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About the author


Joy Coutts is a copyeditor, proofreader, and author of "A Missing Mother". In this first of two novels, she explores the experience of the childhood loss of a parent and the lifelong scars of grief and sadness that leaves. Joy was nearly five years old when her mother Valerie died, aged only 25 years. Joy was far too young to understand the thoughts and emotions of losing a parent at an incredibly young age. It teaches a child either to believe in fairy tales and happily ever after, or it gives them a strong sense of self preservation and survival. Either way there is always hope of finding a path through life. Fast forward to grown up life. Over twenty years of writing daily reports in the corporate business banking industry honed her writing skills. As Joy approached a significant half century birthday, she realized she knew little about the woman who had given birth to her. Family snippets of information collected over the years painted a hazy picture of a woman with a strong character, a caring and friendly personality, but little more than that. And so, eventually, Valerie faded from memory. She was 'missing'. After completing two creative writing courses, Joy felt empowered to share her story of loss and grief. Joy recounts what it feels like to be a child without a mother. The fictional backdrop of her story was created out of Joy's deep interest in the rapid change of the role of women in the war years. She particularly highlights the bravery of the women, although classed as civilians at the time, who served with the Special Operations Executive. Born in Darlaston and grew up in the West Midlands, UK she has lived in the beautiful north east of England for nearly 40 years. When she is not writing or working with other writers words, she walks, practices yoga and meditation, and sea dips at her local beaches.
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A Missing Mother
A Story of Childhood Loss
by Joy Coutts

Overview


This is the first novel in a series that explores Stories of Childhood Loss and Hope. It sends a message out to anyone who has experienced the emotional pain of childhood loss that you are not alone in your grief. The fictional story of little Marianne Bouchard set in 1942/43 through 2000 sees events through her eyes of growing up and then her grown up life – all experienced without her mother. Intertwined with this is Valérie's wartime story, her missing mother. It reveals the experiences of a woman's role within the Women's Auxiliary Air Force or WAAF and Special Operations Executive during World War II. A life that her daughter discovers the previously unknown and uplifting truth about 57 years later. Was Valérie really who she thought she was? What secrets about the War had her grandmother Winnie kept hidden? From her dining room table, Marianne begins an investigation linking events and clues, then embarks on a journey of discovery to find the missing mother she never knew.
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Description


The backdrop of Valérie's wartime story tells of the bravery and courage of the women agents who served in the Special Operations Executive. In fighting for freedom and peace from the Nazi regime, many of them never returned to their homes and families. These women played their amazing – if unbelievably true – part in defeating the tyranny in 1940's Europe. The story of the female SOE operatives is as fascinating as it is harrowing. They were ordinary women – wives, sisters, daughters, mothers. The sad and disturbing element of this is the fact that the real, detailed story of most of these women did not receive the public or authorities' recognition of their commitment and bravery until many years later. The author pays homage to these brave souls and their contribution to peace and freedom.

Read more

Overview


This is the first novel in a series that explores Stories of Childhood Loss and Hope. It sends a message out to anyone who has experienced the emotional pain of childhood loss that you are not alone in your grief. The fictional story of little Marianne Bouchard set in 1942/43 through 2000 sees events through her eyes of growing up and then her grown up life – all experienced without her mother. Intertwined with this is Valérie's wartime story, her missing mother. It reveals the experiences of a woman's role within the Women's Auxiliary Air Force or WAAF and Special Operations Executive during World War II. A life that her daughter discovers the previously unknown and uplifting truth about 57 years later. Was Valérie really who she thought she was? What secrets about the War had her grandmother Winnie kept hidden? From her dining room table, Marianne begins an investigation linking events and clues, then embarks on a journey of discovery to find the missing mother she never knew.

Read more

Description


The backdrop of Valérie's wartime story tells of the bravery and courage of the women agents who served in the Special Operations Executive. In fighting for freedom and peace from the Nazi regime, many of them never returned to their homes and families. These women played their amazing – if unbelievably true – part in defeating the tyranny in 1940's Europe. The story of the female SOE operatives is as fascinating as it is harrowing. They were ordinary women – wives, sisters, daughters, mothers. The sad and disturbing element of this is the fact that the real, detailed story of most of these women did not receive the public or authorities' recognition of their commitment and bravery until many years later. The author pays homage to these brave souls and their contribution to peace and freedom.

Read more

Book details

Genre:FICTION

Subgenre:Historical

Language:English

Series title:Stories of Childhood Loss and Hope

Series Number:1

Pages:296

eBook ISBN:9781098383541

Paperback ISBN:9781098383534


Overview


This is the first novel in a series that explores Stories of Childhood Loss and Hope. It sends a message out to anyone who has experienced the emotional pain of childhood loss that you are not alone in your grief. The fictional story of little Marianne Bouchard set in 1942/43 through 2000 sees events through her eyes of growing up and then her grown up life – all experienced without her mother. Intertwined with this is Valérie's wartime story, her missing mother. It reveals the experiences of a woman's role within the Women's Auxiliary Air Force or WAAF and Special Operations Executive during World War II. A life that her daughter discovers the previously unknown and uplifting truth about 57 years later. Was Valérie really who she thought she was? What secrets about the War had her grandmother Winnie kept hidden? From her dining room table, Marianne begins an investigation linking events and clues, then embarks on a journey of discovery to find the missing mother she never knew.

