Do you care about Polish issues? Then put your money where your mouth is. Support Polish authors. Right now, go buy Sue Knight's book on Amazon and then post a review.
Sue Knight, author and Polonian activist, to whom Polonia owes a great deal, contributes this description of her book:
Disraeli Hall is a thriller, inspired by the two houses of my childhood, and by the people who inhabited them.
Disraeli Hall does contain some Polish characters along with one Jewish one, Benjamin Disraeli, who was said to be Queen Victoria's favourite Prime Minister. I believe he was a bit of a charmer with us ladies. Although Disraeli himself never appears, as this is not a historical novel, the fictional visit he once paid to the Hall resonates through the book.
The book, according to reviewers, is a real page turner. It is both frightening and funny.
Here is a review from my Amazon page:
Unlike some authors I won't name, Sue Knight doesn't write the same story twice. Her new novel doesn't resemble the delightful, dream-like but unsettling Waiting for Gordo or her beautifully constructed Till they Dropped. Once again there are dream-like sequences and there are pleasing, sometimes bewildering, intricacies of plot structure, but this is quite a different book from its predecessors. It combines elements of Gothic romance, murder mystery, and angry regret at the progressive destruction of traditional life and communities by the inexorable march of money-fuelled modernisation.
Disraeli Hall – a fictitious building, needless to say - was so named because the great Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once spent a night there and a dramatic event occurred. We're never told what that dramatic event was, but we're half-encouraged to speculate about it. It isn't material to the story, but the fact that Disraeli once stayed in the building is something the money men can exploit.
The first chapter tells us that all is not well with Disraeli Hall; its ancient roots and its future possibilities are being subverted and undermined. Then we're given the background to the subversion and undermining as experienced by the protagonist-narrator, Sarah Dexter. Sarah had married Leo Cavalier, owner of Disraeli Hall, after a whirlwind romance. She'd sold her flat in London in order to invest in her new home in the North of England. (As an inhabitant of the Peak District I could relate to her descriptions!)
In her imagination, Sarah made a tongue-in-cheek comparison between her situation and that of the unnamed heroine of du Maurier's Rebecca: Leo had been married previously, his wife had died in an accident, and a sinister housekeeper, Ava Maggs, appears early in the story. During the course of the novel, Ava proves to be no less pernicious than Mrs Danvers. However, stark differences between Disraeli Hall and Manderley are apparent almost from the outset. Manderley was warm, physically comfortable and well maintained. Disraeli Hall was cold, uncomfortable in every sense and falling into decay. Sarah has plans for renovation and restoration, but they are thwarted as she makes more and more unsettling discoveries about her marriage and about her new residence.
Her only real comfort is Anya, daughter of Leo's first wife, with whom Sarah quickly establishes a bond. Sarah is pregnant and hopes she'll shortly give Anya a half-brother and Leo the heir he wants. But things don't work out as she hopes and intends. A tragedy occurs and Sarah's life steadily unravels as Disraeli Hall and its surroundings, and the village that once served it, are transmuted into an upmarket hotel with spacious grounds, and a housing estate.
As the novel nears its end, Sarah's life approaches rock bottom. Her fortunes do seem to take a turn for the better in the closing pages, but the reader is left with an overall feeling of sorrow and loss. Nevertheless the story is gripping and endlessly thought-provoking as twist follows twist. Sue Knight has created a vivid setting and vivid characters, which make this melancholy and sometimes anger-inducing tale memorable.
I am so glad that the reviewer found the book gripping - as that is exactly what I was aiming for.
I am finding it hard to know what more to say, beyond what I guess all writers say. Please, please read the book, and review it. And if you like it, please read the other two and review them as well!
I hope I have one more book in me - a book of short stories - one of which also references Benjamin Disraeli and some of the characters from Disraeli Hall. I am in discussions with my publisher now.
How to finish? Maybe just to say this. My epigraph for Disraeli Hall is Proverbs 15:17:
"Better is a dish of vegetables where there is love than a fattened bull where there is hatred."
Those words are as true now as when their writer, King Solomon, was inspired by our Creator to record them. Whether I have done those words justice in my book is something I have to leave to my readers to decide.