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Ted Watt’s Diary

The war changed him forever, in every way but one

(6 customer reviews)
Authors: Steve Matthews
Fiction, WWI, history
153mm x 230mm

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Ted Watts’ Diary is a captivating coming-of-age love story that spans over 60 years. Set in early 1900s Sydney, orphaned Ted embarks on a tumultuous journey into manhood, then he meets and falls in love with Maddie ‘Dimples’.

Before settling down he decides to follow his destiny and fight in the Great War. Underage, he enlists, leaving behind a devoted Maddie who vows to wait for him indefinitely. He promises to return as a hero, with his life story detailed in the diary Maddie gifts him the day before he departs.

Years later, the promised diary resurfaces in Bremen, Germany, discovered by Gertie. As she delves into its pages, Ted’s quest for heroism and his unwavering promise to recount his life story unfold. Through Gertie’s eyes, we follow Ted’s exploits and adventures from his early years and beyond, encountering larrikins, mateship, humour, heroes, villains, retribution, tears, laughter, thieves, spies, war, and tender love.

But how did the diary end up in Germany in 1960 and can Gertie return it to its rightful owner, Maddie Dimples?

Ted Watts’ Diary takes readers on a riveting journey through time, delving into the triumphs and tribulations of the human spirit. It’s a poignant reflection on love, sacrifice, and the indomitable will to fulfill one’s destiny.

Steve Matthews

Steve Matthews

Steve Matthews’ work in children’s literacy in Australia and abroad has been widely recognised and acknowledged, and his acclaimed children’s books are sold in Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA. After selling his business interests, Steve has now fulfilled a life-long ambition to write full time. Hitler’s Brothel is his second novel for adults. […]

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6 reviews for Ted Watt’s Diary

  1. Ted Watts’ Diary is a compelling and captivating journey into the life of young Ted Watts, whom as a boy dreamed of becoming a soldier. With a tormented past and the beginning of the war to end all wars, young Ted gets his chance to join up and fight for his country. What follows next, can only be read to be believed.
    Ted Watts’ Diary had me laughing, cringing and shedding a few, or more, tears. It is a wonderful tale, masterfully written and has to be Steve Matthews best work to-date. I flew through the pages, all the while wishing that it wouldn’t end. Ted’s story will stay with me for a very long time to come.

  2. Steve Matthews is back with another page-turner exploring the depths of life during the war. His latest release, ‘Ted Watts’ Diary’ is an addictive clash of culture with witty and fascinating characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. Whilst the journey that Ted takes us on is one you’ll need to buckle up for, this confronting emotional yet heartwarming story is another reason you need to add this Steve Matthews title to to your bookshelf. Nothing short of gripping and inspiring.

  3. I’m a huge fan of Steve’s work. His Hitler series was an eye-opening glimpse into a side of Nazi Germany that I hadn’t yet encountered in fiction. Littered with courageous characters overcoming tremendous odds to survive the deadly Nazi regime, these books have found their way into the hearts and minds of a host of Australian readers.

    And so it was with great anticipation that I began to read ‘Ted Watts’ Diary’.

    It follows the life of young orphan Ted Watts’ who is sent to Australia to live with his maternal aunt. Encountering hard times, they move into a Sydney brothel where Ted meets and befriends crippled old soldier, George.

    Eventually falling out with his aunt, Ted resolves to become a soldier like his friend George. But before he can enlist, he meets and falls in love with Maddie ‘Dimples’. Determined to fight for his country, Ted enlists despite being underage. Maddie vows to wait for Ted and gifts him a diary which he faithfully writes while he’s away.

    Sixty years later, this diary is discovered by Gertie in the German town of Bremen. Delving into its pages, Gertie follows Ted’s tumultuous journey through the war. By the end, however, she is no closer to knowing what happened to Ted but is determined to return the diary to its rightful owner, Maddie ‘Dimples’.

    This was a book full of heart, humour and grit. A testament to the courage of so many young men who fought in the Great War. Men who saw things no one should ever see, but somehow still retain their humanity. Above all, Ted Watts’ diary is a beautiful love story that will stay with readers long after they’ve finished.

    A must read for lovers of historical fiction.

  4. The author’s grandfather whose memorabilia Steve has, fought at Beaumont-Hamel in 1916. The author has conjured from this his youthful Ted Watts, who goes on to fight in Gallipoli, Egypt and the Western Front.

    We follow Ted through his boyhood years, adolescence and manhood as he faces enormous challenges, deals with people of all shades of good and bad and falls in love. His innate intelligence and kindness carry him through the turmoils of childhood neglect and abuse and the horrors of war.

    The author draws on considerable research in creating the world of this book. Interestingly, he is, as with his previous works, at pains to draw the reader into questions of morality, into an introspection that forces us to imagine ourselves in those fictional, if often historically accurate, shoes and to wonder how we would react.

    The focus in this book is always on the human interactions, the way the individual fits into the social machine or pushes against it. The story is full of pathos and sadness, lit in flashes by the antics of its people and by the floating love story which takes so long to resolve.

    The structure of the story is of an envelope, and it is in the outer tale that the author returns to his interest in the German side of the conflict. He cites acts of cruelty but also the decency of some of the characters portrayed.

    This evenness points to the oft expressed idea that the ‘foot soldiers’ in conflicts may have more in common with one another than with their commanders. Ordinary people are swept up in wars not of their making.

    Other social issues explored in this book are underage enlistment (the moral imperative of fighting for King and Country), the ambiguity of collaboration, the permanent psychological damage done to people because of their traumatic war experiences, the role and often dire plight of women caught up in wars and the mistreatment of children in some family situations.

    Steve Matthews’ readers can always be assured of a well-researched winding tale told with passion and humour and with an intense interest in the human condition. Here is a writer interested in shades of grey, moral uncertainty rather than dogma and the complexity of human motivations and behaviours.

    This is a dedicated storyteller intent upon immersing his audience in both action and ideas. As a writer of historical fiction, he finds plenty of material already in the public consciousness, but he crafts it into a wild and colourful adventure that deliberately defies categorisation and rebelliously crosses the streams. Eat your heart out Egon Spengler.

  5. Upon reading the closing chapters of this book I found myself content with the ending, finding it hard to close the book after spending so much time with Ted and his diary. I highly recommend this book to a mature audience if you’re a Historical Fiction fan I encourage you to check out Steve Matthews previous offerings for adults in the Hitler Trilogy.

  6. Once again Matthews has crafted characters a reader can connect to as the story spreads across the 60 years, I was able to form a crystal-clear image of these characters in my head and this reader was able to form a strong attachment to the boys in the 6th unit, it felt as if this reader was fighting alongside these boys in the trenches.

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