Parents’ love tale inspires a trilogy

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A Lewes author has drawn on her mother’s experiences living in India to pen her latest novels, called Daisy’s War.

Merryn Allingham has published six Regency romances under the name of Isabelle Goddard, but now has a new writing name and a new genre - a suspense trilogy, set in India and wartime London during the 1930s and 1940s.

Merryn drew inspiration for the literary series when she was cleaning out some old cupboards and found her parents’ marriage certificate.

Her parents met when they were sixteen at a dance in a church hall, before her father was sent off to India with the army. Merryn’s mother travelled to India in April 1937 and was married in St John’s Afghan Church in what was then Bombay to her father, whom she had not seen for six years. She then spent a number of years as an officer’s wife, attending army functions and living in the officers’ mess.

Merryn said: “In the 1930s, most people rarely ventured far beyond their home. I tried to imagine how it must have been for a working class girl, who had never been further from London than a day at the Southend seaside, to travel to such an alien world and marry a man she hadn’t seen for six years. Out of that imagining came my heroine. Daisy is reunited with her lover far more quickly, but she faces many of the same hazards in settling to her new life in India.”

Merryn spent her childhood on the move. In her twenties she escaped from an unloved secretarial career to take to the skies as cabin crew and see the rest of the world.

After marriage, Merryn decided to return to school and go to university – all the way to a PhD in English Literature. Once she retired from a teaching career, she found her next challenge: writing historical fiction.

The first book of the Daisy’s War Trilogy, called Daisy’s Long Road Home, is published on September 4.

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