‘A Question of Choice’, by Freda Bowman concerns the real life story of Mary Ann Mason, born around 1820 to a working class family in Cromford, Derbyshire. Mary’s path crossed that of a Thomas Bateman, a pioneering archaeologist, and heir to a grand hall and large estate in Middleton-by-Youlgreave. An intense relationship developed between them, compromised by the inconvenient fact that Mary was married to another Thomas, a boatman on Cromford Canal. The novel is the voice of Mary – a voice that speaks of inner conflict, of passion, and of choice.
Since Freda retired from teaching a few years ago, she and partner Bob have had more time to enjoy walking and cycling in the Peak District and Derbyshire Dales. They have co-produced a series of three walking books ‘Brill Walks in the Peak’. For each of these Freda wrote four short stories based on particular history in the areas to be walked. The collection was later published as ‘Tales of the Peak’. Encouraged by its success and her continued fascination with the area’s past and embarked upon this novel, also based within the history of North Derbyshire.