The North Hill Novels

1960s Danelectro Doubleneck
1960s Danelectro Doubleneck

Your principal host at North Hill Farm is Chris, a former journalist who started offering accommodation in 2002 while she was still editing a regional farming paper. By 2004 the B&B had become so popular she had to make the decision whether or not to struggle on doing both jobs.

But she hasn’t given up writing and in between cooking the breakfasts and in the quieter periods she’s found time to write two novels under the pen name Frances Brand.

Her second book is Adam’s Ark, a story set a decade in the future when the world is hit by a new disaster, all too credible with the increasing impact of climate change on the environment.

Weather patterns become more erratic, from extreme heat to long periods of monsoon-like rainfall. Large parts of the world are inundated and in a flood of apocalyptic proportions anywhere on high ground becomes a refuge from the rising water.

The first novel Thorns is set in 1990s Shropshire and the county’s beautiful countryside is almost as much a personality as the human characters involved.

A tribute to Shropshire        

It moves between there and war-torn Bosnia during the siege of Sarajevo. A dark tale with two entwining love stories, it follows a war correspondent who becomes involved with a woman in the siege. Traumatised after her death he seeks refuge in the apparent peace of the countryside. But the tranquillity of his small farm is an illusion and an act of kindness to a vulnerable girl drags him into a family dispute which erupts into callous brutality.

Chris began writing Thorns when the siege of Sarajevo was at its height. "Something about the awful situation in the Balkans just got into my head, I found it hard to understand how all this could be happening again in the last decade of the 20th-century and nobody seemed very concerned about it. But it was a very busy time for me and the book wasn't going as I wanted and I ditched it. Coming back to it with the benefit of hindsight, the continuing search for missing victims in Bosnia and the genocide trials at The Hague have pulled it all into perspective.

“You could say the novel is partly a tribute to Shropshire and its wonderful landscape. The county is a bit of a time warp which is part of its attraction.
“The Shropshire landscape really gets under your skin. Visitors are just wowed by it. I'm lucky to look out every day on a magnificent view which is constantly changing. I've lived here for more than thirty years and have developed a love for the county.”
 
THORNS and ADAM’S ARK are available in paperback, direct from the author or on line and from bookshops. Also available as ebooks.

Thorns and Adam's Ark by Frances Brand

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Amazon Review

Five star review on Amazon
Excellent, tragic drama switching between Shropshire and 1990s Bosnia.
18 November 2018
Format: Kindle Edition

This story kept me gripped right through to the shocking end and left me thinking much more about the contrast between the natural world and the cruelty, jealousy and greed that man imposes upon it. The drama unfolds against the backdrop of the raw beauty of Shropshire and the tragedy that was 1990s Bosnia. The hidden rivalries and misplaced loyalties that exist just below the surface in the small rural community are laid out skilfully by the author. The conflict in Bosnia is used very effectively to demonstrate the extremes of rivalry and prejudice within communities and how we often naively think that we, in our own villages are safe and protected. One assumes that the author has a love and knowledge of nature and farming as these form a significant and convincing part of the novel. I loved this book and would thoroughly recommend it to those who enjoy nature, love and raw drama.

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