Category: HISTORICAL FICTION

PETER PAN – STILL SAVING LITTLE CHILDREN

Colin Falconer, romance, adventure, bestseller, historical fiction

Come meet me at the Falconer Club, for exclusive excerpts and to get Advanced Review copies. JUST CLICK THE LOGO ABOVE!

You would not think that researching a crime novel would lead a writer to Peter Pan.

Peter Pan

photo: Nigel Cox

But the trail definitively ended with the boy who never grew up. A crucial scene of my novel takes place in Saint Christopher’s Chapel in the Great Ormond Street Hospital and, once I was there, well – his fingerprints were all over it.

The Great Ormond Street Hospital is the largest centre for child heart surgery in Britain. It has been a trail-blazer in many areas of paediatric medicine – in 1962, staff there developed the first heart and lung bypass machine for children, and with the help of popular children’s author, Roald Dahl, they also developed an improved shunt valve for children with hydrocephalus.

The hospital itself was founded in 1852, with just ten beds, and was the first to provide in-hospital care just for children in England. Since then, patrons have included Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens and Princess Diana.

Peter Pan, GOSH

Saint Christopher’s Chapel
photo: Colin Falconer

The astonishing St Christopher’s Chapel was built 23 years later.

Peter Pan, GOSHIt was designed by Edward Barry, son of the man who designed the Houses of Parliament. He donated his services in memory of one of his own children, who had died in infancy.

It was built in an elaborate Franco-Italianate style, with a terrazzo floor designed by Antonio Salviati, who used the pavement in St Mark’s Basilica in Venice as his inspiration.

As it was intended to provide a place of prayer for the families of sick children, many of its details keep to that theme. The stained glass in the chapel, for instance, depicts the Nativity and Jesus’s childhood.

What really sets the chapel apart is the row of teddy bears and other soft toys on a ledge behind the altar, left behind by families of sick children, and known as the “Teddy Bear Choir”. Unfortunately, the day we visited, the teddy bears had been removed for cleaning. I guess some of them have been cuddling up there for a very long time.

There is also a prayer tree where prayers can be left for sick children at the hospital.

The chapel is both moving and astonishing at the same time.

And the connection to Peter Pan?

Peter Pan,John Barrie, the author of the book and the play, had supported the hospital for many years and in 1929 he was asked to sit on a committee to help build a much-needed new wing of the hospital. He declined, but said he might be able to help in another way. Two months later, the board was stunned to discover that Barrie had donated the royalties from Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street.

His only caveat was that the amount raised for the hospital never be revealed, and the Board has always honoured that promise.

But it was an extravagant gift.

The House of Lords sprinkled more fairy dust on it in 1988, when it voted for a special clause to be inserted in the Copyright Designs & Patents Act, that would allow the hospital the right to those royalties in perpetuity.

You can visit the chapel at any time. But to find out why it’s so important to my novel, you’ll have to wait until publication in October next year – when no doubt, I will remind you again.

Until then, stay young.

the prayer tree
photo: Colin Falconer

When fiery and idealistic Kitty O’Kane escapes the crushing poverty of Dublin’s tenements, she’s determined that no one should ever suffer like she did. As she sets out to save the world, she finds herself at the forefront of events that shaped the early twentieth century. While working as a maid, she survives the sinking of the Titanic. As a suffragette in New York’s Greenwich Village, she’s jailed for breaking storefront windows. And traveling war-torn Europe as a journalist, she’s at the Winter Palace when it’s stormed by the Bolsheviks. Ultimately she returns to her homeland to serve as a nurse in the Irish Civil War.

During Kitty’s remarkable journey, she reunites with her childhood sweetheart, Tom Doyle, but Tom doesn’t know everything about her past—a past that continues to haunt her. Will Kitty accept that before she can save everyone else, she needs to find a way to save herself? Or will the sins of her past stop her from pursuing her own happiness?

colin falconer, sleeping with the enemy, fury, jerusalem, freedom

COLIN FALCONER

Colin Falconer, romance, adventure, bestseller, historical fiction

Come meet me at the Falconer Club, for exclusive excerpts and to get Advanced Review copies. JUST CLICK THE PICTURE ABOVE!

