents for. You were the child in the situation – THEY were the adults! As for the volatile Italians, well, I’m sure if they hadn’t been the way they were, things could have worked out differently! I really enjoyed the description of your ’50s childhood though. I am the same vintage, was at school in Surrey [not a convent thank goodness] and so much of what you remember was relevant to me too. I can just see your rust coloured tights and the red pixie bonnet in my mind, in fact I’m sure I’ve actually seen them!!. I was a very drab child – green gaberdine raincoat and green school beret, long grey socks and black shoes and much the same at weekends! However, I was lucky enough to know I was loved and cared for – and thankfully there are mercifully few photos of me! I was so very sad to read from your year end blog reference, that your son has died. I cannot begin to imagine your heartache. I too married in July 1966 and had a son soon afterwards – and then a daughter and whilst I felt having read how ‘colourful’ your life has been that my childhood at least was very ‘beige’, I think I’ve made up for it a bit since then! Love your writing style and can’t wait to start TVoH&H!

  6. Hi Lisa

    Thank you for your very kind comments. If only we had known then what we know now when we made our choices and could go back and try again. I’ve always wondered how life would have turned out if I’d gone with my mother.

    I hope you’ll enjoy our cycling ordeal. 🙂

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