Manchester writer Alrene Hughes releases second novel set in Belfast

Manchester writer Alrene Hughes releases second novel set in Belfast

MANCHESTER writer Alrene Hughes has published her second novel – continuing the journey of her debut, which was loosely based on the lives of her mother and aunties.

Fermanagh-born Hughes grew up in Belfast but has been based in Manchester – where she is a member of the Manchester Irish Writers group – for a number of years.

She has always been compelled to write of the North of Ireland, however, and the stories inspired by her heritage.

After receiving critical acclaim for her debut novel Martha’s Girls, which was published in 2013, the former assistant headteacher released her sequel in March.

Published by Blackstaff Press, The Golden Sisters brings Martha’s Girls into 1941, where German Bombs are dropping on Belfast.

The characters – Irene, Pat, Peggy and Shelia – are singing their way through the concert halls and army camps of the North of Ireland, much like the author's aunties and mother did as singers in Belfast decades ago, but the war serves to turn their lives in unexpected directions.

“It's a family saga crossed with a historical romance, set in Belfast during WW2,” Hughes told The Irish Post this week.

“It’s a sequel to the first book Martha's Girls, although it can be read as a standalone novel,” she added.

The Golden Sisters was launched in the NI War Memorial Museum in Belfast in March and is already a bestseller in the Historical Irish Fiction category on Amazon Kindle.

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