Wartime drama becomes bestseller for Shenley author
PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 September 2015
A relative's wartime experiences, woven into one of the most remarkable legal cases of the 20th Century, have helped an author become a Kindle best seller.
Rosalie Simons, of Shenley, has written Fay’s War, a story about a young Jewish girl, Fay Abrams, set in a fashionable Mayfair store in wartime London.
Fay’s War has been hailed as a success on Amazon, the world’s biggest online book store.
The digital version of the novel reached the number one spot on Amazon within the literature (Jewish) genre in August.
Readers are taken back to 1940 when Fay, a Jewish girl plagued by visions of things before they happen and who works as a salesgirl in a hat shop, is threatened with imprisonment.
Rosalie explained: “Inspiration came first from my aunt’s wartime diaries. I owe much to her for those precious snippets which so vividly describe the manners, language and social history of the times.
“During the war, my aunt worked in a hat shop in Mayfair and from her diaries, written in cheap exercise books from Woolworths, I learned about attitudes to class and discovered how people carried on with their lives in the face of danger.”
The author added: “It was when I began researching this period that I came across the extraordinary story of Helen Duncan.
“In 1944, tried by jury at the Old Bailey, the unfortunate woman was found guilty of contravening the 1735 Witchcraft Act. The discovery that such an archaic act was even still on the statutes and not actually repealed until 1951 caught my imagination.”
Thus Rosalie read everything she could find about the case, and learned that Winston Churchill, in a memo to then Home Secretary Herbert Morrison “described it as ‘obsolete tomfoolery’ and it was then that Fay’s story began to take shape.