#Guest #Author #LousieMorrish @LouiseMorrish1 author of brilliant #OperationMoonlight @centurybooksuk

JW; Thank you so much for being a guest on my Blog Loise, I adored Operation Moonlight!

JW; I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of Operation Moonlight come from?

LM; I have always wanted to be an author, but when I was growing up this was not a career option for people like me at all! I read ALL the time, and wrote stuff in private, but didn’t show anyone or tell anyone of my secret dream, for years and years.

The idea for Operation Moonlight came from three different ‘sparks’: the first was when a friend told me about a 110-year-old woman she knew who was determined to become the oldest person in the world (she’s the oldest in Britain at this moment in time). The second was when my mum told me about a social club called The Coffin Club (you can make your own coffin and reminisce and make friends at the clubs, all over the world); and the third was when I stumbled across the story of a female secret agent in WW2 who had died all alone in 2010 and no one knew about her secret past. I put all three things together, and Betty emerged!

JW; How much research did you have to do for Operation Moonlight, did you get to visit any of the places mentioned in the book?

LM; Research is why I write historical fiction – I absolutely love it! I read more than 200 books on the war etc, and I visited a lot of the places in my novel. I was born and brought up in Guildford, and my family own a narrowboat on the River Wey, so all that was relatively easy. I also visited Wanborough Manor and Beaulieu, and Arisaig up in NW Scotland. But the worst experience was jumping out of a plane! I knew I had to do a parachute jump in order to write Elisabeth’s chapter authentically. But I have a paralysing fear of heights, and I almost passed out from terror. But I survived!

JW; How important to you was it to raise awareness of women’s roles during WW2 and how that impacted their lives?

LM; One of the main reasons I wrote Operation Moonlight was because I strongly believe that the women who helped win the war should be properly remembered. I hope I’ve honoured the female SOE agents in my novel. My writing is always inspired by real women who did extraordinary things in the past, but whose stories have vanished into obscurity.

JW; Who would you like to see playing the parts of Elisabeth & the older Betty, and also Tali and Jo, when Operation Moonlight is turned into a Movie? (It SO needs to be!)

LM; I’d love Operation Moonlight to be made into a film. Maybe Judi Dench or Maggie Smith for Betty? I haven’t got a clue about any of the other characters, though, as I don’t watch much telly or many films…sorry!

JW; As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

LM; I read A LOT.  But back in the 80s, there wasn’t the huge range of children’s books and young adult fiction that there is now, so I read a lot of stuff I maybe wasn’t quite ready for…and I also watched a lot of weird telly. Looking back, the children’s programmes that were shown were bonkers! I loved Monkey Magic, which was this utterly mad Japanese series about a human god called Monkey who lived on a cloud and had weird adventures with a bald female monk and another chap called Piggy who wore skulls around his neck. It was as strange as that sounds!

Monkey Magic

My favourite book as a child was probably Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I was a complete tomboy growing up (still am, actually), and I totally related to Jo March and her boyish ambitions.

JW; What is your favourite book or books that you have read so far in 2022, and why?

LM; So many! Loads of debuts this year have blown me away: No Country for Girls by Emma Styles, The Seawomen by Chloe Timms, The Hollow Sea by Annie Kirby, Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter  by Lizzie Pook, Haven by Emma Donoghue, Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson, The Memory of Animals by Claire Fuller, The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell, V2 by Robert Harris

JW; Do you have a favourite author or favourite book of all time?

LM; I love Sarah Waters. She is the queen of historical fiction in my opinion. But I can’t pick a favourite book of all time, there are too many that I’ve loved.

JW; If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

LM; What a brilliant question! I think I’d quite like to be transported back to 1666, to witness the days leading up to the Great Fire of London and the plague (from a safe vantage point). Not because I want to see our capital city burnt to the ground, but because I want to know what life was like back then, what it actually looked, sounded, smelled and tasted like. I’d love to talk to people on the street, sit in Parliament, walk along the Thames and find out how life was really lived back then.

