Guest Post: Kimberley Jordan Reeman

Today on the blog I am very excited to be hosting the blog tour for Kimberley Jordan Reeman! She has a great post for you that I hope you will enjoy!


Let Me Take You By the Hand by Kimberley Jordan Reeman

... and we will walk into the past together, and I will tell you what I know.

A woman is writing her memoirs, impressions of a life lived against the turbulence of the eighteenth century. She has known great love and great pain.

The story begins.

You ask me, how shall we overcome these shadows? How much truth is unbearable?

I have known the darkness, and the poignancy of the light. I shrink from neither, deny neither.

They are my truths: it was my life.

These are my truths.

I wrote Coronach because no one else has ever told the true story behind the rose-ringed legends of the ʼ45, the last and most romanticized of the Jacobite rebellions. No one has ever set this final, fatal flowering of Stuart ambitions within the context of a century of war, a world war fought on land and sea from the killing-grounds of the Low Countries to the raw wilderness of North America by the superpowers of the time, Britain and France. In this struggle for global supremacy, the life of an individual is a mote of dust, and of as much significance to an invading army.

Scottish broadsword, traditional design

No one has ever told the forgotten story of the aftermath. After Culloden; after the flight in the heather and the escape of the bonnie prince, abandoning the dream and the dreamers; after the ravaging of the glens and the Acts of Proscription and the suffering and misery and disaster. After the ‘red soldiers’ had been recalled to their garrisons and, eventually, to Flanders to continue a war against a familiar enemy. In history there is always an aftermath, but in fiction it is largely ignored. The voices of the survivors of Culloden have been muted for centuries.

In Coronach they speak their truths without compromise, and with integrity. They speak of love and death and the human cost of war, and human frailty and loneliness. They speak of grief and a yearning for the past and the lost cause and the breaking of the clans, and what happened when the legends could not sustain them, and climatic disaster and famine compelled them to emigrate decades before the Highland Clearances. They speak, man and woman, soldier and aristocrat, the cherished and the abused, all victims of war, in Gaelic, English, French, of passion and courage and the search for peace in a world that offers none.

Scottish steel pistol, 18th century, in the distinctive “ram’s horn” design, by the engraving of the Union flag obviously made for a Scottish officer in one of the British Army’s Highland regiments.

Why should you read Coronach?

If you are American, it will speak to you of the founding of your nation, and cast a perhaps unexpected light on the seeds of revolution. If you are Canadian, you will understand the Scots who explored, charted, fought for and governed this vast, fur-bearing territory and inscribed Scotland forever on its maps, from Nova Scotia to the great Fraser and Mackenzie rivers. If you are English, Coronach will illuminate for you a century of magnificence and power: if you are Scottish, this is your heritage. These are your truths. If you are French, Coronach will evoke for you the menace and the majesty of Britain’s implacable foe.

“An Incident in the Rebellion of 1745”, artist David Morier, painted between 1746 and 1750. The Appin Stewarts and the Camerons charge Barrell’s, the 4th Regiment of Foot.  A report to the French War Ministry, Relation de la Bataille de Colloden, says of Barrell’s, in which casualties were so high that one in three men was killed, wounded or disabled: “The ranks were packed so tightly that even the men whom the Highlanders had cut to pieces did not fall down, and the living, the wounded and the dead formed such a solid mass that the Highlanders had to give up any hope of breaking through.”

If you are a woman, this is the story of an indomitable woman, a survivor of war and revolution. If you are a man, you will read about men of honour and conscience. If you are a soldier, you will read of duty, service, loyalty, the love of comrades, the uniform’s brotherhood: if you are a pacifist, you will find justification. If you are a believer or an atheist, you will see the struggle for God in the surrounding darkness.

A lieutenant’s commission signed in 1745 by Charles Edward Stuart in his capacity as prince regent.

Coronach is a novel of the many aspects of great love. Whatever your sexual orientation, it will speak to you. If you are human, it will speak to your humanity, and your compassion.

As readers, we all come to a book with an open mind and an open heart, and say, “Tell me a story.”

Let me take you by the hand into the eighteenth century, and I will show you how it was.


Coronach by Kimberley Jordan Reeman

Publication Date: October 10, 2018
Matador

Let the truth be told...

