On this day: the Christmas Season in Spain

5th January 1962: The Three Wise Men arrive at Barajas Airport in Madrid, Spain, where crowds of children wait to greet them.

Source

SS__MM__Los_Reyes_Magos_en_BarajasThe Three Wise Men arriving at Madrid's Barajas airport on January 5, 1962, where crowds of children awaited them.

On this day: Wounded soldiers in Norway.

Raid_on_Vaagso,_27_December_1941_N481 Norway British Army Second World War Two Black and White Vintage

27th December 1941: Wounded soldiers are transferred onto a landing craft in Vaagso (the island of Vågsøy), Norway. The country was under Nazi occupation at the time.

The photograph was taken during the one-day Operation Archery, a combined British and Norwegian raid against German forces that resulted in an Allied victory over the Nazis.

The Norwegian commander of the raid, Martin Linge, was killed in action during the operation.

Universal Children’s Day

Today is Universal Children’s Day. The 20th of November is also the date when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959. Additionally, the UN General assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on this date in 1989.

In an age where Russia had whitewashed Stalin’s image and the nation now reveres him almost as a God, and at a time when young people – ignorant, or perhaps wilfully ignorant of recent history – embrace communism (if I see one more “social justice warrior” with a hammer and sickle avatar…), I’d like to share some pictures.

These aren’t children in a Nazi concentration camp; they’re Soviet children in communist gulags during Stalin’s reign.

The problem with 20th century history taught in schools is that it stops with Hitler. Few seem aware that Stalin had the deaths of tens of millions on his hands.

The communist utopia teens and twenty-somethings in the West seem to dream of these days? This was the reality of it.

D0-Mgs7XQAITWXP These aren’t children in a Nazi concentration camp they’re Soviet children in communist gulags during Stalin’s reign.

These aren’t children in a Nazi concentration camp they’re Soviet children in communist gulags during Stalin’s reign. D0-Mjc6XgAAx3jb

These aren’t children in a Nazi concentration camp they’re Soviet children in communist gulags during Stalin’s reign. D0-MimeWwAIrLf1

D0-Mh0LX4AAz7ch These aren’t children in a Nazi concentration camp they’re Soviet children in communist gulags during Stalin’s reign.

Book Feature: Lost Railway Journeys from Around the World

Tomorrow is the 189th anniversary of the opening of the world’s first steam-powered public railway: the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

So, for the occasion, here’s a book I received as an ARC a while ago, but never had the time to review: Lost Railway Journeys from Around the World by Anthony Lambert. The description is beneath the cover.

Lost Railway Journeys from Around the World by Anthony Lambert

From the great cathedral-like railways stations of the steam age to obscure lines built through spectacular landscapes to open up countries before the advent of motorised road transport, this book is a celebration of our lost railway heritage and the lines that can no longer be travelled.

Through stunning images, Lost Railway Journeys evokes the romance and drama of these journeys, taking the reader as close as they can possibly get to this lost world of dining cars, sleeping cars, station porters and international rail travel.

Organised by continent, all of these routes have stories to tell and the lost journeys are captured in the old postcards and posters that accompany photographs drawn from collections and archives across the world.

Release Day for The Landowner’s Secret!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

Happy release day to me! If things have gone to plan I’m in Romania at the moment, so I’m not home to celebrate.

You can read the first two chapters of The Landowner’s Secret HERE.

Here are the links to order it:

HarperCollins AU US UK

Amazon AU US UK CA IN

Kobo AU NZ US UK CA IE IN ZA

Barnes and Noble

Apple Books

Google Play

Booktopia

And here’s what it’s about:

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

Writing Inspiration: Victorian Queanbeyan

Queanbeyan, New South Wales lies just over the state border from Canberra (about a fifteen-minute drive from where I live). It serves as inspiration for my town in my book, The Landowner’s Secret, which is set in the 1880s and on sale tomorrow! (I don’t use the same place name, however.)

I’ve spent a lot of time in Queanbeyan over the years because I’ve always had family who lived there, and so I know the place very well. I was christened and made my first communion there, in the Ukrainian church my refugee grandfather helped to build. We also have a bit of a family tradition of Friday or weekend lunch at one of the old pubs in town.

However, being able to track down some images of the town from the Victorian era, of the buildings that the reckless developers pulled down in the 1970s, has been invaluable.

Here is John Bull’s Store, circa 1883:

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney. John Bull's Store, Queanbeyan Australia, c. 1883. From Queanbeyan–Palerang Libraries Historical Photos.

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Here is the old post office, built between 1879 and 1880:

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney. Built 1879-80. Post office in Queanbeyan, NSW, Australia. From the Queanbeyan Museum.

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And here is Monaro Street, which is still Queanbeyan’s main street, circa 1880. It’s a faded old photo, but I notice the town’s transformation over the 1880s, as the population grew and the railway arrived (in 1887), and I have tried to incorporate that into the series:

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney. Monaro Street, looking East, Queanbeyan c. 1880. From Queanbeyan–Palerang Libraries Historical Photos.

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More images can be found on the book’s Pinterest board.

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

The Landowner’s Secret

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

 

 

On this day…

Freed Korean “Comfort Women” – women forced to work as sex slaves for the Empire of Japan during the Second World War – talk to US soldiers in a photograph dated the 14th of August, 1944.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of women from Asia, as well as several hundred from the Netherlands and Australia, were treated this way.

Captured_comfort_women_in_Myitkyina_on_August_14_in_1944 Comfort Women - women forced to work as sex slaves for the Empire of Japan - after being freed by US soldiers. 14th August 1944. X

Here is the official caption of the photograph:

“Three Korean “comfort girls” (captured in Burma), photographed while being interrogated by Capt. Won Loy Chan (San Francisco, California), Tech. Sgt. Robert Honda (Hawaii) and Sgt. Hirabayashi (Seattle, Washington), all of the G-2 Myitkyina Task Force of the U.S. Army.”