A Place To Call Home by Evie Grace #GuestPost #BlogTour

East Kent, 1876
With doting parents and siblings she adores, sixteen-year-old Rose Cheevers leads a contented life at Willow Place in Canterbury. A bright future ahead of her, she dreams of following in her mother’s footsteps and becoming a teacher.
Then one traumatic day turns the Cheevers’ household upside-down. What was once a safe haven has become a place of peril, and Rose is forced to flee with the younger children. Desperate, she seeks refuge in a remote village with a long lost grandmother who did not know she existed.
But safety comes at a price, and the arrival of a young stranger with connections to her past raises uncomfortable questions about what the future holds. Somehow, Rose must find the strength to keep her family together. Above all else, though, she needs a place to call home.

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for A Place To Call Home by Evie Grace today, the final book in her Maids of Kent trilogy following Half A Sixpence and Her Mother's Daughter. Many thanks to Becky McCarthy and Arrow for inviting me and for Evie for writing a guest post about her inspiration for A Place To Call Home.

Where the Inspiration for A Place to Call Home came from

I was inspired to write the Maids of Kent series by the stories passed down through my family and from my father’s memoirs, along with my own experiences of the county that’s also known as the Garden of England with its strawberry fields, orchards and hop gardens. One of my first memories is of picking cherries with my grandfather while walking his black Labrador between the long rows of fruit trees on the farm he managed near Selling.
One of my grandmothers came from a family of seven children who lived in a tiny house in Canterbury. The boys and girls had to sleep in one bed, top to tail, and their father grew vegetables to supplement his meagre income. Their mother – my great grandmother –  cooked from scratch, using the cheaper ingredients such as tripe and onions. She was strict, austere and resourceful, and an inspiration for some of my characters. 
If you’ve read Her Mother’s Daughter, you will have already been introduced to the Canterbury tannery belonging to Mr Cheevers. The tannery plays a part in A Place to Call Home as well. Rose is brought up there with her ma, stepfather, adopted brother, half brother and half sister, and I can’t help wondering how they coped with the ever-present stench of the leather being cured in the tanning pits. 
I can remember passing the tannery when I used to visit Canterbury to stay with my grandparents – it’s gone now, replaced by flats. One of my great-great grandfathers was a tanner who died from picking up tuberculosis - or consumption as it was known in Queen Victoria’s time – from the hides. Tanning was a risky but essential business, turning otherwise useless hides into leather that was used to make saddlery, boots and beautiful white kid gloves. 
I hope you enjoy Rose’s story.
Evie Grace x

How lovely to have been inspired by your own family! Thank you so much for this fascinating post, Evie.

A Place To Call Home is published by Arrow and can be purchased here. Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Evie Grace was born in Kent, and one of her earliest memories is of picking cherries with her grandfather who managed a fruit farm near Selling. Holidays spent in the Kent countryside and the stories passed down through her family inspired her to write Half a Sixpence.
Evie now lives in Devon with her partner and dog. She has a grown-up daughter and son.
She loves researching the history of the nineteenth century and is very grateful for the invention of the washing machine, having discovered how the Victorians struggled to do their laundry. A Place To Call Home is Evie’s third novel in the Maids of Kent trilogy.
Website  Twitter  Facebook