Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Period Piece

As LP Hartley so famously put it: "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there".
When I set out to write a book about my two mothers ( my German birthmother and the English one who brought me up)  I never quite realized how much research it would entail.

circa 1912, 1954,1983

Here is Betty who appears in the story as Ruth. Then Elizabeth, the 'fortunate child' of the title, who appears as Jane, last Claudia (Julia in the book).

Here is Betty in the garden of her grandparents' house in England 
-- a privileged child circa 1915.

Garden of the architectural museum, Wroclaw. photo: Elizabeth Wix 1999

My research took me to Wroclaw in Poland, a city which had once been Breslau and a part of Germany until after the Second World War .

How busy the square is --the photo probably taken at the turn of the last century. The older parts of city have been beautifully restored after being almost entirely destroyed in 1945.

Breslau circa 1904
My story is about England and Germany, mothers and daughters, 
families, and a little about Europe's sad history.

This is Mall House in Faversham, Kent, called Fairleigh Lodge in the book,
 where some of the story takes place.

The drawing room of Mall House about 1952 --a house I only dimly remember. To me it is a quintessentially English house. Note the Victorian water colors, the loose covers, the flowers and the family photos in pride of place on the mantelpiece.

The book A Fortunate Child is now available as a download on iTunes here. or as real world book here. In both cases you can read the first thirty pages free  --by which time you will have some idea if you will enjoy reading the whole thing.


  1. Elizabeth, how wonderful to see those photos of your family. Your mother was beautiful when I met her in her old age, but she was stunning as a young child. I look forward to reading Fortunate Child. I have been waiting for this story for as long as I ahve known you.

  2. I'm really looking forward to reading it. I'm reading The Three Graces right now (and enjoying it).

  3. While reading your blog i felt like walking through the walking lanes of the past. Just an amazing experience.

  4. My sister has a huge collection of pictures of our family, she created even a family tree, I belive collecting memories about your roots is very positive

  5. Barbara:

    So glad you are enjoying The Three Graces.
    Pretty much the sort of life my friends lived as art students in the late sixties......
    I'm so lucky to have lived all over the place.

    My second book is much more serious.
    I'm always thrilled when I get
    feedback from readers. Like blogging, it's good to know
    that there is an audience somewhere out there!
    Thank you.

  6. I am drawn in to the lives of these ladies of your life. I look forward to reading your book, A Fortunate Child.

  7. YAHOO can't wait- just ordered it in the real world and shared it on facebook. Thanks Ms. E!

  8. This is a must have book!

    The history of Europe was so troubled. unimaginable almost. Our recent trip to venice brought it home to us when we visited the Ghetto.

  9. It's interesting how the borders there shifted over time. This sounds like a story with lots of beautiful detail, personal and historical.

  10. What an interesting post Elizabeth, love reading it. Have a day ahead.

  11. Elizabeth, I just blew through the preview and can't wait til I have a day or two free to read the real thing. I just love your writing. Your old photos are fantastic, too - I can't believe the quality!

  12. How wonderful to see the faces and places "for real"!!!! I love using my imagination first and then see how they match up. Pretty true, I would say.

    Working on a visit to NYC.

    Hope all is well.
    xo K


I look forward to hearing from you!