I had an interesting trip to Hornsey Town hall today as part of a TV documentary on Nazi women. The venue was chosen because of its remarkable 1930’s architecture, but while aspects of it are faintly redolent of the Third Reich, there is far more to this north London building. It’s tucked away in an underwhelming forecourt and at first glance it appears both neglected and ugly, yet as the first UK building to be constructed in the Modernist style (1933), its interior finishes, marble, wooden panelling and especially the lovely metalwork, are beautiful and inspiring. Well worth a look if you’re nearby.
We had a great evening at the Philip Mould gallery in Pall Mall, surrounded by glamorous portraits, to launch the paperback version of Faith and Beauty in the UK. Midway through the party Philip mentioned his fascinating discovery that the building which houses his gallery had, in the late 1930s, been the official Nazi travel bureau for journeys to the German Reich. It felt as though the past was reaching out to tap us on the shoulder! Here I am pre-party with Philip and Catherine Mould.
Glamour alert! Here is the cover for the French edition of The Winter Garden, on sale from this month. Impossibly chic, isn’t it?
So looking forward to the Faith and Beauty paperback hitting the shops on March 10th. The cover is a slight change of direction, but I think it captures the tension of Berlin just on the eve of war. The planes in the sky look particularly ominous. The story is set in April 1939 and opens at Hitler’s fiftieth birthday parade, which was the biggest military parade Germany had ever seen. The plot surrounds the murder of a young woman who belongs to the Faith and Beauty society – a kind of Nazi finishing school for girls who wanted to polish their social skills before launching into marriage. And Clara finds herself tasked with her most daunting mission to date…..
I’m much looking forward to discussing Historical Fiction – what it is, how and why we write it – and talking about the world of Clara Vine in the appropriately historical surroundings of the National Liberal Club. All alongside the highly talented Emma Darwin and Mathew Plampin, courtesy of the Authors’ Club. Tickets here! https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/history-fiction-and-the-writer-tickets-19358852850
This rather small room with knotted oak panelling and wrought iron fittings was where Eva Braun entertained her friends and held the wedding reception for her sister Gretl