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Forward together to happy times as May publishes her second book

By Toby Neal | Telford | News | Published:

A Telford woman's first book detailing her tough early life in Jamaica was so harrowing that her youngest daughter has yet to steel herself to read it.

Tony and May

But now May Grainger, of Trench, has brought out the follow-up volume which tells of happier times as she married a British soldier and was an Army wife bringing up three small children mainly on her own while he was away, before eventually settling down to civilian life and new challenges.

The first part of her autobiography, called Montego May, had quite an impact.

"A couple of people said to me that they had cried, that they put it down and had to pick it up again," said 80-year-old May.

The cover of Forward Together

"My children said 'They were cruel to you, mum.' I told them that it's over now.

"My youngest one said 'I'm not reading it until you die because I don't want to know that people were so cruel.' She is 48 and can't bring herself to read it after what she has heard about it.

"I think she will read the new one."

The second book is called Forward Together, and husband Tony – the British soldier May married at the Salvation Army's Bramwell Booth Memorial Hall in Kingston in October 1961 – said: "It's more upbeat, telling of her experiences and adventures."

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'We had to change all the names'

May had not written the first volume with a second in mind, but said: "As time goes on you realise that there's more, and this one follows on. And we are getting on in life after 57 years of marriage."

As with Montego May, the nervous American publishers were so worried about libel that they insisted on changes, to such an extent that Tony says that if he had not already paid up front he would have withdrawn the book.

"We had to change all the names, including our own family names. My name is Anthony, but I had to use Michael, my middle name," said Tony.

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And May, as before, writes under the name "Lilly May."

Tony and May on their wedding day, October 21, 1961

May started writing about her life primarily so that her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren would know about her upbringing.

It's possible that her story might be taken up by film-makers, as the first volume was sent by the publishers to Tinseltown.

"The book is now in Hollywood. It's signed up," said May.

"It could be used at some stage," added Tony.

"Forward Together" is published by Authorhouse

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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