WHAT IS STRONGER – LOVE OR HATE?

Colin Falconer, romance, adventure, bestseller, historical fiction

Come meet me at the Falconer Club, for exclusive excerpts and to get Advanced Review copies. JUST CLICK THE PICTURE ABOVE!

What is stronger – love or hate?

Not everyone will have the same answer, depending on their life’s experience so far, their view of the world and life itself.

But it’s a question that intrigues me, and led to the writing of SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY.

Because who are we really? We have an identity imposed upon us; we don’t choose whether we are born black or white, rich or poor, Muslim or Christian. It’s just an accident of birth.

Yet 7 billion of us cling to these identities as if they describe who we are.

But who we love – well, that can be a choice.

romeo and juliet, romance, love storyLasting love often happens when two people find the best version of themselves.

But what happens when the person who is most like you in the world is unlike you in every other way? When they are born to someone you have been taught to hate?

Where then, does the heart lead?

Shakespeare first posed the question in Romeo and Juliet. (Though I still have a problem with two horny teenagers actually challenging the status quo over a period of three days.)

Still, that story, as metaphor, has imprinted itself on the western psyche.

But four hundred years later the question remains; if we are brought to the edge, as my two lovers are in SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY, do we follow the tribe – or do we follow our hearts?

Palestine 1933 — Jews flood into the country fleeing persecution in Europe, settling the land that has for centuries belonged to the local Arab muktars.

Sarah Landauer and Rishou Hass’an are divided by the barbed wire of the kibbutz and by their religion yet still fall in love. But as tensions rise in the country, the two are torn apart.

A decade later, Sarah works for the Haganah, the outlawed Jewish intelligence service; Rishou is in Jerusalem, trying to stay out of a war he does not believe in. But as the whole country descends into chaos, they find each other again, and cannot stay apart.

Then the British leave for good, and the Jews and Arabs prepare for the final battle of Jerusalem. Sarah and Rishou meet in secret, keeping their affair hidden even from those that they love. But finally, they must face their final agonizing destiny, forced to choose between their love for each other and their loyalty and duty to their own people.

What is the right choice?

romeo and juliet, romance, love story

 

colin falconer, sleeping with the enemy, fury, jerusalem, freedom

Colin Falconer, romance, adventure, bestseller, historical fiction

Come meet me at the Falconer Club, for exclusive excerpts and to get Advanced Review copies. JUST CLICK THE PICTURE ABOVE!

 

DISAPPEARED: THE MOST TERRIBLE SECRET IN THE WORLD

COLIN FALCONER, FACEBOOK, BEST SELLING AUTHOR, ROMANCE, ADVENTURE, HISTORICAL FICTION

Come and join me at the Falconer Club, for selected excerpts and to get free Exclusive Review Copies of my books. JUST CLICK THE FACEBOOK LOGO AT TOP RIGHT!

What is the worst secret your mother and father could hide from you?

Go on. Try to think of something.

Then try to imagine how you would feel if you were Ignacio Hurban.

Agencia de Noticias ANDES

source: Agencia de Noticias ANDES

Ignacio had always felt that there was a mystery about his past that his parents were hiding from him.

It was no more than that. A hunch.

But one day he went to a testing centre established for those who believed they might be one of the hidden victims of Argentine’s so-called ‘Dirty War’ in the seventies.

On August 5 2014, Ignacio received a phone call informing him that DNA tests had proved his hunch correct.

His ‘parents’ had kept a monstrous secret from him for almost forty years.

He was told he was actually the grandson of a woman called Estela Carlotto – Argentina’s most famous grandmother.

