As a former journalist, Ruth Badley had plenty of experience telling other people's stories.

But little did she know the one closest to home would be the most interesting.

Ruth worked for a newspaper in Harrogate for many years, mainly covering the arts scene, before taking up a job in PR but her storytelling skills were put to good use years later when she decided to research her family history.

She says: "We moved to Dubai for my husband's work, which meant I had a bit of time on my hands.

"Around about the same time, back in the UK, my mother had a stroke, and I was told she would not survive, something no ex-pat wants to hear.

"Naturally it got me to thinking about the relationship my mother and I had, which was not always an easy one, and the background to that, which was her mother died shortly after giving birth to her."

Going in search of what happened to her grandmother, the impact of this hidden family tragedy, which rippled across three generations, has led to Ruth's first book, Where Are The Grown Ups?

Ruth’s research showed her maternal grandmother, a cigarette maker from London’s East End, died following childbirth in 1930 at the age of 25 and her own mother was adopted as a newborn.

"I can honestly say I wept tears and tears while writing this book," Ruth adds, "once I saw her marriage and death certificate it kind of brought it all home to me, especially when I discovered new information about her death that my mother never knew."

And that was rather than dying in childbirth, Ruth's grandmother died three days after from a condition that can still kill women today if it's not properly diagnosed. That's eclampsia, which is caused by high blood pressure and can lead to seizures, going into a coma, and possible death.

Ruth says: “The impact of my grandmother’s death had a profound impact on my family. Although this is my own story, the complexities and difficulties of family life that I write about I'm sure will resonate with most people.

"We launched it in Brick Lane, close by to where the story is set, which was a very special thing for me."

Before her time on the newspaper, Ruth graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1978 and taught in secondary schools in London before moving to South Australia, where she worked in adult migrant education, specifically with Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees.

She moved to Mount Bures 18 months ago falling in love with the area immediately.

"It's a really lovely place to live," she continues, "and I'm enjoying discovering lots of different places all the time."

One of which is Red Lion Books, where Ruth will be talking about Where Are The Grown Ups? on Monday, August 12, as part of the Appetite Book Club.

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