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At the Stroke of Nine O'Clock: A chance meeting. An unlikely alliance. A common cause. Kindle Edition
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A foreboding sense of doom lingers on every page, capturing the unforgiving social mores and oppression.' ~ The Lady Magazine
'Another triumph from indie author Jane Davis in this gloriously gritty novel that engages head-on with a post-war London struggling to re-boot itself and wider society.' ~
'This is a well-crafted story that brilliantly depicts the place of women in post-war England and the injustices they suffered.' ~ Grace Masso for Reader's Favourite
'An extraordinary novel so rich and detailed you emerge feeling as if you've just watched a classic film.' ~ JJ Marsh, author
'I didn't so much read as consume this book.' ~ Vivienne Tufnell, author
'You are in the sure hands of a mistress of the written word.' ~ Alison Morton, author
'An author in total control of her craft.' ~ Martin Hamilton
'Perfectly captures the spirit of an age, the transition between pre- and post-war Britain and the changing role of women.' ~ Kathleen Jones, author
'Before the reform of an archaic legal system, before second-wave feminism, before the #MeToo movement, the idea that the future is yours to make as a woman is an illusion.' ~ Book Witch
'One of the best books I've read this year.' ~ Denny
'Portrays the gut-wrenching unfairness of life with ironies and bad timing worthy of Hardy. But there is always the possibility of redemption.' ~ Jean Gill, author
'An exceptional writer with a unique voice' ~ Bookaholic
'An author who always delivers the goods.' ~ Ali Bacon, author
'Davis has a light touch. She writes with subtlety and nuance. And she does something many writers of literary fiction fail to do: she tells a good story.' ~ Put It In Writing Book Blog
'Davis isn't just good; she's phenomenally good.' ~ Debra Hewitt
About the Author
Her first novel, 'Half-Truths and White Lies', won an award which aimed to find 'the next Joanne Harris'. Further recognition followed in 2016 with 'An Unknown Woman' being named Self-Published Book of the Year by Writing Magazine/the David St John Thomas Charitable Trust, and in 2019 with 'Smash all the Windows' winning the inaugural Selfies Book Award.
Interested in how people behave under pressure, Jane introduces her characters when they are in highly volatile situations and then, in her words, she throws them to the lions. The themes she explores are diverse, ranging from pioneering female photographers, to relatives seeking justice for the victims of a fictional disaster.
Her latest novel, 'At the Stroke of Nine O'Clock', was published in July 2020. Set in post-war London, and featuring three very different women whose worlds collide, it has been featured by The Lady Magazine as one of their favourite books set in the 1950s, selected as a Historical Novel Society Editor's Choice, and shortlisted for the Selfies Book Awards 2021.
Jane Davis lives in Carshalton, Surrey, in what was originally the ticket office for a Victorian pleasure gardens, known locally as 'the gingerbread house'. Her house frequently features in her fiction. In fact, she burnt it to the ground in the opening chapter of 'An Unknown Woman'. It continues to provide a rich source of inspiration. Her work in progress asks the question why one man would choose to open a pleasure gardens at a time when so many others were facing bankruptcy.
When she isn't writing, you may spot Jane disappearing up the side of a mountain with a camera in hand.
Find out more about Jane at:
Get a FREE copy of her time-slip, photography-themed eBook, I Stopped Time, when you sign up to her mailing list at jane-davis.co.uk/newsletter
- ASIN : B08B1PCTC1
- Publication date : July 13, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 1296 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 428 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #766,275 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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One of the things I find most appealing about her body of work is the sheer scope of stories she decides to tell, from the sharp contemporary drama of SMASH ALL THE WINDOWS, to her expertly crafted historical novel, I STOPPED TIME, with a wide range of other eclectic, engaging stories in the mix. As one who reads prodigiously, I am always delighted to find an author whose talent lies not only in her particular style of writing, but the matters she chooses to discuss. Davis’s choices are always provocative and compelling.
AT THE STROKE OF NINE O’CLOCK travels once more into historical territory, following the paths of three very different women whose lives intersect at a particularly fraught moment in time—post-war London—where they each tangentially connect to a very real-life character, the infamous Ruth Ellis, whose imminent hanging death for the murder of a lover roiled the headlines of the day.
