Published: 01/03/2010
ISBN: 9781848762886
Format: Paperback



"I revelled in this sumptuous depiction of the Pre-Raphaelite period ... Rich and multi-faceted, this is a book for anyone who enjoys a beautifully written and original historical romance."
Nicola Cornick, Romantic Novelists' Association

"some of Loretta's details are divine... I enjoyed The Crimson Bed enormously both as a novel and as an account of the secretive, if not secret, world of the Victorians"
Barbara Nadel (author of the Inspector Ikmen and the Francis Hancock series)


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I was born in Cairo, Egypt and came to Britain during a very cold winter. Quite a contrast to the heat of Cairo and my first ever view of snow! My father was from England and met my mother in Athens,... read more

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The Crimson Bed
by Loretta Proctor

Frederic Ashton Thorpe and his best friend, Henry Winstone, are artists immersed in the Pre-Raphaelite movement, with its yearning for romantic escape from the materialism of Victorian society. Seeing a half-finished portrait of the beautiful Eleanor Farnham at Henry’s studio, Fred is fascinated and returns in order to meet her. He and Ellie fall in love and are married.

But every heart hides a secret and both Fred and Ellie have put certain events behind them – events that, if exposed, could threaten their blissful new life. After her mother’s death, Ellie inherits the Crimson Bed, a family heirloom passed down through the female line since Elizabethan times. With the bed come ancestral secrets that will eventually affect Ellie as much as the unhappy memories from her own past. Meanwhile, Fred is haunted by shameful memories of his own, that lead him into the darkness of the London slums and a very different world to that of his peaceful home.

As a brilliant and talented artist, Henry is beginning to experience success and fame, but his life is haunted by tragedy and loss. Despite their own problems, Ellie and Fred watch in despair as he sinks slowly into drink, illness and decline.

Passions escalate as Fred becomes increasingly jealous of Ellie’s closeness to her handsome godfather, Lord Percy Dillinger, and when shocking truths finally come to light, their lives will never be the same again...

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The Long Shadow is to be translated and published by oceanida.gr in autumn 2014

Reviews for Dying Phoenix

The Dying Phoenix is a very worthy sequel to Loretta Proctor's The Long Shadow. I am pleased I read them in the 'right' order, as, knowing what I knew already about Nina's spirited parents and grandparents, I was keen to find out how life would treat her.
Richard Devereux

The coup is expertly described. We experience one of the characters waking up as the tanks rumble into Athens then going out onto the streets to investigate. Dying Phoenix also stands as a salute to the courage of the idealists in the face of terrible repression and cruelty. The rape and torture is shocking, a secret horror that is ongoing as normal life continues for many Greek citizens.

The details of life in late nineteen sixties London and Greece add another layer of depth to the writing. I cannot be a plot spoiler but for me Loretta Proctor's writing reached an extra powerful level in the scenes in the garage in Thessaloniki. Amazing passion and intensity.
Mary Cade


The talk on my book, The Long Shadow at the American College of Thessaloniki on May 22nd and the creative writing workshop for the students went very well indeed and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The weather was great, the company delightful. I feel very honoured to have been asked as this book is close to my heart.

The new paperback edition of The Long Shadow is now out. It is already available as a Kindle edition on Amazon. Set in Salonika, Greece it tells the little known story of the Eastern campaign, it will be well in time to usher in the centenary of WW1 in 2014

Reviews for The Long Shadow

I have just finished reading this for the second time and know I shall return to it again and again because of its strong, involving characters and the wonderful story they have to tell.

Nothing is more intriguing than a hidden diary, and when Andrew finds his mother's and begins to read it, a dramatic picture of her life in Salonika during the first world war enfolds. Dorothy's love story is touching and beautifully told, yet this is far more than a love story. The sights, smells, triumphs and tragedies of World War One are described so vividly and knowledgably we feel we are experiencing them first hand.

I've now enjoyed several books from the pen of this author, but this is her best yet.

