Auntie Jose and Eden Falls

My Auntie Jose died on July 4th, finally succumbing to the lung cancer that had been diagnosed eighteen months previously. She was my Dad’s older sister, although only by a year, so when they were youngsters they were usually together, playing in the street or on the nearby fields with the gang of kids from the neighbourhood. They lived in a terraced house on Beaumont Street in a small mining town called Hoyland Common, and it’s this little house – three-up, two-down – that abides in my memory, and that appeared in fictionalised form as Eve and Arthur William’s house in Netherwood.

Auntie Jose (that isn’t a mis-spelling, by the way; she was Josephine, and that’s the abbreviation she chose, adding a jaunty acute accent to the final ‘e’, which I can’t reproduce because I’m inept at keyboard technology) was proud as punch at the publication of Netherwood and then Ravenscliffe. It makes me sadder than I can express that she isn’t here to cheer on Eden Falls when it’s published on September 12th. Mind you, she confided to my Mum that there were some words in Ravenscliffe that she’d never heard of – she didn’t elaborate on exactly which ones, and now I’ll never know. Of course, I suppose if she hadn’t heard of them, she wouldn’t remember them either. But that said, she would have lined up the third novel alongside the other two on her bookcase, and bragged about it to the lovely Macmillan nurses who helped lighten the last few weeks of her life.

Her death is the first significant bereavement I’ve experienced, and the loss of her has left me vulnerable to great washes of sorrow at unpredictable moments, quite out of the blue. It has also reminded me of the passing of time, the inevitability of death, the fragility of life … all those things we know to be true but which rarely impinge on our daily consciousness. I’m glad and grateful that through my writing I’ve been able to talk to Auntie Jose about the past; just like Dad and Mum, she allowed me to plunder her memories of growing up in a pit town, so that Auntie’s memories mingled with everyone else’s and my own, to emerge on the pages of my novels.

She would have liked Eden Falls I think (notwithstanding the occasional unknown word, such as ‘notwithstanding’, perhaps). The Jamaican scenes would have reminded her of all the foreign holidays she took over the years, always in the company of her friend and soulmate, Dorothy, whose loss is so much greater than the rest of the family’s. I wish Auntie was still here but, since we can’t have her back, I’m glad she was who she was: an indomitable, feisty little Yorkshire woman, with a soft spot for her two nieces.


  • david walters

    Dear Jane,
    Your Netherwood book was so wonderful to read, I am an old bugger (70) but it made me cry when eve cried and made me happy when she was happy. You made your characters so belivable, I was almost talking to them my self , feeling that I was in their company.
    I live in Bulgaria now, from manchester originally (sorry) and I have made your pork pie it was really good! even tho I do say it m’self.
    Well thank you again for making me feel so good

    All the best and hope you have a wonderful life.

    • Jane Sanderson

      Dave, your lovely message just brought a spring to my step and a song to my heart – thanks so much not only for enjoying the book, but also for writing to say so. It makes the slog worthwhile. All the very best to you too, Jane.

  • Jo

    Thank you for writing your wonderful books Jane. I’m still reading Ravenscliffe and it truly takes me away.

    I live in Australia – a far cry from the pit towns of Yorkshire, but I come from a long line of coal miners (from Northumberland) and the landed gentry & nobility (North Yorkshire, etc.,) and your books give me a great insight into both sides of my family history (a gentleman’s daughter ran away with a coal miner and came to Australia to live in 1922)!

    So thank you, sincerely, for giving me a glimpse of what it must have been like.

    ~ Jo

    • Jane Sanderson

      Dear Jo – thanks for taking the time to write, and I’m so pleased you’re enjoying my books. You still have Eden Falls ahead of you! Your own family history sounds like the basis for a good novel – fascinating stuff. Thanks again, and do help spread the word in Australia…. Best wishes, Jane.

  • marjorie

    Dear Jane, I have just finished ‘Ravenscliffe’, after reading ‘Netherwood’, and must tell you how much I have enjoyed both books!! So good to find a ‘new’ author, to enjoy! I do hope the new Title I see on here, is more of the same, possibly some of the same characters continued! Well done, and more please!!

    • Jane Sanderson

      Dear Marjorie – just found your lovely message: thank you! You should find that Eden Falls is right up your street – a continuation of the story with all your favourite characters plus a few new ones. Hope you enjoy it and thanks for taking the time to write – Jane.