Before we arrive at that incendiary moment, however, we meet each of the main characters in their very specific and individual lives: popular screen star, Ursula Delancy, who finds the shattering of her personal life leading her back to London from America; Caroline Wilby, a poor, working-class girl moved to the big city to make money to send home, and Patrice Hawtree, a wealthy patrician whose disintegrating marriage compels her nightly attendance at the local club, where all three women ultimately connect.
As with all Davis’s novels, the setting and characters are richly drawn, with a wealth of detail and selective description that paints the picture, giving us the full range of visual, sensual, and emotional palates. Political issues of the day come into play—the death penalty, women’s rights, the state of marriage—allowing us a glimpse into the attitudes and proclivities of the time. The unique narratives of not only all three women, but the notorious Ellis, are brought to life in such ways that we feel as if we know them, understand their impulses and longings, their flaws and foibles, wins and losses, keeping us immersed in their unfolding dramas.
Ultimately, it’s a story that will both illuminate a reader to the time and place, and engage their senses in a propulsive, emotional narrative that wraps real events in the swirling lives of three expertly drawn fictional characters.
A great read.
These are someone else’s words, but they are so true. “At The Stroke of Nine O’clock” is fantastic. Jane Davis is an extremely talented writer, and this may be her best so far.
Long after finishing this book, I’m still immersed .... thinking about the women and their journeys to the final point in the story when Ruth Ellis is hanged, the social mores of the fifties, the unfairness of it all. Fifty years on from now, how will our social “imperfections” be judged.
I can recommend this novel on so many levels. It is a literary masterpiece. As a story, I felt drawn to the women, not as a spectator, but rather like a confidante; as a commentary on the times, I was indignant and sad; as a study of the death penalty I was encouraged to do more research.
This book could easily become part of a senior school literature curriculum. (Or enjoyed by a book club.) It is beautifully written, clever, accessible, and it is provocative. I cannot praise the writer enough. This is easily the best of the many books I’ve read this year.
Top reviews from other countries
Caroline is a working-class girl from Felixstowe, sent to the city to earn money to support the family left behind. As she struggles to make ends meet, let alone have any left over for her mother and sister, Caroline begins to work as a hostess in a Knightsbridge club frequented by the rich and powerful.
One of the members is Patrice, a duchess in an unhappy marriage. Her husband is responsible for a financial scandal, throwing them both to the fringes of society. Frustrated by her inability to pursue political causes on her own, the duchess wields her power via journalists and other important men at the club. Both she and her husband are active opposers of the death penalty, but the earl also hides a destructive secret, which has fatal consequences.
Ursula is a famed Hollywood actress with an ex-husband and daughter in the UK. She has important news to tell her estranged daughter, so she returns home, taking on a role in a play. While on tour with the theatre company and constantly pursued by the press, she gets devastating news from Hollywood that will change her life forever.
As a backdrop to these three women’s lives, that eventually and predictably intertwine, the author gives us snippets of Ruth Ellis’ thoughts while waiting to be executed at Holloway prison. Chilling and tragic, these paragraphs have an uncanny parallel to the lives of our three protagonists. What the author clearly wants us to realize is that a wrong move and any of them would be in the same position as Ruth. There was no such thing as justice for women at the time.
While this novel isn’t a light read, I loved the flavors and styles of the 50s London, which came alive through the author’s skillful writing. What’s also poignant, is the discovery of how far we have come in achieving a more fair society as well as more equality between the sexes – although we are by no means there yet!
I highly recommend this stunning novel by Jane Davis, a multi-prize winning author.
Jane Davis is a wonderful writer. One feels that every word, every comma, every idea has been weighed up, played with and considered. This is a fascinating novel which has been expertly crafted. I heartily recommend it.
In At the Stroke of Nine o'clock we are transported to the 1950s where we meet three women. We watch from the side-lines to witness the sexism that these women faced, and we watch in horror as their lives converge to the hanging of Ruth Ellis, the last woman hanged in the UK.
An absorbing read that should not be missed.