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One of my pet hates is people who complain things were better in the old days.

Because they weren’t.

When I was a child Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were abducting, abusing and murdering children.

Spare the rod and spoil the child was still a widely held belief and, though I was incredibly lucky to have a safe and secure home life, lots of other kids didn’t.

And Rosebrook Chronicles (The Hidden Stories), a tense psychological series of interwoven stories following the lives of three abused teenagers, is a timely reminder of just how grim life was for too many children back in the ‘good old days’.


The stories open in London, 1960. Robin wants a better future but, unwittingly, puts his trust in the wrong person.

Dublin, 1968. Two Irish orphans are separated by the Church. An English family want to adopt six-year-old Bess, but elder brother Peter is left to survive in a brutal orphanage.

Eventually, he manages to escape and heads for London to find her.

Three abused teenagers, desperate to pursue their dreams, find love and re-establish broken family ties – but, at what cost?


Rosebrook Chronicles is not an easy read – at times the gloom is unremitting – but author Helen J Christmas shows why the past shouldn’t be viewed through rose-tinted spectacles.

Christmas says victims like Robin, Bess, and Peter were denied a voice. And she wrote Rosebrook Chronicles to give them one.

Food for thought for anyone who thinks the past is another country and that we should return there.

No thanks.

Review by Sue Featherstone.

Available to buy on Amazon.

About the author:

Helen J. Christmas lives on the south coast with her husband.

With a love of writing since childhood, she wrote her decade spanning thriller series Same Face Different Place, between 2011 and 2017.

This five-book mystery suspense series explores British culture and social history from the 70s to the 90s.

In 2016, inspired by the Bronte sisters, Helen decided she wanted to develop her writing skills by compiling a book of character-driven short stories and in 2018 completed Rosebrook Chronicles (The Hidden Stories).

The 16th century cottage in which Helen lives with her husband Peter, restored in 1991, provides endless inspiration for writing, something she fits around her family and social life.

Helen is a self-employed web designer and enjoys blogging, country walks, photography and cookery.

Follow Helen J Christmas on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Goodreads, or visit her website and blog.

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