Poppy Day by Amanda Prowse
How far would you go to bring home the one you love?
This is the question posed in this contemporary love story that takes you from the streets of East London to the plains of Afghanistan. Poppy Day is a twenty one year old hairdresser, devoted to her husband Martin and blessed with a sunny disposition. Martin is the one constant in her life, her protector and best friend since they were six, making an often difficult childhood easier to bear.
Martin and Poppy are an 'ordinary' couple who find themselves in an extraordinary situation. Having joined the British Army in search of a better life for them both, their world is ripped apart when Martin is taken hostage while on his first tour in Afghanistan. Battling against army culture and procedure, Poppy decides to try and bring her "Mart" home herself.
Fuelled by naivety, she feels that nothing is impossible when doing it for the man she loves. Her journey sees her paying a very high price and incurs some heartbreaking consequences... 'Poppy Day' gives an insight into life beneath the uniform, a peek at what it's like to be the one left at home, ticking off the days until your loved one returns and what happens when there is a knock on the door that every forces wife, husband, mother, father or lover dreads...
All proceeds from the sale of Poppy Day go directly to The Royal British Legion to help fund the charity's Battle Back Centre for injured Service personnel.
Amanda's Thoughts on Poppy Day
Poppy Day is a work of fiction, but it is almost impossible to write about a subject in which you are so entrenched without making it (in some way) autobiographical. The book starts with Poppy receiving the knock on the door that every forces family dreads. I found myself crying as I described the emotions that Poppy experiences, knowing that the two men on the other side of the door are there to deliver the very worst news.
As an army wife and mum to two teenage boys, I am always on tenterhooks while my husband is away fighting. Even though I paint on a smile for the kids and the outside world (life goes on right?) inside, my tummy flutters with nerves and my breathing is slightly out of sync until he walks through the door safe and sound and back into my arms. People tend to think that waving your man off to war is something that stopped in the 1940's, something that last occurred for my nan and her generation, but it didn't end then, not for me or tens of thousands of women like me. Poppy Day is a love story, but it is also the story of an ordinary army family and the extraordinary situation in which they find themselves when Martin is taken hostage on his first tour of Afghanistan. It details Poppy's adventure in trying to bring home the man she loves.
I am going to Afghanistan with my best friend Carol Vorderman to retrace Poppy's steps and to try and offer some insight into what it is like for the wives and partners of these warriors who are left behind. I know that the only reason my husband comes home intact and unharmed is luck, I am also aware that not all forces families are as lucky as us. This is why every penny from the sale of Poppy Day is going to the RBL in this their 90th anniversary. It is my way of saying thank you to my husband all like him who fight to keep me safe and to recognise an amazing charity who are there to pick up the pieces for forces families past, present and future, when they are needed the most.