Monday, 19 February 2018

All The Fun Of The Fair By Lynda Page | Canelo Publishing Blog Tour

Title: All the Fun of the Fair

Author Name: Lynda Page

Previous Books (if applicable):

Genre: Historical Fiction, Saga, Women’s Fiction

Release Date: 19th February 2018

Publisher: Canelo

Book Blurb: The unmissable new saga from bestselling author Lynda Page
It’s the 1950s and Grundy’s Travelling Fair arrives in town with a bang.
When night falls, the local town is drawn to the Fair. But when the fairgoers head home, the Grundys are left behind. Hours are long and the work back-breaking. But family and friends hold things together.
Gemma married into the lifestyle, her reliable husband Solomon making the work worthwhile. Solly’s Dad Samson is still the boss, but his other son, known as Sonny, is getting a reputation...
Times are changing. Can the family – and the fair – survive?
A saga with a twist, join the Grundy family in a gritty but heartwarming novel of love, friendship and secrets. Perfect for fans of Kitty Neale, Lyn Andrews and Rosie Goodwin.
Links to Book:

Author Bio:  
Bestselling author Lynda Page has written over thirty books, and is a well-loved and critically acclaimed saga author. Born and raised in Leicester, where many of her novels take place, she began her prolific writing career in her forty-five minute lunch breaks. Best known for her Jolly’s Holiday Camp series, Lynda is writing a new series exploring life at a travelling fair in the 1950s for Canelo, with the first book, All the Fun of the Fair, out in February 2018.

Since the late 1800s, fairs were run on a strict set of rules and regulations put in place by a group of showmen calling themselves The Van Dwellers Association, later changing the name to The Showmen’s Guild, which had been formed to protect the rights and safety of all travelling showmen. Any grievances between individual showmen that couldn’t be resolved between themselves would be put to the guild for them to adjudicate. The same went for problems showmen faced with council officials and the general public. Individual fair owners, though, were still at liberty to run their businesses in their own particular way. It was the same as in all other walks of life; there were good fair owners to work for and the not-so-good. As the owner of his stalls, hard-working family man Sam Grundy had worked for some very amenable bosses but had also been at the mercy of the bullish, controlling type, having no choice at the time but to pay the extortionate rent they charged for a space for his stalls, even though guild rules prohibited such a practice. Sometimes he had no choice where he was sited and would be treated like the dregs of the earth; should he dare speak out about his treatment that particular ringmaster’s attitude would be that if you didn’t like it then leave, plenty more where you came from. In consequence, when Sam found himself faced with the upper hand as ringmaster himself, he operated in a firm but fair manner and, as a result, established himself a reputation as being a decent type to work for so was never short of stall holders wanting to rent pitches or casuals applying for jobs as ride operators or labourers.

Life as a fair owner or for those associated with it in any capacity was not the glamorous existence most outsiders, or ‘flatties’ as the show people called them, believed it to be. Providing the public with their few hours of thrills and excitement required long hours of back-breaking labour dismantling the rides and stalls at the end of one session, packing up living accommodation, transporting it all to the next event on their calendar, then reconstructing it. And all to strict timescales, often battling atrocious weather conditions and at times obnoxious or even corrupt council officials and locals, who believed that fairs were dens of iniquity, operated by dishonest sorts who drew even more unsavoury types to their towns and villages.

Living conditions for the casual fairground workers, or gaff lads as they were known as, was far from luxurious; several bunking in together in old caravans with no electric or water facilities, heating obtained from smelly paraffin heaters or oil lamps, sometimes no heating at all. Stallholders and ride operators’ accommodation was marginally better, usually with generators and wood-burning stoves. The caravans themselves came in varying states of repair depending the owners’ financial situation.

Sam and his two sons, Samson junior known as Sonny and his younger brother Solomon, Solly, each lived in large, old-style curved-top wagons, all passed down several generations and kept well repaired with funds allowing modernisation where possible. The walls of the living area, kitchen and number of bedrooms, ranging from one to three, were partitioned off by curtains. Much of the interior was lined in highly polished oak or mahogany and were a devil for the womenfolk to clean. The cast-iron stove in the kitchen was heated by wood and, although small, was adequate enough to cook meals on for a large number of people. There were plenty of cupboards and spaces under beds and seating for storage and also outside, running along the undersides of the van too. Solly’s wagon even had a rudimentary bathroom. The wagons were made homely with knitted throws, cushions and shelves and lead-paned window ledges were filled with fairground glass, ornaments and trinkets, all keepsakes collected by past and present occupants. The wagons were no longer pulled along by horses but by motor power – old Land Rovers or lorries – so transporting them from place to place now only took hours, not days. These were much larger inside than the more modern types and also, in winter, extremely warm and comfortable. This was why, along with nostalgia, the Grundy family still opted to live in them.

Fairfolks’ lives were hard as they battled to make themselves a living but they did it because it was the only way of life they knew; the same as their ancestors had done for hundreds of years before them.

Love, Sarah

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