SCOTLAND, JULY 1746: an army of occupation ravages the Highlands, committing atrocities with consequences that will reverberate across generations. From this bloody cataclysm, the battle-hardened English soldier Mordaunt saves an infant who will become his heiress and his obsession, and on his shattered estate a traumatised Franco-Scottish laird, Ewen Stirling, offers refuge to a boy damaged by unspeakable horror.

These lives, bound by fate, unfold against the turbulence of the eighteenth century in a magnificent, uncompromising saga of love and the human cost of war.

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About the Authors


About Kimberley

Kimberley Jordan Reeman was born in Toronto, graduating from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts (hons.) in English literature in 1976. She worked in Canadian radio and publishing before marrying the author Douglas Reeman in 1985, and until his death in 2017 was his editor, muse and literary partner, while pursuing her own career as a novelist.

She has always been a spinner of tales, telling stories before she could write, reading voraciously from childhood, and citing Shakespeare, Hardy, Winston Graham and the novels of Douglas Reeman and Alexander Kent as her most profound influences. From Graham, who became a friend, she learned to write conversation, to eavesdrop as the characters spoke; from the seafaring novels of Reeman and Kent, which she read years before meeting the author, she came to understand the experience of men at war.

It is not necessary to look further than the history of Canada, and Toronto itself, for the genesis of Coronach: a vast country explored, settled, and governed by Scots, and a city, incorporated in 1834, whose first mayor was the gadfly journalist and political agitator William Lyon Mackenzie, a rebel in his own right, and the grandson of Highlanders who had fought in the `45. The Vietnam War, also, burned into the Canadian consciousness the issues of collateral damage and the morality of war; and from this emerged one character, a soldier with a conscience. In unravelling the complexity of his story, Coronach was born.

Website


About Douglas (Alexander Kent)

Douglas Reeman was born in Thames Ditton, Surrey, England in 1924. With the outbreak of war, and
despite belonging to an army family, he joined the Royal Navy without hesitation at the age of sixteen. He saw service in the North Sea and Arctic, and in the Atlantic and Mediterranean campaigns, beginning as a midshipman in destroyers and transferring later to motor torpedo boats.

Following the war, he held a variety of jobs, including delivering yachts, selling marine engines and walking the beat in London’s East End as a uniformed constable and in the plain-clothes Criminal Investigation Department. He returned to active service in the Korean War, and remained a naval reservist while working as a children’s welfare officer for the London County Council.

In 1958, having published two short stories, Douglas wrote the fictionalised version of ‘his war’, more for personal satisfaction than out of any hope of publication. A Prayer for the Ship was published in 1958, and marked the beginning of a remarkable career.

Ten years later, having established himself as one of the foremost modern sea story writers of his time, Douglas embarked on a new and challenging phase: a series of novels featuring one man and spanning the golden age of fighting sail. In June of 1968 To Glory We Steer was published under the pen name Alexander Kent, a childhood friend and fellow naval officer who was killed early in the war, and its solitary, sensitive, compassionate hero, Richard Bolitho, was introduced to an ever-growing readership.

Today, the exploits of Richard and Adam Bolitho feature in twenty-eight Alexander Kent novels, and the lives and deaths of other men, equally heroic, in thirty-five Reeman novels.

Douglas Reeman died in January of 2017.

Website

5 comments:

  1. Coronach is indeed a powerful story - it might not be for everyone as it is explicit where 'adult' scenes and language are concerned... but that is the truth behind these violent times of the past (and present come to that.) 'Nice' things do not follow in the wake of these tumultuous battles of our past and our heritage. It is not an easy novel to read (the truth is never easy) but it is a book very much worth reading! Thank you to Amy for being today's host.

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  2. Another excellent article, Kim, and a great inspiration for new authors to follow your 'Let the truth be told' mantra

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  3. We live multiple lives through reading, studying, imagining and writing the past. Between the husband and wife, Douglas and Kimberley, there were many lives imagined. Passages to the Past is well named - a sort of preview of human history.

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  4. To write it real you have to feel the pain and shed the tears. You have to bleed. Good work, Kimberley Reeman. An extraordinary novel, Coronach.

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  5. The writer's path is a lonely one, and without my soulmate mine is lonelier than most. Thank you for the lovely words, my friends, that lighten my darkness.
    Kim

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