THIS mystery picture of a soldier is the inspiration behind the latest novel by Langcliffe author Helene Wiggin.

The Postcard - written under her pen name Leah Fleming - is about a lost message which changes the lives of one family over the generations.

It is a three-part story of betrayal, loss and partial reconciliation, which is full of romantic entanglements.

Helene came up with the idea after finding a pictorial postcard of a Dumbarton kiltie from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, dated November 1914.

He stands proud and smiling and, on the back of the postcard, he thanks Helene’s great aunt and the local church for a gift of fruit.

“The intriguing thing is the name has been cut off,” said Helene. “I’ve tried the local paper in Scotland, but so far no result. My great aunt never married.

“This inspired the ‘what if’ for The Postcard. The period I’ve used is different but based on the sacrifices that women special operation executives (SOE) made who chose patriotism over family duty.”

The book opens in 2002, Australia, when Melissa discovers a postcard addressed to Desmond among her recently deceased father’s effects. She is determined to discover this person’s identity and his relationship to her father and soon embarks on a journey that will take her across oceans and into the past.

The Postcard is Helene’s 16th novel and the ninth as Leah Fleming.

Helene, who trained as a teacher, has done various jobs over the years, including running a café and market stall, teaching aerobics and running workshops in stress management.

She is also a volunteer driver for Settle Library’s books on wheels service.

The Postcard - which has already been bought for translation in France and Germany - is published by Simon and Schuster and is also available as an e-book.