A MOVING HISTORICAL NOVEL SET AGAINST A MASTERLY REALISED BACKDROP OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD
A Bitter Harvest is the story of a family caught up in the dramatic struggle for Irish independence and the search for a better Europe following the horrors of conflict
‘This is more than a brilliant gem of historical fiction. It illuminates bitter truths we tend to forget, but it also makes one understand better the tragedies of human frailty.’ – Theodore Zeldin
1919 – The Great War is over and an armistice agreed, but peace is not a given. England, riven by grief and loss, attacked by the Spanish Flu, with its younger generation of men killed, traumatised or wounded, is adjusting to a changed world. The slaughter of the Great War is over, but the Roaring Twenties are still far away.
A Bitter Harvest explores the experience of the two Richmond sisters and their cousin Ariadne, confronted with the reality that only a fraction of their generation will ever marry and have children. Set predominately in the English countryside, the narrative shifts between Dorset, the Peace Conference in Paris and the scuttling of the German fleet in Scapa Flow, with a cast of characters that includes an aged Thomas Hardy and Lloyd George at the height of his powers. But when Julian Belmore, an Irishman who has come through the war unscathed but conflicted, meets the sisters, bringing emotional turmoil in his wake, events begin their descent towards tragedy.
A Bitter Harvest is the first volume in a sequence of novels that will follow the events of the inter-war years and the lives of a unique generation of women. It will confirm Charles Ellingworth as a historical novelist deserving of classic status.
Charles Ellingworth is the author of Silent Night, a compelling historical novel published to acclaim by Quartet Books in 2010. He studied history at Oxford and has written for the Financial Times and other magazines. He lives in Somerset.