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Housewife Jessie Vine in her Anderson shelter
Housewife Jessie Vine in her Anderson shelter

The latest fiction and historical books from Kent’s authors

Wartime in Whitstable Remembered

The second volume of the memoirs of Second World War housewife Jessie Vine are published in Wartime in Whitstable Remembered.

This account of the challenges of life on the home front gives an insight into family living and some of the traumatic events of the conflict. Edited and compiled by Jessie’s grandson, Canterbury-author Paul Crampton, the book is a group of tender diary entries written to her husband Tom.

Beginning in the final few days of peace in 1939, this personal look at the war details the installation of an Anderson shelter and how she longs for the return of Tom from the Navy. The book covers Tom’s time at Chatham Dockyard and how Jessie evacuates from Rochester to Tankerton, where she rents a bungalow.

The book is illustrated with photographs from Jessie’s life during the war, all of which were sent to Tom while he was at sea.

Editor Paul is a winner of the John Hayes Canterbury Award and it is easy to see why, in this honest and nostalgic look at life in the early 1940s in this area of the north Kent coast.

Published by the History Press, price £12.99.

John Owen
John Owen

The Shepherds and Shepherd Neame Brewery Faversham Kent 1732-1875

The foundations of the Shepherd Neame brewery are uncovered in a new book about one half of its dynasty, the Shepherd family.

Written by Faversham native John Owen, the book charts the journey of the family from taking ownership of the brewery in 1732 to how they expanded and eventually sold their business to the Neames in 1877, before nearly dying out as a family altogether.

The lengthily titled The Shepherds and Shepherd Neame Brewery Faversham Kent 1732-1875 is packed with details of every phase of the business and how the brewery eventually became associated with the Shepherds only in name.

Originating from Peasmarsh, in Sussex, in the 16th century, the Shepherd family acquired the brewery by marriage in 1732.

Then it was valued at a modest £1,000 but in two generations they had become one of the wealthiest merchant families in Faversham. Within four generations, in 1875, they were joint partners in the brewery with a gross asset value of £165,000.

As well as a narrative history of the brewery, the book also charts the influences of the Napoleonic war, a new railway to Faversham and the arrival of the Navy in Sheerness.

A series of nostalgic illustrations also raise a smile.

Available from the Shepherd Neame visitor centre shop or atwww.shepherdneame.co.uk/shop for £13.45.

They say every end is a new start and Kent author George G.A. Wensley is a testament to that. After being made redundant he decided to pen his first novel, crime thriller Text: Murder, and is also studying for a certificate in Creative Writing.

Not that he needs it, after creating this gripping murder mystery, which begins with the body of a young German model being washed up near Eastbourne.

Outwardly composed but inwardly self-doubting, Insp Carpenter is assigned to the brutal case, along with his self-assured and well-educated new partner Lt Kaminska.

Carpenter doubts Polish-born Kaminska’s detective skills and a clash of cultures, personalities and professional methods ensues.

The story takes them across the English Channel and to various European cities in their hunt for the killer, before being led back to Eastbourne in time for the pre-Wimbledon tennis tournament.

Available from Amazon for £12.95.

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