JW; When you’re writing do you like silence or do you listen to music?

LM; A bit of both. I can’t have talking while I’m writing, so songs with lyrics are out. But I do listen to instrumental music that matches the mood of what I’m trying to write. For the book I’m currently writing, I’m listening to a lot of music from the Edwardian period, orchestral stuff, and also music from films like They Shall Not Grow Old.

JW; If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

LM; Another brilliant question! Sylvia Pankhurst (because she has a cameo role in my next project, and her views on women’s suffrage and socialism would be really interesting to hear); Victoria Wood (because she was a genius, and made me laugh all the time); Ernest Shackleton (because I would question him in detail about how he survived such gruelling conditions in the South Pole, and what kept him going); a First World War soldier who actually fought in 1914 (because I want to know what it was really like then).

JW; If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

LM; The Antarctic, to follow in Shackleton’s footsteps. Before it’s too late.

JW; Do you have a hidden talent?

LM; I love these questions! I’m a ninja speller.

JW; Can you share a shelfie with us?

JW; Are you currently writing another book, and when will it be released?

LM; I am writing another book, but I can’t tell you much about it yet as nothing has been finalised. What I can say is that it’s inspired by two real-life women who achieved extraordinary things over a hundred years ago, but who have been largely forgotten about.

You can follow Louise Morrish on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

You can buy Operation Moonlight HERE

You can read my review of Operation Moonlight HERE

My #review of #OperationMoonlight by #LouiseMorrish @LouiseMorrish1 @centurybooksuk

1944: Newly recruited SOE agent Elisabeth Shepherd is faced with an impossible mission: to parachute behind enemy lines into Nazi-occupied France and monitor the new long-range missiles the Germans are working on.

Her only advice? Trust absolutely no one. With danger lurking at every turn, one wrong move for Elisabeth could spell instant death.

2018: Betty is about to celebrate her 100th birthday. With her carer Tali at her side, she receives an invite from the Century Society to reminisce on the past.

Remembering a life shrouded in secrecy and danger, Betty remains tight-lipped. But when Tali finds a box filled with maps, letters and a gun hidden in Betty’s cellar, it becomes clear that Betty’s secrets are about to be uncovered . . .

Nostalgic, heart-pumping and truly page-turning, OPERATION MOONLIGHT is both a gripping read and a novel that makes you think about a generation of women and men who truly knew what it meant to survive.

I happened across Operation Moonlight whilst looking at books on Amazon, once I read the premise, I knew I would want to read it. So duly ordered it ( even though I’m not supposed to be buying books! ), and when it arrived was a gorgeous looking tome by a new author to me, Louise Morrish.

The novel is told from two timelines, 2018 when we meet Betty Shepherd the soon to be 100 year old slightly frail lady who lives in her family home of Weyside in Guildford, Surrey, with her lovely young Maurician carer Tali. The second timeline is during WW2, 1944 to be precise when we meet Elisabeth Shepherd and travel with her during her journey of secrets through 1944 & 1945.

So if you like the sound of the premise, you will love Operation Moonlight. It is written so well by Louise Morrish and it’s her debut novel ( it does not read like that!). The attention to detail describing Elisabeth’s adventures during WW2 is truly excellent, and for me, really visceral as most of the action takes place where I’ve lived and visited in the past! Maybe that’s what made the book more magical for me? Who knows, but the wonderful descriptions of what accounts for everyday life during WW2 are astounding, and so moving. Louise Morrish has a real talent for writing from the heart and making that character live through her words, a rare talent, especially in a debut author! Betty/Elisabeth just appeared off the page during both timelines so magically. You can tell that Louise Morrish has studied people of all ages and used that research in writing about Betty.

The story is gripping, and at times had me breaking out in a fit of nerves I did not expect several of the events that happened in fact I was shocked! Operation Moonlight is such an easy read even though it’s packed with historical facts, Louise Morrish really does know how to write a compelling read and keeps the reader engaged the whole way through.