It's a novel to treasure.
Peter McGarry


This has been one of the best books I have ever read. What a beautiful story, wonderful characters, history, adventure. Simply fabulous.
Harry E. Carter

This is not a book about Greece. It not a book about war but it is a book about people, the situations they find themselves in; and above all about their loves. This skilfully crafted novel is in two parts, the first set in England and the second, mainly in Greece. The protagonist is Andrew who is shocked by the revelations in his mother's diary which he secretly reads. He discovers that his father is Greek and he vows to meet him. The second part of the novel shows Andrew in his quest and eventual success. Loretta Proctor, half Greek herself, has a vast knowledge and understanding of 20th century Greek history, especially as it relates to the two world wars and she uses this with great skill as a backdrop to Andrew's story. She brings out the horrors of war in Greece. She writes the diary as if using the language of the day and this gives the mother's account an authenticity and immediacy which is strong and real. I found the book very moving, especially the relationship between Andrew and his father. Being unfamiliar with the history, I found it fascinating, almost a distraction at times! This is a beautiful story and the second of Loretta Proctor's books I have read. It cries out for a sequel!
Gordon Thomas

Middle Watch has as a background the stormy seas and lighthouses around Britain. Researching this was most interesting. Virtually all of the lighthouses are now powered by electricity and no longer manned. The end of an era of interesting men who worked them. Middle Watch is set in the 1950's when the lights were still manned but on the verge of change.
I became fascinated by the life on these lonely places and with the kind of people who took care of these structures with such pride and loving care, thus saving the lives of so many seamen and ships who would have foundered on the rocky coasts.
Bridie's tale is passionate and she is torn by her feeling for the two men in her life. But perhaps Nature is her true love!

The Crimson Bed has a Pre-Raphaelite background and tells of the inner conflicts, secret lives and dramas of two artist friends,and the beautiful women they paint and worship like goddesses. I felt inspired to write a novel in Victorian times after reading some of the works of Sarah Waters. A life-long admirer of Pre-Raphaelite work, I now belong to the Pre-Raphaelite Society which meets in Birmingham. If you haven't yet visited St. Philip's Cathedral in Birmingham,with it's marvellous stained glass windows by Burne Jones, then do go! You are in for a special experience, especially when the light pours through those vivid reds and blues. A different concept of angels altogether,far more passionate and fiery!
Recently I visited the John Waterhouse exhibition at The Royal Academy. One of his lesser known pictures will feature on my book cover. The picture here shows the original with the skull which was later painted out in the 1950's. The cover on my book shows the painted out image taken by Christie's when the painting came up for sale much later on. The original is now in a private collection in Mexico.
For more on this strange story of the painting take a look at my website.

You can contact me on proksie7@gmail.com
And drop in and take a look at my blog: http://booksandotherthings.blogspot.com
http://lorrifay.wordpress.com It's all Greek for Me
or my website www.lorettaproctor.co.uk

http://www.lorettaproctor.com

Malvern Gazette
(February 2010)

Beginning in Belgrave Square, London, 1838, the author's attention to detail in The Crimson Bed vividly transported me, not just to the period but to the vibrancy of the lives of those characters who might very well have inhabited the beautifully evoked scenes.

It's pure escape to be first placed alongside the young Ellie and her mother, lives and lifestyle which were once so real.Subtly introduced to the ancestral history of the crimson bed, dating back to the time of Queen Elizabeth I, we are taken through scenes and manners which have all the lushness of the 'rich red velvets' in which the four poster stands, the visual images worthy of the eye of a Pre-Raphaelite painter. I was reminded of the other-worldly romance in Gabriel Rossetti's paintings and poetry.

There is almost a supernatural quality to the bed as the child, Ellie, wonders at its elaborate carvings which 'seemed to be alive and rustling with leaves, birds and creatures'; a pleasant enough musing and yet one tinged with the ominous as Ellie also imagines she sees in the configuration something else in what was once the bridal bed of her distant ancestor; a 'dark, stern looking lady with black puritanical clothes and a stiff white ruff about her neck and whose eyes seemed still to follow about accusingly.'

Ellie is in her mother's bedroom and yet it's a room which her father decrees no man should enter for it's a room 'sacred to the Feminine' and, already, we have a foreshadowing of that to which the back-jacket synopsis hints in Ellie's subsequent fortuitous marriage; one that will reach the heights of bliss and yet will be perhaps tragically challenged by ancestral secrets that seem inextricably bound to the crimson bed - and still to stir.

by Raymond Nickford - author of A Child from the Wishing Well and other psychological suspense


 

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