Literary Locations of Hazel Gaynor
Travelling to the literary locations of Hazel Gaynor
Hazel Gaynor is a remarkable writer. Whatever she writes about and which ever characters she introduces me too, I feel as if I know them and soon start to care about them. The places she takes me too are very different from one book to the next. One minute I’m with fairy folk in Yorkshire, and in this latest book I am in a real life school in China, about to be invaded by the Japanese. Where else does Hazel Gaynor allow you to travel via her books?
A damp Yorkshire glen and two girls up to mischief. Or were they? They claimed to have photographed real life fairy folk in the garden near their home. Cameras were in their infancy then so no chance of Photoshop trickery here. A real life tale that even got the likes of Conan Doyle interested. Yorkshire, the rural landscape, the fairy glens and the small village where the girls lived….just lovely.
Again a real life story and woman by the name of Grace Darling. This was the local heroine who spotted men in danger in the water and who then sailed out to save them. The book captures the spirit and feeling of the time, but also the wild and raw Northumberland landscape. It really pays homage to the area – visit the Grace Darling museum at Bamburgh if you can.
London – Hotels and Violets
Two novels here set in London but showcasing two very different time periods and settings. One a hotel – the Savoy no less in 1920s and the other, in the famous Covent Garden market in 1867 and 1912. Two stories of one city but showing many faces. The haves and the have nots – London’s flower girls are orphaned and crippled children living on the grimy streets and selling posies of violets and watercress to survive. In The Girl from the Savoy hotel – you see the dancing, the wealth and the dazzling lights of the city.
The novel starts in Ireland in 1912 but we all sadly know where the story ends. Hazel once again takes a true story and wraps it up in her own literary magic. I’ve read lots of novels set on the Titanic but this is a special one as it’s got a very raw human angle. Hazel has based this novel on a true story of the Addergoole Fourteen, a group of men and women from County Mayo, Ireland and woven it into a tale of realistic heartbreak and human perseverance.
Then there’s this one – her latest novel….
Hazel what are you doing to me? A true story of how a school of young children and their teachers was invaded by the Japanese in wartime. They are too young to know exactly what is going on, but their teachers see the real danger and do their best to protect them. They make their days into a kind of adventure and ensure what little food they have, they give to the children. Heartbreaking reading but oh so good writing and a feeling that you’re humbled by what you have learned.
If you’re looking for historical fiction set around the world, in stories taken straight from the history books, but with literary magic woven into them – Hazel Gaynor is your writer.
She takes you to real life settings with real life human interest stories. Remarkable.