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Based on True Stories

Annette Creswell Author Interview

Margaret’s Story follows a woman living in a nursing home and her dysfunctional family’s actions both in the past and present. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for writing Margaret’s Story came from the time when nursing facilities were being reported in the media as places in which aged people were placed and abandoned by their families.

Margaret endured giving up a child, a husband with bipolar disorder, and children in toxic relationships. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Just like many novelists, my stories are based on true stories I have encountered interwoven with a fictional overarching narrative.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted to show the readers how mental illness can strike suddenly with resultant ramifications for the victim and his family and how surrendering a baby for adoption leaves an indelible mark on the birth mother.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next novel, Return to Portovenere was inspired by a visit I made to Portovenere in Cinque Terre, Italy. I and my son were so entranced by this magical place I knew there would be a novel ready to be written. The book is due for publication soon by Pharos Books.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Margaret, a resident in a nursing home, has been divorced from her husband who suffered from bipolar disorder. Her son Peter and her daughter Phoebe have placed her in this care facility after selling the family home. Both couples, Phoebe and her husband Neil and Peter and his wife Adriana, are in unhappy toxic relationships. Adriana however manages to divorce Peter and moves to Australia. But Peter and Phoebe are not the only two children that Margaret has. Before her marriage, Margaret had given birth to a son who was adopted by a Canadian couple. She always thought of this child and yearned to see him again. The plot takes a turn when by sheer coincidence, Adriana meets Margaret s son in Sydney.

A baby surrendered for adoption, the trauma of mental illness, a dysfunctional family. Can happiness be achieved or what fate awaits this ordinary woman called Margaret?

From an early age, Annette was encouraged to write and was awarded several prizes for English. A native of Sydney, Australia, she published a short story at the age of twelve. She remained passionate to her writing, but the demands of raising a family left no time to pursue her interest. Now retired, Annette has reignited her passion and written six books with the seventh nearing completion. Annette lives with her partner, Stephen, at Neutral Bay, a suburb on Sydney Harbour. She has two sons, Mark and Brett, two grandsons, Jaime and Flynn and a sister, Maree.


Margaret’s Story by Annette Creswell is a captivating and intriguing story about loss, trauma, toxicity, mental illness, the effects of adoption, and the lifelong pursuit of happiness in the lives of a highly dysfunctional family.  Creswell does an impeccable job of illustrating how mental illness and trauma affect a family and the life following thereafter. Margaret’s Story is brilliantly beautiful, intermingled with life and loss, and daringly bold in its complicated plot lines. This insightful novel sheds light on how the actions of people always yield results— for better or worse. 

I greatly enjoyed this book.  It made me evaluate how my relationship with my family directly affects the decisions I make.  It also gives me perspective on how others deal with dysfunctional families.  Margaret’s Story revolves highly around family and how intertwined relationships become with lifelines and decisions. This book was intriguing and truly made me think.  The story itself was captivating and kept me wanting more.  The characters were relatable and rich in personality, and the plot was thick with twists and turns.

This book deals with difficult topics sheds light on things that are not talked about or considered taboo and has a beautiful story that one can return to. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a family, deals with mental illness, and has a history of trauma.  This recommendation is not based on the topics of these potential triggers; rather, it is based on how these are dealt with and can open up doors for opportunities. 

Margaret’s Story is an emotionally charged family saga novel that touches on family life’s messy and complicated aspects. This book is highly recommended, and readers will find themselves invested in the story, wanting more until the end.

Pages: 190 | ASIN : B0BBW696N8

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A Discussion With A Friend

Annette Creswell
Annette Creswell Author Interview

The Lodgers introduces readers to a wonderful variety of characters that come together in a boarding house in the 50’s. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My inspiration for The Lodgers came from a discussion with a friend of mine who had resided in a similar establishment in London in 1960. He regaled me with the creaking stairs, the shared bathroom and a basin which had a constantly dripping tap. Also living in the lodging house as a permanent resident was an aged army major and also a lady who had been a dancer in the vaudeville shows. Hence the landlady Mabel was created and Arthur became the old army major.

Your characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I have always been interested in the plights of unmarried mothers especially the girls spirited away from Ireland so Therese came into being. My interest extends to the World Wars and the terrible repercussions resulting from them. This led to the creation of Ned, his mother and also Judy who is admirably cared for by her recovering alcoholic sister, Irene.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I included the south of France where I have travelled and my own beloved country, the wide brown land of Australia.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have two more novels due for release: 79 Uxbridge Road and Margaret’s Story.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

When Mabel, a former Vaudeville performer, lands a job managing a boarding house on the ocean, she appears to attract a disparate cast of lodgers, all with unfortunate and dark lives.The lodgers include:Two queens, old thespian friends of Mabel’s who live in the basement with a peppercorn rent.Therese, a pregnant Irish girl banished to England by her mother who assumes she is in an unmarried mothers’ home in the care of the nuns.Irene, a recovering alcoholic who has a sister Judy who, due to a trauma experienced during the war is unable to speak.Arthur, an aged army major, had a son Ned who was shot for desertion.Harry, alias Percy, a con man and felon who befriends the landlady, Mabel.When Therese moves to the Outback to get married, Judy follows and one day Judy spots a Kookaburra in a nearby tree. When the bird laughs, an unexpected, wondrous miracle happens.

The Lodgers

The Lodgers by [Annette Creswell]

The Lodgers by Annette Creswell is a historical fiction story set in the early 1950’s. Therese O’Brien, a young girl from Dublin Ireland, finds herself pregnant and unwed and she is sent to Brighton England to hide her shame. While her mother tells everyone the story that Therese has gone to London to work in a fancy hotel, in fact she is supposed to stay at a convent until the baby’s birth and then give up her child and return home as though nothing had happened. But Therese wants to make up her own mind about what to do and she takes a room in Mabel Dawson’s lodging house rather than following through on her mother’s plan. Hiding the truth from her family, she struggles to figure out what decision she can live with. Will any of the other lodgers be able to help her determine the right choice?

The residents of the lodging house were an interesting cast of characters, which included Irene, a recovering alcoholic, Irene’s sister Judy, who had not spoken since she suffered a traumatic event and was committed to a mental asylum, Arthur, an old retired army major, Mabel, the landlady who was a former vaudevillian, and a parrot who revealed the true identity of a killer. I liked learning about the various characters’ pasts and the insights that were given in to their thoughts and feelings.

One of my favorite parts of the story was the way that Irene befriended Therese and helped her, and I enjoyed seeing the bond developing between the two women. I also liked seeing what happened to the lodgers after they left the boarding house one by one and moved on with their lives. The author did not leave any unanswered questions at the end of the book, and I enjoyed reading how things turned out for Therese and Irene, who had both suffered through strife in their past.

While I heartily enjoyed this thought-provoking novel, I thought that there were areas with no transitions between scenes, which made these sections of the story feel like there were pieces missing. In contrast, there were areas where there was a repetition of information, with details that had already been revealed through internal dialogue and then repeated again in conversations with other characters. I think the flow of the story would have benefited from the events being retold in a more linear timeline.

The Lodgers is an emotionally resonant novel that follows some intriguing characters. This is a story that will appeal to fans of historical fiction that enjoy a character driven story with a satisfying ending.

Pages: 210 | ASIN: B092MVKKRT

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