Watching the coverage of the commemoration of the D-Day Landings, I was reminded of the contribution young Australian men made to the air war and the defence of Britain in World War II. More than 10,000 Australians served with Bomber Command
And I was reminded of the history that underpins my fictional story of the wealthy Australian Belleville family.
Richard Belleville, the elder son and Julia Belleville’s brother, heads to Canada as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS), a Commonwealth scheme designed to address the shortfall of aircrew for the RAF.
Later, my fictional pilot Richard follows in the footsteps of many Australians with a posting to 460 SQN, a heavy bomber squadron (Nov 1941-Oct 1945) flying from RAF Binbrook in Linconshire. At 24, he would have been too old for Spitfires. Instead he flies the Avro Lancaster in bombing raids on Germany.
In his rare downtime, what else would a good-looking young Australian officer do but woo a beautiful young woman of aristocratic lineage?
Haldon Hall, Catherine Cavendish’s family home, is fictional but draws its inspiration from a number of fine country houses in England.
The action moves between Australia and England. And America too.
Which means Book 1 of my Belleville series – Julia’s Story – is far more than the story of Julia Belleville as she emerges into womanhood in wartime Australia.
It is also the story of her family. Her mother Elizabeth, her father Francis, her brothers Richard and William.
It is the story of events precipitated by war and complicated further by deception, a deception that impacts all their lives. It is a story that spans three continents. It begins in 1942 in book 1, Julia’s Story and ends in 1960 in book 3, Return to Prior Park.
For the first four chapters of each of the Belleville novels, go to jmarymasters.com and download the PDF.
British readers can buy Julia’s Story online from
BOOK 1 OF THE BELLEVILLE FAMILY SERIES
By J Mary Masters
Published by PMA Books * ISBN 9780994327642