Helen Humphreys - The Novels Behind The Author

Posted On Tuesday September 10, 2019

We are eagerly awaiting our visit from this year’s One Book One Halton Hills author Helen Humphreys, fast approaching on Wednesday, September 18th! Many of us have had the chance to read this year’s One Book selection, Machine Without Horses (or have the book coming up in our holds list). Let’s also take a look at some of her other popular and acclaimed works.

The Lost Garden – During WWII, a gardener leaves London to take a job instructing young Land Girls in growing crops for the war effort. Arriving in rural Devon, she finds her anticipated charges, along with an unexpected regiment of Canadian soldiers awaiting a posting, and an intriguing hidden and abandoned garden. Gwen discovers not only the secrets of the garden, but also the joy and risks of love.

Coventry– Humphreys revisits WWII Britain, this time from the viewpoint of a woman widowed in the Great War. Harriet flees from the bombing of Coventry Cathedral in London in the company of a young man who is searching for his mother. It is Harriet who will find Maeve, and this unexpected reunion between two women who met years ago will serve to form a bond between them, as they share the pain of loss and remembrance of those they love.

The Evening Chorus– On his first mission, RAF officer James Hunter is shot down and taken to a German POW camp. To fill his days, he takes up the study of a pair of redstarts, and his birdwatching activities bring him under the scrutiny of the camp’s Kommandant. Back at his home village, his young wife engages in a passionate affair with another man, and his sister arrives to stay after being bombed out of her London flat. These two very different women form a surprising friendship and the war’s end will bring significant changes to all of their lives.

The Ghost Orchard– In one of her several works of non-fiction, Humphreys explores the history of the humble apple and the link between agriculture, settlement, and human relationships. Her interest in this topic was piqued when she found the Winter Pear Pearmain apple – believed to be the world’s best-tasting apple – growing beside an abandoned cottage near her home. She went on to research and write about such varied topics as the apple’s first arrival in North America, the eradication of some Indigenous orchards, and how apples were woven into the life and poetry of Robert Frost.