Carolyn McCrae

Award-Winning Independent Author


Three Voices, Three Perspectives, One Family

"A very gripping read about the most dysfunctional family ever. It had me hooked from the start. A very original storyline."
Amazon Reviewer

What's it about?

Bridget, Ellen, Kathleen and Alicia all fail to be honest with their children about who their fathers were leading to complications for the relationships of their sons and daughters.

David, Max and Vijay cannot talk about what they did before, during and after the Second World War despite recognising that misunderstandings are ruining the lives of people they care for.

Arnold, Matt, Monika, Maureen, even Ted constantly tell lies and leave important truths unsaid.

As siblings Susannah, Charles and Carl try to find their ways through life in the second half of the 20th century it becomes increasingly clear that, for all their individual flaws and frailties, much of what happens to them, and to those they care for, is wholly beyond their control – being dictated by the actions and inactions of people they could not know.


Part I – The Last Dance

“Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them”  Oscar Wilde

Ted Mottram, the outsider looking in, narrates his version of the network of relationships in the outwardly respectable Donaldson family in provincial Cheshire through the years following the Second World War.

Arnold and Alicia married for the wrong reasons – Arnold because she was perfect for his needs and Alicia to escape her family and because she is pregnant with his son.

Arnold has another son, not Alicia’s; Alicia has another child, a daughter, not Arnold’s and those children become very close as they grow up together.

When it matters deeply both Arnold and Alicia lie to their children – but perhaps that is because they do not know the truth themselves.

Confronting taboo subjects such as incest and love across a generation gap this is a compelling, thought provoking and enjoyable read.


Part II – Walking Alone

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke

Alicia’s son Charles did not expect his mother’s funeral to disturb the quiet routine of his comfortable life: he had never been close to her, indeed he had hardly known her.

On that day Charles learns more than he should have done of the history of Max, his friend and benefactor, and Monika, their housekeeper.

On that day he makes an enemy of his cousin whose greed and jealousy lead to blackmail, a joyless marriage and more than one unexplained death.

On that day, too, he quarrels with his sister, Susannah, leading them both to re-assess what is important in their lives.

Charles tries to explain his family’s misfortunes but he knows only small parts of the truth.

Part III – Runaways

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but also more useful, than a life spent doing nothing.” George Bernard Shaw

Alicia’s daughter, Susannah, has not had an easy life, her mother’s selfishness had seen to that.

At her mother’s funeral, the grandfather she had never known makes it her responsibility to search for the man behind her family’s problems. She reluctantly accepts the task but more than once the progress of her investigations is interrupted by something far more important to her: finding some sort of happiness. Which of the men in her life could be the soul mate she longs for?

After years of looking in the wrong directions and following false leads, it is only when the requirements of those two quests coincide that Susannah finds all the answers.


The Last Dance, Walking Alone and Runaways (The Iniquities Trilogy) were published between 2006 and 2008. The Last Dance won the David St John Thomas Prize for Self-published Fiction. Ten years after they were first published they have been extensively reworked into one.

Iniquities is available from Amazon and from High Street bookshops – you may need the ISBN Number  979-8-879902426

Iniquities - The Last Dance III
Iniquities - Walking Alone
Iniquities - The Last Dance
Iniquities - Runaways

Where to buy


Available on Amazon Kindle

Iniquities available on Kindle-


“I read this book because I live on the Wirral and recognised many of the places and situations referred to. I enjoyed getting involved in the relationships of the characters, and found this book very hard to put down.” Woman’s Own Book Club (of The Last Dance)

“A powerful novel … concise organization of events and extremely vivid descriptions … a page-turner and an enjoyable read.” The Self Publishing Magazine

Iniquities Cover (2)

Readers' Comments

“A very gripping read about the most dysfunctional family ever.”

“A very gripping read about the most dysfunctional family ever. It had me hooked from the start. A very original storyline.” Kate C (on Amazon)

“Quite dark in places as a woman’s life is all but destroyed by the machinations of ‘dark forces’. 1976 comes to life as ‘a good man does nothing’ and ‘evil prevails’. Gripping.” BL, Shropshire

“As I read through the trilogy I thought I knew what had happened. I didn’t. I only understood the whole picture as I came to the final pages.” JB, Worcestershire

“Loose ends tied up, satisfying and complete. I loved it.” EM, Northumberland

Interview: Extracts from an interview with Female First

What do you love most about being a writer?

I love the process of the book developing at my fingertips: starting with a blank screen (no longer the proverbial ‘blank sheet of paper’), filling it with people’s lives.

I love the learning that goes hand in hand with that. In The Iniquities Trilogy I had to research the civil service in the early 20th century – now that might seem boring but it was fascinating in the context of the changing role of women. I have tagged real events, real places, real people, into the fictional lives to make the actions of my characters entirely plausible.

I love the way my characters take on lives of their own. I will start them in a conversation thinking it will end up heading in a particular direction, but it seldom does, and some of the neatest twists in plot have occurred because someone said something in one of those conversations I hadn’t intended them to.

Which genre do you most like to write in?

My books are difficult to categorise but they are definitely fiction, aimed at a mature, reasonably articulate person, male or female. Iniquities could be described as a ‘20th century family saga’ but it involves history, relationships, romance, murder, espionage – a wide range of ‘genres’.

What advice could you give to aspiring writers?

I am so new to this I feel I can’t really expect anyone to listen but my advice would be:

  • Get it all down in a file somewhere (or on paper if you must!) even if you haven’t the time to deal with it now you will someday.
  • Persevere with that writing, do it for its own sake because you enjoy it and because you believe anything you write is far, far better than so much rubbish you could be wasting your time reading.
  • Don’t worry about not being picked up by an agent or a ‘mainstream’ publisher – there are ways and means of doing that – self-publishing is not ‘vanity’ publishing (though it can be) it is professional and it has high standards. It is especially easy for e-books – I published Iniquities (and all my other e-books) using Kindle Create.
  • Don’t worry if only a few people read your books. It’s always nice when people buy your books, and tell you they have enjoyed them, but it doesn’t really matter if they don’t because you’ve done it for yourself and because you enjoy it.

It would be good to be recognised though wouldn’t it?

Recognition is always wonderful – on any scale. It is very satisfying when I receive notes, emails or even comments in a local pub, from people saying they love reading my books and when is the next one coming out! Also, winning a prize was very encouraging. The Last Dance, won The David St John Thomas award for self-published novels. Winning that prize meant recognition that my book was worthwhile and that despite having been rejected by a number of agents and publishers the formal mainstream publishing world doesn’t hold the monopoly in identifying books that people will enjoy reading. One day, though, maybe one of my books will be picked up by a TV or film producer! Iniquities would make a fabulous series…

Iniquities available on Kindle-


The Last Dance by Carolyn McCrae

Last Dance
(Part 1)

Walking Alone by Carolyn McCrae

(Part 2)

Runaways by Carolyn MCrae

(Part 3)

Copyright © 2024 - Carolyn McCrae