Archivo Hasenberg-Quaretti 3

source: Archivo Hasenberg-Quaretti

Carlotto is the head of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an organization founded to publicize the ongoing search for more than five hundred babies stolen from political prisoners during Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship of the late seventies.

The organization worked with testing centers, such as the one Ignacio had attended, using modern forensic science to help find the missing children.

Carlotto’s organization had managed to trace 113 of these children.
Archivo Hasenberg-Quaretti

Archivo Hasenberg-Quaretti

Finally, in 2014, she got the phone call she had been waiting for. Hurban was the grandson she herself had been desperately searching for.

Hurban was actually the son of Walmir Montoya and Laura Carlotto, leftist activists abducted by government agents in 1977. Laura gave birth while in prison; she was murdered shortly after.

As an infant, Hurban was handed over to two farm workers by their employer, who had close ties to the military junta.

Clemente Hurban and Juana Rodríguez raised him as their own son.
Archivo Hasenberg-Quaretti 2

Archivo Hasenberg-Quaretti

Hurban – now Ignacio Montoya Carlotto – still speaks of them with some fondness. They had loved him and cared for him and given him a good life. Why should he hate them?

And Estela Carlotta has described just how difficult it has been for them both to sort through his tangled identity. With one phone call her grandson lost his identity, as he knew it, and now has to grapple with truths more difficult than most of us could ever contemplate.

Unimaginable? Yes.

Yet for hundreds of men and women, the secret still remains hidden, even today …

Postscript: Clemente Hurban and Juana Rodríguez have recently been indicted and charged with “ideological falsification” and “altering the civil status” of a minor. The doctor who signed the apocryphal birth certificate has also been charged.

DISAPPEARED, ARGENTINE, DIRTY WAR, romance, adventure, historical fiction, historical romance, vatican bank

Based on a true story, this haunting and poignant thriller will leave you wondering until the final pages as you accompany a young woman on a journey into her own dark past.

 

COLIN FALCONER

Colin Falconer, romance, adventure, bestseller, historical fiction

Come meet me at the Falconer Club, for exclusive excerpts and the chance to win copies of my books. JUST CLICK THE PICTURE ABOVE!

WHAT ARE THE ODDS? SHE SURVIVED THE TITANIC, THE OLYMPIA AND THE BRITTANIA!

COLIN FALCONER, FACEBOOK, BEST SELLING AUTHOR, ROMANCE, ADVENTURE, HISTORICAL FICTION

Come and join me at the Falconer Club, for selected excerpts and to get free Exclusive Review Copies of my books. JUST CLICK ON THE IMAGE OR THE FACEBOOK LOGO AT TOP RIGHT!

As any old sea dog will tell you, it’s unlucky to have a woman on board ship.

483px-Violet_jessop_titanicBut in the case of Violet Jessop, you’d have to say the old sea dogs have a point – she was on board the Titanic, the Olympia and the Brittania, and they all sunk.

Violet started life as a landlubber, her parents were Irish sheep farmers living in Bahia Blanca in Argentine. Violet was a born survivor from the get-go; three of her nine siblings did not live beyond infancy. She herself developed tuberculosis when she was a child and doctors said she would die.

But she didn’t. As events would later prove, Violet was pretty much unsinkable. Continue reading

THE STIGMATA THROUGH HISTORY – REAL OR FAKE?

COLIN FALCONER, FACEBOOK, BEST SELLING AUTHOR, ROMANCE, ADVENTURE, HISTORICAL FICTION

Come and join me at the Falconer Club, for selected excerpts and to get free Exclusive Review Copies of my books. JUST CLICK THE FACEBOOK LOGO AT TOP RIGHT!

He had open wounds on his hands and feet for fifty years.

They sometimes bled, but they never became infected. He also had a wound in his side, that few people saw, which also bled. His religious services would often last hours; he didn’t just say the Mass, he lived it.

He was credited with performing miracles of healing, bilocation and levitation yet was persecuted by his own Church during his lifetime and even banned from saying Mass. Later they made him a saint. Continue reading

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