Stewart Gill Owen
The story of two families divided by war and united in grief.
It’s 1932 and Hitler and the Nazi Party are threatening to take control of Germany. There is a growing fear of another war.
Two families from vastly different backgrounds make their way to visit their sons’ war graves in the Flanders region of Belgium. John and Annie Williams are on their annual trip from England in memory of their son, Herbert, who had been killed while fighting at the battle of Passchendaele in 1917. Erich and Martina Lehmann have travelled from Germany to pay their respects to the memory of their son, Kurt who died in the same campaign. During their visit, the couples meet and in the wake of such devastation, confrontational events take place.
‘Two Sons’ moves from the war on the western front to the domestic lives of both families over a period of two decades. Having lost their sons in one conflict, both families fear that they may have to make further sacrifices in light of the growing threat.
About the Author
Stewart Gill Owen was born in Blackburn and grew up in Lancashire. After art school, his career was in design and advertising, and as a lecturer in further and higher education. He now lives in Somerset with his wife Jessie. Their two daughters often visit, bringing the five grandsons with them. Stewart is a keen historian. It is the most immediate and ‘living’ history that has inspired Two Sons, which is his first book. Many of us still have links with the First World War. Stewart lost an uncle in Flanders and one of his ancestors was the poet Wilfred Owen. Something that happened so long ago is in many ways still with us.
“This is a very engaging story with rich characterisation, a roller coaster of emotions and excellent period detail.” Bruce Payne, Amazon UK.
“I really enjoyed this read, and would congratulate the author on the way he handled such a sensitive subject and told the stories of two separate families intertwining the past with the present.” Weeki, Amazon UK.
“This book is a sensitive reminder of the impact the war had on both sides. A very good read, which I highly recommend.” JR Hold, amazon UK.
“One hundred years on this is a very relevant book for young and old. Read it. You will giggle and cry, and be glad you did.” H P Johns, Amazon UK.
“Some of my family history forms the basis of this book,” says Stewart, “I changed some of the characters, added to the detail of events and changed the name of the family. I wanted to tell a story that promoted the experiences of joy, pride, despair, love, grief and the fear of loss. Two Sons is about those emotions, it’s about the passion and the feelings that many of us share, regardless of nationality, class, faith and status.”
It’s a story about the consequences of the battle of Passchendaele that took place in Flanders in 1917. The book is based on a number of confrontational encounters that takes place between a British and a German family in Belgium in the summer of 1932.
“I chose the date because, in July of that year, Hitler and the Nazi party were threatening to take control of Germany” says Stewart, “and there was a growing fear in Belgium of the possibility of renewed hostilities.” During the visit, heated disagreements and arguments take place. The story moves from the battlefields of the Western Front to the domestic life of the families over a period of two decades.
The choice of the battle of Passchendaele as the main campaign theme of the story was very deliberate. “Passchendaele or as it was also known, the Third Battle of Ypres,” explains Stewart, “became it’s known, not only for the scale of the carnage and the high level of casualties, but also for the mud and the creation of a desolate landscape that is so recognizable as a typical image of World War One.”
“Although it’s a work of fiction,” continues Stewart, “I wanted the detail to be as accurate as I could make it and this involved considerable in-depth research. My view is that this is a story that has never been told in any depth before. This is my first novel I know it wont be my last I’m already working on a sequel.”
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‘Two Sons’ is available now from all major online bookstores, including Silver Wood Books, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Amazon and on Kindle.
If you would like a copy of ‘Two Sons’ to read, review or feature please contact Kris Barnes of Authoramp. Stewart is also available for interview.