  • Jane Leake

    Hi Jane ,
    I didn’t know what a treat I had in store when I found ‘Netherwood’ and ‘Ravenscliffe’. I thoroughly enjoyed both books and then discovered ‘Eden Falls’ which I have almost finished reading. I shall be sad when I come to the end . Is there any chance of a fourth volume in the not too distant future? Hope you continue to have a successful career.

    Jane Leake.

    • Jane Sanderson

      Dear Jane – thanks for your message, and for enjoying my books! I’m currently writing another book unrelated to the Netherwood series, but I have a sequel all mapped out and I’ll certainly write it in due course – I know the story doesn’t end with Eden Falls! Sorry to keep you waiting……

  • marge monahan

    Dear Jane, I stumbled on “Netherwood” & loved it. I just finished “Ravenscliffe” And thought it can’t stop ! I have to know about Eve & Daniel’s child. What happens to Seth & the girls , Anna & Amos. A story could come out of Edward Wakefield. My favorite character is Anna. My lease favorite is Silas.

    I just had to look you up & see if there was a continuing story.
    Much to my relief there is ! Now off to the book store I go !

    Thanks Marge

    • Jane Sanderson

      Hi Marge and thanks for your lovely message. Hope you enjoy Eden Falls as much as the others, and it should certainly satisfy your craving for further adventures of Anna, Eve et al.

  • Lori

    Jane – I wish we’d had time to talk about Aunt Jose more. You mentioned her passing, but I didn’t realize how close you were to her. She sounds like quite the one! Love, Lori

    • Jane Sanderson

      Hi Lori – she was always there, and now she’s not: we miss her lots xox

  • Eileen Rhodes

    G’day Jane, I’ve just finished Eden Falls, please tell me that a continuing book is imminent. I would also like to know the names of any other books you’ve written since Eden Falls.
    Cheers, Eileen.

    • Jane Sanderson

      Hey Eileen, thanks so much for your kind message – just the thing for a drab Monday morning! Glad you enjoyed my three books; I was all set to write a fourth when my publishers got cold feet…..but one of these days it’ll be written, because there’s more of the story to tell. Meanwhile my new book is currently with my agent, who’s hoping to place it soon – it’s a different one altogether from the Netherwood series. And I have another book on the go at home – based on the 1907 Peking to Paris road rally (I’ve made Dickie Hoyland one of the competitors!) Thanks for reading, thanks again for writing, and have a great rest of the day. Jane

      • Jean

        Hi Jane
        I can’t believe your publishers have got cold feet about another book in the Netherwood series. I have just finished reading Eden Falls and I’m sure there are thousands like me who can’t wait for the story to continue. We will petition them if necessary! Many thanks for some wonderful stories.

  • Sharon Gaunt

    Hi Jane
    Have just finished Eden Falls then went on-line to find the continuation of this wonderful story. I was hugely disappointed to read that your publisher got cold feet, I do hope they have a change of mind soon. Your characters now seem so lifelike and it’s too soon to call a halt to this wonderful story.

    • Jane Sanderson

      Hi Sharon, great to hear from you, and thanks for your kind comments. I’d love to continue the story, and I’m determined that one day I shall. I miss having Eve, Anna and Amos in my life! All the best, Jane.

  • Nancy Jarvis

    Dear Jane
    I have so enjoyed both Netherwood and Ravenscliffe though I read them the wrong way round it did not spoil it. I have sent an email to my library to ask them why they don’t stock Eden Falls. Your publishers are being very short sited to have cold feet for another book in the series. I will be sending an email to protest.
    Many thanks for giving me an insight again on the miners hard life.
    One of my favorite books of all time which I read 40 years ago was When the Stars look down. So it was good to read your books on the same subject. I do hope your publishers have a change of heart and we can enjoy some more of Anna Eve Amos Theo and co.
    Many thanks again for giving me hours of enjoyment
    Nancy Jarvis

    • Jane Sanderson

      Dear Nancy
      Many thanks for your heartwarming email, and I hope you manage to track down a copy of Eden Falls, because it picks up the story where Ravenscliffe leaves off. It’s so kind of you to take the time to write. I don’t know the book you mention, but I’ll look it up – like you, I find the lives and stories of the Yorkshire mining communities very compelling.
      All good wishes

  • Carole Cameron

    Jane, Jane I so enjoyed Ravenscliffe and am about to start Eden Falls. What’s next? I so want to read more.