AN AUTHOR whose family have been silk weavers for nearly 300 years has written a romantic fiction novel based on stories from a Sudbury mill during World War Two.
Liz Trenow, a former journalist, grew up next door to Stephen Walters and Sons silk mill in Cornard Road as the daughter of the company’s managing director, Peter Walters, and began researching her family’s history for her debut novel, The Last Telegram.
“My father was working with my grandfather and when the war broke out they thought there wouldn’t be much need for silk,” said Mrs Trenow, who now lives in Colchester.
“They realised that parachute silk would be needed, as would silk for surgical dressings and electrical insulation. That’s how they kept going through the war.”
Through hers and her family’s experiences and interviews with a group of former weavers from around the Sudbury area, she built a picture of what life was like then.
“I set my novel in a fictional mill, in a fictional town with fictional characters but all of the research I did for the atmosphere and background was based on these memories,” said Mrs Trenow, who also lived in Little Cornard before leaving for university aged 18.
The Last Telegram tells the story of an apprentice weaver’s love for a German Jewish refugee, and is published by HarperCollins, who have also commissioned a second book.
It goes on sale on September 13 and will be availale from local independent book shops as well as at www.harpercollins.co.uk.