The Arrival of Missives
By Aliya Whiteley
Published by Unsung Stories
Available in paperback
Aliya Whiteley's latest novel, The Arrival of Missives, tells the story of fate, free-will and trying to break away from tradition and the choices made for us by society. This novel mixes together speculative fiction, realism and feminism into a tightly-packed story.
The Great War has been life-changing for everyone - loved ones not coming home, or coming home but different, physically and mentally scarred from the events in Europe.
For Shirley Fearn, a school girl living in rural England to a family who farm the land, it was seeing the women working with jobs beyond the social convention of being a wife that has changed her. But that spark of change is being brushed back under the carpet as life returns back to its predictable self in the village. Shirley clings to the hope of escape and becoming a teacher. She doesn't want to end up being a farmer's wife.
Her teacher, Mr Tiller has been left disfigured after the war - a rock stuck in his chest. This rock has given him the power of prophecy, and the future he has seen needs to be rewritten and the only person who can do this is Shirley. She must choose: the life picked for her by her parents, the life picked for her by her teacher or her own future. Her life is at a crossroads and she must make a decision.
Whiteley's forthright character Shirley reminded me of Jane Eyre - having the push of pull of living up to other peoples expectations while trying to find her own way in the world. It's not until she's given the power of being May Queen that she can stand up for the things she wants in her life.
The Arrival of Missives is a short interesting read about breaking out of society's conventions
You can buy The Arrival of Missives from your favourite bookshop.
The publisher kindly sent me a copy.