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By the Author
About the Author
Books Available From Bold Strokes Books
Evelyn Hopkins leaves everything she knows and heads to London at the height of the Roaring Twenties, intent upon living her life to the fullest. But will the dark cloud of the Great War keep her from happiness and love?
Edward Hopkins returned from the war, but he is a shadow of his former self, broken by his experiences. His sister makes him a promise: to live her life well enough for both of them. London is a colorful world of jazz, fashion, and opportunities for lust and romance at every turn. When Evelyn meets handsome, eccentric Jos—with her butch style and gentle manner—she knows true attraction for the first time. But can love sustain them through tragedy and carry Evelyn into a new life she can be proud of?
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© 2016 By Rebecca S. Buck. All Rights Reserved.
ISBN 13: 978-1-62639-547-3
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Bold Strokes Books, Inc.
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First Edition: January 2016
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
Editor: Ruth Sternglantz
Production Design: Stacia Seaman
Cover Design By Sheri ([email protected])
By the Author
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The first draft of this book was written about a decade ago. It has been read by friends and family, rewritten and reread on many occasions. It’s impossible to thank everyone who has helped and influenced me through that period. You all know who you are, and I hope you know I am grateful.
A few people do deserve to be mentioned by name. The earliest beta readers of this book were Michelle Lisbona and Amanda Tindale. The novel is immeasurably changed from the first draft, but your influence remains. In its present form, I thank Cindy Pfannenstiel (and Michelle Lisbona once again) for careful reading and thoughtful comments. Mum (Jayne Timmins) and Dad (Jeff Buck), you both read this book and offered encouragement when being a published writer was just a distant dream. Thank you.
That this final version is a huge improvement on the first draft is partly due to my amazing editor, Ruth Sternglantz, not just for your well-judged editing of this novel but for the way you’ve helped me improve and grow as a writer in the five years I’ve now known you. It’s still an honour to have you help me craft my words and to consider you a friend.
I thank the whole Bold Strokes Books team, those involved in creating this beautiful book and the wider team, who are all fabulous. A family I feel grateful to be part of.
The changes in what was a draft manuscript called Butterfly to the finished novel Fragile Wings are many and varied, Evelyn’s changing fortunes, loves, and emotions reflecting my own over the years. The journey this manuscript has been on has been, in many ways, a personal journey too. Allowing it to fly free into the hands of its readers is at once liberating and frightening. Thank you to each of you who picks it up and reads my words.
For all those who did not directly influence my writing, but who have been part of my journey, I extend a huge thank you. Again, you know who you are. That there are now too many to name where once there were very few is a measure of how far that journey has taken me. You’ve all played a part.
A final acknowledgement must go to my literary influences. I don’t believe I’d have been able to create the world of 1920s London and that desperate, decadent post-war era without reading the words of Aldous Huxley, Evelyn Waugh, Michael Arlen, D. H. Lawrence, and Virginia Woolf.
And to Chris Morris. For everything you are and for loving me. When I write romance now, I know what it means.
To my great-grandparents who lived through the Great War. Particularly to William J. Buck (c.1892–1928), my paternal great-grandfather, who survived the conflict only to succumb, ten years after the end of the war, at the height of the Roaring Twenties, to the long-term effects of being gassed, leaving his wife and two young sons.
We are not very far removed from the generation who witnessed it and lived beyond it, remembering.
The skies above Greenwich were dark, cloudy, and starless that night. But still the shadow was visible as it loomed into view. The unworldly visitor from a foreign place, bringing only destruction. A vast black oval against the night sky, a darkness against the dark. Then the fire was unleashed.
Searchlights roamed through the night, their vivid beams illuminating the giant Zeppelin, but being able to see it only made it more terrifying. Floating above the houses and factories of London, it dropped its bombs