Peter Thornthwaite’s Remember Who You Used to Be, which is a book that I have found hard to stop thinking about, and which I have felt very privileged to be involved with.

It is hard to categorise this book. It’s part memoir, part autobiography, and consists of a lot of diary entries and correspondence, from the author’s mother’s life.

Gerda Lewinsohn was a German Jew who left Germany in 1939, aged seventeen, just before the war broke out but years after Hitler had already started making his mark.

Throughout her life, Gerda kept detailed diaries, as well as correspondence relating to her new life in the UK, and letters from her brothers, both of whom had left Germany before her and neither of whom she saw again. There are also letters from her father, who she left behind but who did eventually escape Germany himself.

From the outset, I was captivated by Gerda’s story, and the very ordinary things that she would record in her diary (many of the early, teenage entries relating to boys and boyfriends), with minimal reference to the much larger events taking place in the world and specifically her world. She was a young, intelligent woman who should have had many opportunities open to her, but like many refugees found herself reliant on the assistance of others, and taking any work that she could find, eventually finding a loving husband with whom she would start a family. But life in post-war Britain was hard, and with a German accent almost certainly harder still.

While Gerda and her family may never have imagined their private writings would be in the public domain, the painstaking process that the author has undertaken to piece together his mother’s story, and make sense of various events in her life, is a tribute to her, and to all refugees who are just ordinary people living ordinary lives, until extraordinary events force them to change.

Remember Who You Used to Be is available in paperback and on Kindle, from April 21st 2023. You can pre-order your copies now:

Kindle (£5.99):

Paperback (£12.99):

Katharine E. Smith‘s forthcoming book Louisa is the third book in the Connections series and will be available on general release from 5th June 2023. You can pre-order it on Kindle now.

Louisa Morgan is coming home. Back to Cornwall after forty years in London, a high-flying career, a daughter who to all intents and purposes appears to have no father, and a failed love affair.

Like all good mums, Elise thinks she knows what’s going on, but like all good daughters, Louisa has been somewhat economical with the truth.

Shame and embarrassment are not words she would normally apply to herself, but times have changed, she’s getting older, and it feels like she is returning home a failure. With long, empty days stretching ahead of her, can she find a new sense of place and belonging, or will life in a small town by the sea get the better of her?

Released on 5th DECEMBER 2022

To Play the Game: A History of Flight 571 by John Guiver

(available in Colour and in Monochrome)

‘A perfect complement to my 1974 book Alive.’ Piers Paul Read

This is a big book, in more ways than one. At 571 pages, with 275 pictures, To Play the Game offers a huge amount of new material, and insight, into the famous story of the 1972 plane crash in the Andes.

13th October 1972. A Uruguayan Air Force plane, commissioned for a civilian flight, crashes in the Andes. Among the forty passengers are a first-division rugby team, accompanied by family and friends. Hindered by treacherous conditions, the search and rescue efforts cannot locate the wreckage, and are abandoned after eight days.

Ten weeks later, two unkempt boys are spotted by a muleteer high in the Chilean foothills. One throws a note to him, across a mountain torrent: I come from a plane that fell in the mountains…In the plane there are still fourteen injured people…

Drawing on extensive original research, the author sheds new light on this extraordinary story from a perspective of fifty years, expanding on events before, during, and after the ordeal. His retelling is enriched by the accounts of those who didn’t return from the mountain, related through the eyes of their families, bringing much-needed balance to a story which has largely focused on the survivors.

The majority of Heddon titles are available on Kindle, and also in print, from Amazon, but also a whole array of other bookshops, big and small (though you may have to ask to order them in).