First novel tells of life on the front-line

14:44 12 December 2012

Front line service in Iraq has inspired Melanie Hudson to write her debut novel, The Wedding Cake Tree,

Front line service in Iraq has inspired Melanie Hudson to write her debut novel, The Wedding Cake Tree,


Old photo inspires Parracombe author to pen poignant tale of love, loss and re-discovery.

Front line service in Iraq has inspired Melanie Hudson to write her debut novel, The Wedding Cake Tree,Front line service in Iraq has inspired Melanie Hudson to write her debut novel, The Wedding Cake Tree,

FROM front line service in Iraq to a cottage in leafy North Devon, Melanie Hudson’s life has had more twists than a novel.

Now she’s written a book of her own, and her links with the armed services provide an intuitive route into a romance shaped by media and modern conflict.

Melanie, 41, from Parracombe, wrote The Wedding Cake Tree, published this month, on retiring from the Royal Navy in 2010.

She said she was inspired to write the tale of love, loss and re-discovery after browsing through some old photos and discovering a picture of herself in combat fatigues fast asleep on a truck trundling through Iraq.

She said: “I smiled at the photo, looked across at my sleeping baby, and wondered if my son would ever know who his mother ‘really was’.

“That gave me the idea for the story, which is about a woman who finally tells her daughter about the life she lived before her daughter was born – and her hopes to puppeteer her daughter’s life from beyond the grave in the process.

“The Wedding Cake Tree is a fairly simple story, but, most importantly to me, the hero is a modern-day soldier and I couldn’t have imagined casting anyone else for the role.”

The self-published book was shortlisted for a HarperCollins/Alan Titchmarsh Peoples’ Novelist Award, has been printed by Stockwells Press and is available in paperback and as a Kindle download.

Melanie added: “As an independent author I am my own agent and publicist so a new journey is about to begin.”


Other Entertainment Stories

Exmouth Festival

There’s lots of live music to enjoy around Exmouth this weekend.

Read more
Sidmouth Connaught Gardens. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 3962-25-12AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to and click on myphotos24

Audiences can enjoy open air theatre in Sidmouth this summer

Read more
Sunshine at the North Devon Show.

The North Devon Show returns on Wednesday, August 5, with a jam-packed list of events. Find out 10 of the best things to look forward to here...

Read more
Yesterday, 18:35
Kate Rusby

Sidmouth FolkWeek (Friday, July 31-Friday, August 7) is nearly upon us. The tone for the busy festival will be set with two special pre-festival concerts at the Ham Marquee.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:48
BBC Radio Devon presenter James Santer

Rising stars - and ones to watch - have been handpicked for a packed programme of performers at a festival of free music in Salcombe Regis.

Read more
Wed, 18:35
Taking the applause at Branscombe (from left): pianist Matteo Pais, soprano Angel Blue and tenor Francesco Meli. Photo: Paul Strange.

Now in its third year, Branscombe Festival has established itself as one of the South West’s most prestigious cultural events.

Read more
Wed, 13:42
The Torrington bonfire

Torrington Trumpton village is nearing completion ahead of the big burn on August Bank Holiday.

Read more
Wed, 11:29

North Devon events from 30/07/15 to 5/08/15

Read more
Wed, 09:22
Ninebarrow. Picture: Greg Funnell

Jim Causley and Friends will host a unique West-fest for Lyme Folk’s finale on Sunday, August 23, with How the West was Sung, a music-packed evening of song and banter, from local artists celebrating our the West Country.

Read more
Mon, 19:45
Somersault Festival 2015.

Around 17,000 people flocked to Castle Hill Estate this weekend to party through the rain and sunshine at Somersault Festival.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 8°C

Most Read Entertainment

Great British Life

Great British Life

Family Notices 24

Devon's trusted business finder