Here’s to friendship | The Ludlow Ladies’ Society by Ann O’Loughlin

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society is Ann O’Loughlin’s third novel which published by those fabulous independent publishers, Black & White Publishing, on 4th July.

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today with a guest post.  Ann O’Loughlin is sharing with us the importance of friendship and how she has weaved friendships through The Ludlow Ladies’ Society.

Here’s more information about the novel:

The Ludlow Ladies' Society Ann O'Loughlin

Connie Carter has lost everyone and everything dear to her. Leaving her home in New York, she moves to a run-down Irish mansion, hoping to heal her shattered heart and in search of answers: how could her husband do the terrible things he did? And why did he plough all their money into the dilapidated Ludlow Hall before he died, without ever telling her?

At first Connie tries to avoid the villagers, until she meets local women Eve and Hetty who introduce her to the Ludlow Ladies’ Society, a crafts group in need of a permanent home. Connie soon discovers Eve is also struggling with pain and the loss of having her beloved Ludlow Hall repossessed by the bank and sold off. Now, seeing the American Connie living there, the hurt of losing everything is renewed. Can these women ever be friends? Can they ever understand or forgive?

As the Ludlow Ladies create memory quilts to remember those they have loved and lost, the secrets of the past finally begin to surface. But can Connie, Eve and Hetty stitch their lives back together?

Here’s to friendship

Where would we be without our friends? Friends sustain us, keep us going, make us laugh and hold us when we cry.

Family is family, but friends are friends.

There are many different types of friends, but I am talking about those pals who make it their business to be always there. They are by our side when life has delivered a few hard blows and they are there at the good times, ready to celebrate and cheer us on. They are there in the normal days and everyday.

They are the best of friends.

When I sat down to write The Ludlow Ladies’ Society, I knew one thing, I wanted to celebrate that great friendship than can bloom between women, even in the most unusual circumstances.

It is what happens to Connie Carter, an American who has lost everything and everybody she held dear. She comes to Ireland looking for answers. She comes to Ludlow Hall, Wicklow to the house she never even knew existed until her husband died.

She is alone and wants to be alone, but she meets Eve, the former owner of Ludlow Hall until the house was repossessed and purchased by Connie’s husband, Hetty a widow and all the other members of The Ludlow Ladies’ Society.

Slowly the friendship between Connie, Eve and Hetty develops. Tentative steps are taken and Connie, hurting deeply, allows the other women in to her life. She accepts the hands of friendship and in the process it helps ease her own pain. When Eve and Hetty along with the other women of The Ludlow Ladies’ Society begin to stitch memory quilts to remember those they have lost, the secrets of the past tumble out.

Together the women face the hard facts of past events, gaining strength from their bonds of friendship. The friendship sustains and supports them.

But there is a lot of fun to these type of friendships as well. We all know what it is like to sit around and chat, gossip and share a laugh with a group of close friends. There is plenty of that in The Ludlow Ladies’ Society too and I have to say I loved writing those scenes. I felt I was part of the group listening to the gossip wanting to lean in and ask a few more questions.

Here is one of my favourite chats from The Ludlow Ladies’ Society when the ladies are sifting through all the fabric donated by the residents of Rosdaniel for the town memory quilt.

Talk turns to the local priest and the scarf he donated. The following dialogue for me gets across the changing attitude to the Catholic Church in this country, as well as giving the reader a nice giggle:

“What a load of balderdash. He would be better donating some of the fancy clothes he wears ballroom dancing,” Eithne said.

Kathryn threw the scarf aside. “Whatever do you mean?”

“Sorry, I thought the whole town knew. Fr Dempsey every Saturday night is twinkle toes himself, not in Rosdaniel, but far away in Wexford town.”

“Is he allowed do that?” one of the new women asked.

“Since when did a man of cloth ask if he was allowed do anything?” Eithne said.

Kathryn, worried at the turn in conversation, clapped her hands again.

“We need to get working, ladies. Eithne, would you start cutting out the patches in this lot?” She shoved a big box of clothes across the floor to Eithne.

“Funny, when you are talking about a priest, there is always somebody wanting to cover up the truth,” she sniped as she opened the box and took out a long orange sparkling dress. “Who the hell would wear this sort of thing?” she asked.

“A priest going dancing on a Saturday night,” Rebecca Fleming said in a matter-of-fact voice, a ripple of laughter pulsing across the room.

I love too the row over tea when Kathryn Rodgers gets upset and shocked that Earl Grey is not served at the local cafe.

What is this nonsense? Tea is tea,” Eve laughed.

“As much as I disagree with that statement, because tea is never just tea, I would like …”

Well, it goes on of course but you will have to read the book to find out!

Here’s to all our female friends who sustain us and make us feel better, even in the worst of days. My hope is that you will also make a few new friends inside the cover of The Ludlow Ladies’ Society.

© Ann O’Loughlin

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society by Ann O’Loughlin is published 4th July by Black & White Publishing, paperback £12.99, Kindle £3.79.

Ann O'LouglinA leading journalist in Ireland for nearly thirty years, Ann O’Loughlin has covered all major news events of the last three decades. Ann spent most of her career with independent newspapers where she was Security Correspondent at the height of The Troubles, and was a senior journalist on the Irish Independent and Evening Herald. She is currently a senior journalist with the Irish Examiner newspaper covering legal issues. Ann has also lived and worked in India. Originally from the west of Ireland she now lives on the east coast with her husband and two children.

Connect with Ann O’Loughlin

Twitter @annolwriter

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The Ludlow Ladies' Society Ann O'Loughlin

Married with two sons in their early 20’s, by day I’m an Inclusion Lead in a local school. I recharge my batteries by reading, being out in nature and creating with crochet.

I’ve been blogging for six years, four of those years exclusively about the literary world and during that time awarded Romance Blogger of the Year at the inaugural Festival of Romance. I’m enjoying the freedom of lifestyle blogging and sharing my love of anything that makes life easier! As well as a lover of words, I’m a stationery addict and lifelong learner.

I feel passionate about early help for special educational needs, disability and families who are struggling. I’m a member of my local Early Help Operational Board and it’s an honour to be working alongside others to instigate change and growth.