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Synopsis – Red Winter Journey

Updated: Nov 16


Beautiful winter backdrops and compelling action will play out before you as you are transported back in time. You will laugh, you will cry and be in awe of the twists and turns saying to yourself “I didn’t see that coming". The writing is very descriptive, the hooks very bold and is told in a way that places the reader in the time and place. So, turn the page and step back in time to follow the Rushworths on their journey of love, adventure and survival in this bittersweet historical saga.


Tommy’s father Thomas, his uncle William and drunken grandfather, John Hargreaves, want no part of the coming hostilities of the English Civil War in 1642. The protagonist of the story, 16-year-old Tommy Rushworth, lives on the moors of Yorkshire, a desolate bleak place, with his family in a one-room stone cottage. He has just lost his nan to consumption. The family are poor, hungry tenants of Lord Birkhead, of Haworth manor, and scratch out a living tending a few sheep, spinning and weaving wool on put out from passing clothiers for a paltry sum. Their lives are made more difficult by the coming hostilities which puts a halt to the wool trade. Tommy wants to do more for the family because his parents are getting older but their current circumstances will not allow it. Watch on as Tommy’s journey forces him to grow from a boy into a man before your very eyes.


One afternoon, Tommy escorts his mother Agnes, and wife Isabel to the market in the village where he is kidnapped by the Parliamentary army and taken to their camp in Bradford. He befriends Robert who is also a kidnapped farmer like himself, but Robert turns out not to be who he says he is. Tommy is forced to train and joins the ranks as a pikeman or cannon fodder as another put it.


Thomas, not able to stop the Roundheads from taking his son enlists the help of Tommy’s drunken grandfather, John Hargreaves to bring Tommy back home. They battle storms, distance and roadblocks and retire to an alehouse where they meet a mysterious stranger and must comically share a bed with others, much to their dislike. Will they find their son in time or will they be shot as Parliamentarian sympathisers as they travel further east?


The story is historically accurate, flawlessly researched and provides an intimate portrayal of what life was like back then. It is full of colourful secondary characters like John Pigshells, a brute of a man, with no manners or decorum, typical of the ‘lower sort’ of the time. He swears, cheats at cards, lays with prostitutes and robs strangers.


The flirtatious barmaid Lucy has a secret of her own. William falls for her and she agrees but only if he asks permission from her father. He arrives in Stanbury and knocks on the door. The door opens...


Extremely sick and dying from Typhus, another soldier that Tommy befriends (James Fewtrall) takes him to the local ale house to have some ‘real grub’ and fight the sickness. In Bramham, a devious alewife agrees to look after him for a price. A visitor arrives in the middle of the night to pay for his care and lodging. Will Thomas and John Hargreaves survive and find their son? Will Tommy survive and make it back home? Who is this mysterious stranger? All is not what it seems.


Paul Rushworth-Brown is the author of three novels:


Skulduggery - The bleak Pennine moors of Yorkshire; a beautiful, harsh place, close to the sky, rugged and rough, no boundaries except the horizon, which in places, went on forever. Green pastures and wayward hills, the colours of ochre, brown and pink in the Spring. Green squares divided the land on one side of the lane, and on the other; sheep with thick wool and dark snouts dotted the hills and dales. The story, set on the Moors of West Yorkshire, follows wee Thomas and his family shortly after losing his father to consumption. Times were tough in 1603 and there were shenanigans and skulduggery committed by locals and outsiders alike. Queen Bess has died, and King James sits on the throne of England and Scotland. Thomas Rushworth is now the man of the house being the older of two boys. He is set to wed Agnes in an arranged marriage, but a true love story develops between them.


"A glorious read of a period well versed and presented with accuracy and authentic telling by an author who is as much engrossed in his prose as the reader he shares with...masterful and thoroughly enjoyable...5 stars." Adrian, Indibook reviewer.


''Skulduggery, a different treat for lovers of historical fiction, an exciting and mysterious romp through the moors of 17th century Yorkshire, more specifically Haworth and Keighley. The story is a well-painted image of how 'copyholders' or peasants would have lived at this time but that is only the backdrop to a suspenseful whodunit with romantic tones. Modern writers usually don't know what it was like to live in the past but Rushworth-Brown has done this with great skill in this accomplished, atmospheric and thoughtful novel."... Jen Summers


Dream of Courage- Soon to be released!

The much-anticipated story of the Rushworth family and their journey out of poverty. King Charles has been executed and England becomes a Republic under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell. Highwaymen, thief-takers, pirates and wool broggers tell the story in this mysterious and bone-chilling historical thriller.



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