Episode 1

Imagining alternate histories and fighting fascism through English literature with Jane Thynne

Jane Thynne was born in Venezuela and moved around the world with her parents and two brothers before settling in London. She is a journalist and writer who has published several historical fiction novels. Today, though, we are discussing her chilling new alternative history Widowland. 

Our interview starts at 19 minutes. 

Michelle recommends

The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor

An uplifting and joyful novel about a young woman in the 1960s finding her place in the world

Caitlin recommends

Acknowledgements by Becky Lucas

A brilliantly funny collection of essays from an Australian comedian thanking the people who have had big (and small) impacts on her life.

*Note: Caitlin read a review copy of this novel through her position at Harper Collins Australia. Her job did not affect her decision to recommend this book.

In this interview, we chat about: 

  • The elements of Nazi Germany that inspired Widowland and the real-life women referenced in the novel
  • Why Jane chose not to explicitly name Hitler in the novel
  • The fascination of imagining how we would react living in an oppressive tyrannical regimen
  • How one dinner party was the catalyst for Jane to write Widowland
  • How Jane became fascinated by the 1930s and 40s and how it has influenced her writing career
  • Fear and how it can be used to control a population (an technique used in the world of Widowland)
  • Why Jane wanted to write this novel under a pseudonym, after publishing her historical fiction series

Books and other things mentioned

  • Love Island UK
  • Wentworth
  • Glow Up
  • Interior Design Masters
  • Brooklyn 99
  • Girl Logic by Iliza Shlesinger
  • No Shame by Tom Allen
  • What is Yorkshire Day? Read about it here!
  • Heartbeat
  • Day of the Jackal (movie)

Follow Jane on Instagram @authorjanethynne.

Follow us on Instagram @betterwordspod

Widowland is available now. 

Michelle and Caitlin received PR copies of Widowland from Quercus UK. 

About the Podcast

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Better Words

About your hosts

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Caitlin Toohey

Hi, I'm Caitlin! I've been on bookstagram since 2016, a podcaster since 2017, and worked in publishing since 2019. So books and reading are my entire life. When I'm not reading, I like listening to Taylor Swift, watching sitcoms, and generally being a theatre kid.
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Michelle Gately

Hi, I'm Michelle! I'm an Aussie living in the UK, working as a bookseller at Waterstones. I'm obsessed with storytelling in all its forms – I spend as much time watching TV or listening to podcasts as I do reading. Other hobbies include bouldering, hiking and generally obsessing about my pug Percy.