From a childhood in the London slums in the 1820s, Gladys Tunner rose to high society, only to have it all taken away from her.
So ended The Girl from Old Nichol, Betty Annand’s first novel, published in 2017.
The Woman From Dover picks up where the first book ended; part two of the trilogy.
Annand is officially launching the book Sunday, Jan. 21 at the Filberg Centre – three days prior to her 91st birthday.
Annand is well-known throughout the Comox Valley for her play-writing, and historical writing.
But what compels a nonagenarian to delve into the fiction novel business?
“I was studying my family tree…,” said Annand, from her Courtenay home. “I realized I have some English in me and I guess that’s where it started.”
Like the first book, The Woman From Dover is set in England.
Gladys, now in her 20s, has landed employment as a housekeeper for a wealthy widower.
A chance one-night encounter with her first true love produces an unplanned pregnancy, and when she confesses the situation to her employer, he offers to marry her and legitimize the child.
All is well, until the biological father of the child returns to England and is introduced to his son, leaving Gladys with difficult choices to make.
“There are so many little stories within the story… and I keep it fast-paced,” said Annand.
The book-signing will be in the lower level lounge at the Filberg Centre, 411 Anderton Ave. in Courtenay, from 2-4 p.m.
Annand had originally scheduled the book launch for December, but had to postpone it after falling and breaking her wrist during a Panama cruise in November.
“I couldn’t have a book signing when I couldn’t sign books, could I?”
And why did it take Annand so long to get her start at writing novels?
“I’ll tell you what: I never thought I could,” she said. “You know, I went to Grade 9, in one door and out the other… I was always smart, but quit school to get into bookkeeping. My mom wasn’t well and there was a war going on, so I quit school. Those days, if you were smart, you could get a job no matter how much education you had.
“But every book you pick up, you read where [the author] went to this university, or that college, and for me, I had no such [credentials], so I didn’t think I could do it.”
She’s done it.
And while she isn’t making millions at the profession, Annand said profits from her first book paid for her November holiday.
So, is there another cruise in the works with the profits from the second book?
“No, I don’t want another cruise. What I want to do is publish that third book… the story has to wrap up.”