The Bury Free Press helped Tessa set the scene in WW1 novel

Tessa West with her new novel. ANL-141015-194844009
Tessa West with her new novel. ANL-141015-194844009
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Author Tessa West used the Bury Free Press to research Suffolk life in World War One for her latest novel.

Tessa, a former prison assistant governor from Glemsford, haunted the Suffolk Records Office in Bury for her research for As Best We Can, which follows the lives of the Bailey family and their two serving sons.

She said: “I enjoy the research enormously. I learn a lot and experience new things.

“For As Best We Can, which is set around West Stow, I spent ages looking through old copies of the Bury Free Press to find out what people were thinking about at the time.

“It brought home the enormity of the impact of the war – the huge lists of local men who were killed.”

Published by her own Fox Books, it uses mostly the voices of the people involved to tell the story from the viewpoints of the soldiers and the family they leave behind in West Stow.

Tessa, having been a primary school teacher, took up teaching posts at Highpoint Prison, later moving to Hollesley Bay and Littlehey in Cambridgeshire before moving to The Wolds private prison.