Her latest books explore two pivotal moments in the history of Britain. The Buttonmaker’s Daughter - published today – is set in Sussex in the summer of 1914 as the First World War looms ever nearer and its sequel, The Secret of Summerhayes, forty years later in the summer of 1944 when D Day led to eventual victory in the Second World War.
Over to Merryn to tell us about how she was inspired to write The Button Maker's Daughter.
Two years ago, I made a memorable visit to the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, ‘lost’ because they were only rediscovered in 1990 and since that time have been lovingly restored – the work, in fact, is still ongoing. The gardens’ heyday was in the late Victorian/Edwardian period when their owners spent a great deal of money, time and effort in creating a beautiful and exotic paradise. But, when in 1914, war came to England, everything changed. Over half the staff perished in the mud of Flanders and the gardens were left to a slow disintegration.
It was as though they went to sleep for the next eighty years. And because they remained untouched, the buildings the gardeners had known in 1914 – the bothy, the bee boles, the pineapple pit, the summerhouse and wishing well, among others – stayed essentially the same.