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SNIPPET:Millie's Escape

I'm not a parent, but I do know a thing or two about kids. I've been a public educator for over thirty years, so I can second-guess a 4th grader, even when blindfolded! I absolutely LOVE books featuring children, and that's why I decided to begin my Antonius Trilogy by portraying Marc Antony as an eleven-year old boy. When one knows somebody's childhood background, it explains much later in their life. In my upcoming novel West of Santillane, I also chose to begin the story with my protagonist Julia Hancock as a nine-year old.

Author Marcia Clayton obviously loves writing about children, too. I shared some of her work earlier this year, and I'm delighted to feature her again this week. She does a super job of portraying children in another time/place, which is an important skill to be able to pull off in historical fiction. Children were often mistreated or neglected in other periods of the past. Even though it's a difficult thing for us to accept, we can all agree that there are times in history we'd prefer not to have lived in--especially as kids.

This snippet from Clayton's novel Millie's Escape depicts the sad emotional state of children who were once in a workhouse. Notice the brilliant way she depicts these little ones. Welcome back to Brook's Journal, Marcia!

And read ON, everyone!

Snippet from Millie's Escape

By: Marcia Clayton

Annie arose early the following day and hurried to the nursery to feed the twins. She paused to peer into Selina’s bedroom, and, for once, the little girl was still fast asleep. Annie tiptoed away quietly and gently opened the door of the room in which Jinnie and Eliza were sleeping. She was pleased to see that they had not yet awoken. Paul and Martin were in the next room, and the sound of sobbing reached her ears before she even opened the door. Annie found three-year-old Paul in tears and Martin trying to comfort him.

“Good morning, boys; what’s the matter, Paul? Are you poorly?”

The toddler shook his head, clung to his brother, and wouldn’t meet Annie’s eyes. She looked at Martin, wondering why the boy was so distraught.

“What’s wrong with Paul? Has he had a bad dream?”

“No, ma’am, but he’s wet the bed. I’m so sorry. I’ll help him take the sheets off and wash them; we don’t want to be any trouble.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that; Selina still has an accident now and then. It happens, and I expect you were tired last night.”

The younger boy lifted his face and stared anxiously at Annie in bewilderment. The tears were still flowing down his cheeks, and his nose was running; his frail body shook with sobs.

“Are you going to beat me?”

Annie was shocked.

“Goodness me, no! Of course, I won’t beat you; why would I do that? You didn’t wet the bed on purpose, did you?”

“No, ma’am; I didn’t know it was wet until I woke up.”

“No need to worry then. Do you ever have little accidents like this, Martin?”

“No, ma’am, luckily I don’t, but you see, if this happened in the workhouse, Paul would get a hiding, so he didn’t tell anyone if he could help it; he’d just sleep in the same wet bed the next night.”

All About the Book

1885 North Devon, England


It is winter in the small Devon village of Brampford Speke, and a typhoid epidemic has claimed many victims. Millie, aged fifteen, is doing her best to nurse her mother and grandmother as well as look after Jonathan, her five-year-old brother. One morning, Millie is horrified to find that her mother, Rosemary, has passed away during the night and is terrified the same fate may befall her granny, Emily.

When Emily’s neighbours inform her that Sir Edgar Grantley has also perished from the deadly disease, the old woman is distraught, for the kindly gentleman has been their benefactor for many years, much to the disgust of his wife, Lilliana. Emily is well aware that Sir Edgar’s generosity has long been a bone of contention between him and his spouse, and she is certain Lady Grantley will evict them from their cottage at the first opportunity.


As she racks her brain for a solution, Emily remembers her father came from Hartford, a seaside village in North Devon and had relatives there. Desperate and too weak to travel, Emily insists Millie and Jonathan leave home and make their way to Hartford before the embittered woman can cause trouble for them. There, she tells them, they must throw themselves on the mercy of their family and hope they will offer them a home.


With Emily promising to follow as soon as possible, the two youngsters reluctantly set off on their fifty-mile journey on foot and in the harshest of weather conditions. Emily warns them to be cautious, for she suspects Lady Grantley may well pursue them to seek revenge for a situation that has existed between the two families for many years.

All About Marcia

Marcia Clayton is the author of five books in The Hartford Manor Series, a heart-warming family saga stretching from the Regency period to Victorian times. A sixth book is to be released in 2024.

Marcia was born in North Devon, a rural and picturesque area in the far South West of England. When she left school, Marcia worked in a bank for several years until she married her husband, Bryan, and then stayed at home for a few years to care for her three sons, Stuart, Paul and David. As the children grew older, Marcia worked as a Marie Curie nurse caring for the terminally ill and later for the local authority managing school transport.

Now a grandmother, Marcia enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She’s a keen researcher of family history, and this hobby inspired some of the characters in her books. A keen gardener, Marcia grows many of her own vegetables. She is also an avid reader and enjoys historical fiction, romance, and crime books.

Connect with Marcia


***This title is available to read with #KindleUnlimited.***

All the books in The Hartford Manor Series can be ordered from Barnes & Noble or any bookshop.

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