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'Lost Family' Published Today: Williams Celebrating Release Of Second Novel, Author Appearance Planned



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Newtown resident Katherine Williams is celebrating the release of her second book, Lost Family, a historical fiction novel set in WWII France.

In the book, Amélie joins the French resistance and assists her father in liberating their Jewish neighbors and friends from Nazi concentration camps. Amélie’s time line is mirrored by Ben in modern day North Wales where he renovates an old convent into an inn for hikers and city folk alike who want to escape and explore the countryside. Ben’s mysteries begin when his grandmother dies, and he finds an old satchel full of paintings and documents he had never seen before. The book weaves new beginnings, tragedy, and loyalty seamlessly to deliver readers an unforgettable experience filled with twists and turns that are sure to get a reaction.

Williams hopes her readers gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of WWII not only in France, but also across the world.

“What happened in WWII should never happen again,” she said. “People should always be looking to do what’s right, help people who need help.” When Williams was born, she said, rationing from the war was still ongoing in England.

A longtime resident of Newtown, Williams was born and grew up on the Wirral Peninsula in Cheshire, England, before moving to London to study business with French and Spanish.

She moved to the United States, with her two young sons, in her late thirties.

“My father was a very complicated man,” the author explained. “I don’t know what my own father did in the war. He would never tell anybody, and nobody knew.”

Williams wanted to recontextualize the war and the struggles it presented to everyday people. In Lost Family, Ben’s grandmother echoes this in the book as she kept her experiences close to her chest; after her death, her family was left to put the pieces of her life together, starting with locating her birth certificate.

As Ben’s story unfolds in the present, readers learn just how connected he is to Amélie, and how resilient Amélie is. When Williams was crafting her characters, she said, “I wanted [Amélie] to be young and innocent because I wanted the contrast of what came after … I wanted her to be an adolescent just experiencing life, and then suddenly everything was turned upside down.”

Ben has a similar experience in the modern world when the COVID-19 pandemic struck Europe. He is visiting his parents and grandmother in North Wales when the borders close, and he can’t return to his flat and job in England.

“[Ben] was a bit of a nerd,” Williams said. “And he’d done exactly what his parents had always told him to do. And then he realized that he didn’t need to do that anymore, you know? He could do something else and he could be who he wanted to be … I think that’s what a lot of people did during COVID. They suddenly realized … what the hell am I doing this stupid job for? I want to do something that fulfills me more, and that’s where his character came from.”

Between the two characters, Williams crafts a story about what the nobility keeping a family together takes during hard times.

An avid reader, Williams started writing short stories in 2018. Her fascination for WWII history, particularly the role of women in the Resistance, led her to write The Glovemaker’s War, her first full-length novel. It was published in May 2022 by Atmosphere Press.

The Glovemaker’s War is a tale of three generations of women launched when one courageous woman decides to join the Special Operations Executive during World War II. Kirkus Reviews called it “a sweet tale of love in wartime.”

Williams was among the first authors to be invited to participate in appearances at the then-recently opened Barnes & Noble at Danbury Mall. She is scheduled to do an author signing this month, on Saturday, June 29, from 1-3 pm. The store is at 7 Backus Avenue in Danbury.


Reporter Sam Cross can be reached at sam@thebee.com.

The second full-length novel by Newtown resident Katherine Williams, Lost Family will be published on June 11. —Atmosphere Press illustration
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