Troubador Ellen Lives On

Released: 28/10/2018

ISBN: 9781789014617

eISBN: 9781789013016

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Ellen Lives On


1971. When 15 year-old Ellen returns home from school in Yorkshire, her world is fragmented as she finds her mother has hanged herself. A dark mist descends, yet somehow she must find a new way to live. After her mother’s funeral, Ellen is taken to live with her aunt and uncle and pressed into housework, forced to wait on the men of the household. She retreats into herself, into sullen, desperate silence to survive. In a fit of rebellion, she writes a letter to the local paper in support of the campaign for comprehensive education and the closure of her own prestigious selective school. Most of her fellow pupils shun her, and after a harsh rebuke from the headteacher, Ellen runs out of school – and far away, down to London to find her grandfather.

Her situation doesn’t improve, as she narrowly escapes the unwanted attentions of a stranger in King’s Cross. Yet when she finds herself caught in the midst of a radical political rally led by a group of young women protesting for their rights, suddenly her world is changed. Although her grandfather is in hospital, Ellen discovers new friendships as she joins the group and learns to stand up: for women and for herself.

Written to provide support, insight and comfort for those younger readers dealing with parental suicide, Ellen Lives On also offers keen perspective on long term women’s issues. An engrossing story of one girl’s struggle for self and survival, Ellen Lives On will be enjoyed by anyone interested in an addictive tale of love, loss and freedom.

Lynda Haddock has opted to use suffragette colours for her cover to further support the cause for women’s rights

Nayu's Reading Corner

London TV

Believable and well-written, I would gladly add this book to my classroom and library bookshelf. A gripping story.

by Reading Lit

I recently read in just one day Lynda Haddock's first novel Ellen Lives On. It's a brilliant story of sudden tragic loss and how a young girl/woman about to turn 16 deals (and doesn't deal) both with the loss and the extraordinary circumstances following it.

Set around 1971 initially in the North and then in London, it vividly brought back the experience of depending on phone boxes to contact people and what it was like to have a conductor on a bus and a bus you could jump off at the traffic lights. Some of the descriptions of London reminded me of the best of Iris Murdoch's descriptions of London in some of her best novels.

The first two chapters were emotionally extremely challenging but I'm very glad I persisted, although it didn't become much less emotionally involving and challenging as the novel unfolded.

But this is not just a terrific exploration of psychological survival, it's a profoundly political novel, about women's oppression as it manifests itself at the most mundane but pervasive levels, about Conservative bigotry, and about racism and fascism. It is, in fact, a socialist novel which any socialist would both identify with and thoroughly enjoy.

Running through the novel is an impassioned indictment of educational segregation on class lines both within the state system and between the state system and the private and a vision of a comprehensive alternative in which the maximum effort would be devoted to doing the best for every child whatever their advantages or disadvantages. Given what the Tories have done to state education in this country over the last eight years, it's a timely reminder that there really is an alternative much better way of educating people.

I would highly recommend reading Ellen Lives On and I very much hope there is a second novel in the pipeline, taking Ellen's story further. I'm dying to know if she went to university to read philosophy and what happened then! Rob, Budapest

by Rob, Budapest

Amazing read! The author wrote a story that was interesting and moved at a pace that kept me engaged. The characters were easy to invest in.

by Cristie Underwood

Lynda Haddock

Lynda began her career as an English teacher and has subsequently worked as a headteacher and a local authority officer with responsibility for education pupils who were experiencing difficulties in their lives. Many young people have shared their stories of pain and resilience with her and Lynda has listened carefully to these. She understands the power that fiction can have to help young people understand and manage the difficulties they experience. Whilst this is Lynda's first novel she is the author of several books about education.

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