I was left wanting more once I had finished, mainly because I loved all the characters so much. As usual, I’m not going to give any of the plot away, but having read a few Wartime books, I have to say that this is going to be up there as one of my favorites, and it’s a certain contender for my yearly top ten books!

I know I normally stick to crime fiction, as I’m obsessed with murder LOL, but I do love novels set during WW2, this has defiantly been one of my highlights of that genre. That it passed below my radar and hasn’t been talked about on Twitter etc is a travesty, I urge my fellow readers to go out and buy a copy now, you won’t be disappointed.

A glorious 5 stars from me…indeed I’d give it more if I could!

Louise Morrish is a Librarian whose debut novel won the 2019 Penguin Random House First Novel Competition. She finds inspiration for her stories in the real-life adventures of women in the past, whom history has forgotten. She lives in Hampshire with her family.

You can buy Operation Moonlight HERE

You can follow Louise Morrish on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

My #Review of #TwoStormWood by #PhilipGray @PhilipGrayBooks @HarvillSecker

THE GUNS ARE SILENT. THE DEAD ARE NOT.

1919. On the desolate battlefields of northern France, the guns of the Great War are silent. Special battalions now face the dangerous task of gathering up the dead for mass burial.

Captain Mackenzie, a survivor of the war, cannot yet bring himself to go home. First he must see that his fallen comrades are recovered and laid to rest. His task is upended when a gruesome discovery is made beneath the ruins of a German strongpoint.

Amy Vanneck’s fiancé is one soldier lost amongst many, but she cannot accept that his body may never be found. She heads to France, determined to discover what became of the man she loved.

It soon becomes clear that what Mackenzie has uncovered is a war crime of inhuman savagery. As the dark truth leaches out, both he and Amy are drawn into the hunt for a psychopath, one for whom the atrocity at Two Storm Wood is not an end, but a beginning.

I really like novels that are set during WW1 or WW2 so I was excited to be able to start Two Storm Wood, especially as it’s part of my Backlog!

From the outset this book grabbed me, it’s a love story, a tragedy, a creepy thriller. The two main characters Amy Vanneck and her fiancé Edward Haslam are brought to life so expertly and the attention to detail in describing how they look and their inner minds, is frankly, amazing. The setting is France in 1919 but we also travel back in time and revisit the death fields of war, the descriptions of which are SO realistic, the violence of war is put on paper so skilfully by Philip Gray, and the mental torture that affected every soldier is laid bare here.

The story is vast and almost cinematic in nature as we travel through the abandoned battlefields with Amy in search of her missing fiancé, it is very clear to me that Philip did a ton of research into WW1 and this makes Two Storm Wood such an authentic historical thriller. The battle scenes are almost TOO well described!

It’s almost a strange thing to say, but I loved the storyline of Two Storm Wood, I mean strange in that, some of it is so visceral in its depictions of war, which we know is horrific, but it is not there for glorification, Two Storm Wood just balances love and horror so well. The thrilling conclusion had me literally with my jaw dropping!

I love that Two Storm Wood is almost a love letter to Philip’s Grandfather, who kept records and maps during his time fighting in WW1 ( for more information on this head to Philip’s website) All in all this is a fabulous novel, if you like historical thrillers with a creepy edge, then Two Storm Wood is for you!

A 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read!


Philip studied modern history at Cambridge University, and went on to work as a journalist in Madrid, Rome and Lisbon. He has tutored in crime writing at City University in London and serves as a director at an award-winning documentary film company, specialising in science and history.

Philip’s grandfather was a captain in the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought through the First World War from start to finish, losing his closest friends along the way. Years after his death, Philip came across a cache of trench maps and military documents that his grandfather had kept, and in which he had recorded the events that befell his unit. Philip was inspired to write his thriller Two Storm Wood when the pull of his grandfather’s legacy felt too strong to ignore.

You can buy Two Storm Wood HERE

Philip Gray’s website HERE TWITTER