Read more

Description


The backdrop of Valérie's wartime story tells of the bravery and courage of the women agents who served in the Special Operations Executive. In fighting for freedom and peace from the Nazi regime, many of them never returned to their homes and families. These women played their amazing – if unbelievably true – part in defeating the tyranny in 1940's Europe. The story of the female SOE operatives is as fascinating as it is harrowing. They were ordinary women – wives, sisters, daughters, mothers. The sad and disturbing element of this is the fact that the real, detailed story of most of these women did not receive the public or authorities' recognition of their commitment and bravery until many years later. The author pays homage to these brave souls and their contribution to peace and freedom.

Read more

About the author


Joy Coutts is a copyeditor, proofreader, and author of "A Missing Mother". In this first of two novels, she explores the experience of the childhood loss of a parent and the lifelong scars of grief and sadness that leaves. Joy was nearly five years old when her mother Valerie died, aged only 25 years. Joy was far too young to understand the thoughts and emotions of losing a parent at an incredibly young age. It teaches a child either to believe in fairy tales and happily ever after, or it gives them a strong sense of self preservation and survival. Either way there is always hope of finding a path through life. Fast forward to grown up life. Over twenty years of writing daily reports in the corporate business banking industry honed her writing skills. As Joy approached a significant half century birthday, she realized she knew little about the woman who had given birth to her. Family snippets of information collected over the years painted a hazy picture of a woman with a strong character, a caring and friendly personality, but little more than that. And so, eventually, Valerie faded from memory. She was 'missing'. After completing two creative writing courses, Joy felt empowered to share her story of loss and grief. Joy recounts what it feels like to be a child without a mother. The fictional backdrop of her story was created out of Joy's deep interest in the rapid change of the role of women in the war years. She particularly highlights the bravery of the women, although classed as civilians at the time, who served with the Special Operations Executive. Born in Darlaston and grew up in the West Midlands, UK she has lived in the beautiful north east of England for nearly 40 years. When she is not writing or working with other writers words, she walks, practices yoga and meditation, and sea dips at her local beaches.

Read more

Book Reviews

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Alison
Totally absorbing It is over a month since I finished this book and it is a testament to the author’s ability in bringing her characters to life, that I miss them. In the murky world of war time espionage, we expect there to be unanswered questions, unclear goals and in this novel, we are guided through the risks and reality of what needs to be done as if we were there. The acts of faith that these wartime heroes took in order to protect future generations is expertly described and we feel their every emotion. I liked the parallel with Marianne, where as a child you are not quite sure what’s going on, with the actions of the adults who are equally unsure of what the world will become because of war. Being so invested in the characters, my heart ached for, the now adult, Marianne to be happy. At the end I am left feeling enormously proud of her mother, Valerie, but curious to know more about her life. A great read, a timeless story. Highly recommended. Read more
Kristina
A Missing Mother I couldn't put the book down. A missing mother and loss is a little misleading and could I suppose be like many other books where the key element is a missing parent but DON'T let that put you off. This story is different because the back story is innovative and interesting. As you progress through the story it takes you seamlessly through past and present to tell a compelling tale of duty, sacrifice, love loss, and emense pride. 10/10 Read more
Annika
Amazing book. What a fabulous read! The storyline was so gripping, I couldn’t put it down, it is a real page turner. I love the two perspectives through the book and interlinking storylines, as well as the mention of the famous pie made by your nan Winnie… I felt connected to each character and invested in what might happen to them next in the storyline. If you’re after a new read, this is definitely the one for you! Read more
Lesley
A Missing Mother by Joy Coutts A new perspective. Before reading this book I knew very little about the SOE and the role they had in WW2.  I remember watching the film Carve Her Name with Pride with my late grandmother when I was a young girl and being moved by the story that left a lasting impression. Nearly 40 years later, I found myself reading a story based on these amazing people, but not just from the perspective of the selfless and courageous heroine, but also just as importantly, from those left behind, who missed out on so many memories many of us have of their loved ones, and take for granted in our daily lives. Valerie, Winnie and Marianne were all heroines in that they all had to overcome loss and coming to terms with their loved ones being missing from their lives. A very thought provoking and emotional read. Would definitely recommend. Read more
Joanne
A Missing Mother I love books about life during the war so was really looking forward to this and it didn’t disappoint. From the word go I was so absorbed in finding out what had happened to Valerie that I had to stop myself from racing to the finish. Thoroughly absorbing, I felt Mariannes sense of loss and bewilderment. As a Geordie I totally identified with Mike in the office and loved the dialect. Would love to read a second book in the same vein maybe letting us know more about the work of the resistance moving people through the mountains. A great read Read more
Lindsay
A Missing Mother - A story of childhood loss A great read , couldn’t put it down. ! Lindsay Read more
Jayne
A Missing Mother by Joy Coutts. I aimed to read this book a chapter at a time during my vacation,however,once I started to read I was totally absorbed and couldn't put the book down if I tried.I became thoroughly engrossed in the storyline and found it easy to identify with all the characters involved,I not only gained historical knowledge from the context,but also found great empathy and understanding of the heartache and grief a child would endure on the loss of a parent. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone to read,both young and old and I know that they would echo my opinions and hopefully enlighten others.Grief touches us all at some point in our lives,by reading this book it not only helps you realise that we are not alone in our suffering but also to empathise with others as they come to terms with loss. Read more
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