This page is a summary of press and media features related to ‘Crossing the Water’ and related topics. As a psychologist I learned that we all have secret lives, which can be internal or external, and can include secrets we keep from ourselves (a truth that we cannot face but which drives our behavior).

The characters who inspired ‘Crossing the Water’ all had remarkable secret lives; from the heroic and darkly comic to the tragic and shameful, all co-existing within the same complex characters.


The Secret Lives of the Children of Independence … the Irish won the war of independence against the might of the British Empire, but then lost the hard-won peace in the disastrous civil war that followed. From an Irish perspective, the result was that many of those children of independence had to face the pain of emigration during the harsh economic conditions of the twenties and thirties. And from a British and American perspective, many became part of the ‘fighting Irish’ who kept us free in world war two. ‘Crossing the Water’ brings the past to life in an elegy to that lost generation, based upon stories of secret lives handed down in his Anglo-Irish family  

The specific content of the feature varies according to the region and nationality of the readership; for example, a version for Irish readers can be seen on the website (‘The home of Irish writing online’)  (click HERE to read it).

A totally different version appeared in the BIRMINGHAM POST (SUNDAY MERCURY) – this one focused almost entirely on one character who had strong links to Warwick and the British army. Click HERE to read it.

Two briefer reports also appeared in two northeast regional papers shortly after the book launch: the front page of the Darlington & Stockton Times, 8/8/2014, and ‘The Northern Echo’ page 6, 13/8/2014. These reports prompted me to think hard about what the reporter had omitted, and how to frame the story as a tale of secret lives…The text in both of these articles refers to the factual basis for the opening scene of the book, an event which happened to Ian’s father in law when he was a boy in Ireland.

THE CHILDREN AND PARENTS OF PESHAWAR: If we are all Charlie, we are also all the parents and children of Peshawar. Another inspiring character had a secret life in Peshawar, where as a young soldier he spent most of the Second World War. He found himself bridging two worlds (the British Raj and the local culture) and leading a secret life when he developed a close friendship with an Indian army signals officer’. Such was the disapproval about inter-racial friendships at the time that when he returned from these visits he found himself ‘sent to Coventry’ (ostracised) by the other British officers and soldiers. He lived in the army cantonment area, very close to the site of the secondary school where so many children were recently massacred in cold blood by militant extremists. He went on to become a secondary school teacher and headmaster. His story gives some fascinating perspectives on then and now, and provides an example of tolerance and friendship across faith and racial boundaries.

“Running Wild in Weardale” is more about childhood recollections and family roots in Weardale, from the ‘Memories’ series No 191, Northern echo, 9/8/2014

A full and glowing review of the book was published in ‘The Weardale Gazettte’ 27/8/2014 click HERE to see it

A summary of all the reviews for ‘Crossing the Water’ can be found here


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