There’s been a lot of discussion recently about removing statues and destroying parts of our history because it’s contentious. The sad fact is that most of our history is contentious, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taught. In fact, it’s all the more reason why it should be taught. Our history is the path we have taken to get where we are today, and it’s essential we recognise and learn from the mistakes our ancestors made for fear we repeat them.
Always, the driving force of ‘progress’ has been power, profit, exploitation, greed, and in some cases insanity. Always, the common person, the worker, the soldier, the devout, the slave, and the poor have been the ones to suffer, mainly because of their life conditioning, their lack of education, and the apathy that engenders. ‘While there are people willing to be oppressed, there will be people to oppress them.’
I’ve always found history fascinating, and as a writer mainly of historical fiction, I’ve had to research many parts of our past, including my own family’s, and have discovered many things that have shocked me greatly. It’s said history is written by the victors, and perhaps that is what needs setting right. I don’t write about leaders, or countesses in crinolines but prefer to look at those who were the innocent victims of power politics, colonialists, religious bigots, misogynists, and the industrial ‘slave masters’ of their age.
What I reveal is the lack of compassion, the blinkered views, the self-seekers, the ‘I was only following orders’, the cruelty, the intolerance, the total lack of understanding and empathy of men who declared war no matter how great the death toll, sent Jews and gypsies to death camps no matter how brutal the treatment, built colonies on convict labour no matter how small the crime, refused to allow inter-marriage between differing faiths no matter how great the love, or made huge profits from the sweated labour of men, women, and children no matter how close to starvation their pitiful wages forced them.
It’s not pretty reading, is it? Grim would be the correct term. But there’s another side to this story – the human story of those ordinary men, women, and children who endured throughout history with compassion, love, faith, and incredible resilience. Those who lived and died in the death camps of Auschwitz/Birkenau. The young farm lads and factory workers who fought in the deserts of Egypt and the mud of France in World War One and the girls they left behind. The lovers who dared to fall in love and defied their faiths, families, and the church law that forbade their marriage. The women chainmakers of the Black Country who fought the chain masters for tuppence ha’penny an hour at a time when they worked eleven hours a day and were starving. The women who fought for their rights at a time when they owned nothing, not even their own bodies, and were owned by their fathers and husbands as surely as slaves were owned by the slave masters.
My stories are tales of endurance, courage, faith, hope, and love. They are tales of the resilience of the human spirit to overcome iniquity against apparently insurmountable odds, and they have inspired me in my own life. I hope they inspire you in yours.
A review. ‘Few writers take the trouble to explore the struggles of working men and women. Fewer still can convey both the pain and the joy that accompanies true love and the acts of forgiveness that lasting love entails. Such acts are the beating heart of all of Bryn’s work.
From the evils of Auschwitz in “Touching the Wire” to the redemption of the torturer in the dystopian “Where Hope Dares” and now, with “Kindred and Affinity”, Bryn mines the lives of hard working people and their relationships to provide us with stories that go beyond entertainment and information to make us think about what really matters in our own lives.
History should be about much more than those who died in the effort to make our lives better, or their leaders. It is also about those who survived, not only to tell the tale but to do all those mundane tasks that are at the root of the gradual improvements in our health, housing, working conditions and education. Who knows what emotional turmoil framed their lives? Rebecca Bryn knows. Thanks to her, we can too.’ – Frank Parker, Medium.com
http://mybook.to/TouchingtheWire – the women and children of Auschwitz and a man who tried to save them.
http://mybook.to/OnDifferentShores – (Book 1 of For Their Country’s Good) exiled to Van Diemen’s Land and the girl prepared to sacrifice all to follow the man she loves.
http://mybook.to/FTCGboxset – (Books 1, 2, and 3 of For Their Country’s Good)
http://mybook.to/KindredandAffinity – can love prove stronger than family feuds, faith, and church law?
http://mybook.to/DandelionClock – Can Bill and Florrie’s love survive the horrors of war and five years apart?
http://mybook.to/ChainmakersDaughter – the women chainmakers of the Black Country and their fight for a living wage.
And then, of course, there’s the great Unrest of 1911 and the decades-long fight for women’s suffrage – the women who took on the government of the day to ensure women were allowed to vote – that and much more is my work-in-progress – The Chainmaker’s Wife, a sequel. Coming 2021 (with a fair wind)
Mystery Fiction: http://mybook.to/SilenceoftheStones – Alana inherits a cottage form an aunt she didn’t know existed. Why do the villagers close ranks against her, and what are they hiding?
Post-apocalyptic Fiction: http://mybook.to/WhereHopeDares – Kiya is kidnapped to fulfil an ancient prophecy and Raphel embarks on a 1000-mile journey to bring her home, but prophecy is dangerous and survival uncertain.
Non-Fiction: http://mybook.to/WatercolourSeascapes – a step-by-step guide to painting realistic seascapes in watercolour compiled by my alter-ego’s thirty years of painting experience.
Thank you for reading.