Athaliah Prance appears in the Bideford chapters of Barefoot on the Cobbles. She, like her cousin Polly, is one of several sisters but unlike Polly, she struggles to be heard amongst her more boisterous sisters. It is with Athaliah that Polly is given the opportunity to explore the town.
Athaliah Prance was born in Bideford on 14 April 1872, just two weeks after Polly. She was the daughter of Joseph and Susan Prance née Found; her father was a shopkeeper in Mill Street. As is recounted in the novel, she married Frank Holwill, the ironmonger’s assistant, in 1893. They lived in Lime Grove, Bideford and had five children. As an adult, Athalia called herself Hetty but unfortunately, I did not find this out in time to give her that name in the novel. Later the Holwills moved to Northam. Athaliah died in 1955.
“The young women had gazed in the shop windows, admiring hats and haberdashery and strolled along the quay, watching the ships unloading. Athaliah insisted that their walks took them past Hopson’s ironmongery. She even took Polly inside, pretending to take an interest in the array of brooms and brushes on display. In truth it was Mr Hopson’s young assistant who had caught Athaliah’s eye.”
Barefoot on the Cobbles will be published on 17 November 2018. More information about the novel can be found here. Copies will be available at various events in the weeks following the launch or can be pre-ordered from Blue Poppy Publishing or the author. Kindle editions can be pre-ordered for the UK and also on Amazon.com.