It’s my stop on the blog tour for Together Forever by Sian O’Gorman today and I have a great extract for you, but first, here’s the blurb …
Aria (1 April 2018)
When life demands that you make a choice, how do you know you are making the right one? A beautiful family drama, full of love, life and destiny. Perfect for the fans of Alice Peterson and Dani Atkins.
Tabitha Thomas gave up on a happy family life with Michael her absent, high-flying husband long ago. Instead she concentrated her energies on their daughter, Rosie, and her career as head teacher at a local primary school.
However trouble looms on the horizon…
While Rosie struggles with the most important exams of her life, Tabitha’s eco –warrior mother is protesting outside the school gates to save some trees from the bulldozer. And best friend, Clodagh, a top TV news broadcaster, is self-soothing with Baileys, as she’s edged out of a job by an ambitious flame-haired weathergirl.
Finally, with the return of an old flame and a political expose to deal with, Tabitha is forced to confront a decision she made a long time ago and face the life-changing consequences she has lived with ever since.
Here’s the extract …
The Thomas family was rather different to the Fogarty’s political dynasty bursting with heirs all born to rule. In my family, the only destiny we seemed to follow was having one-daughter. Both my mother, my grandmother and I had just the one girl but Rosaleen, and Nora had their babies out of wedlock. My rebellion was to do it within the conventional confines of marriage.
Rosaleen was an unmarried mother at a time when it was possibly the most shocking thing anyone could do apart from eat garlic or refuse to go to Mass. When she discovered her pregnancy, she told no one anything. Not a word. Not even Nora’s father who was a boy from back home in West Cork… but already married. She left home, saying she was heading off to Dublin to work, but kept her pregnancy a secret, kept her baby and brazened it out. It takes a tremendous amount of guts to do that, to stare down the gossips and the whisperers and the elbow-nudgers. Force of personality and determination got her through.
My paternity was never up for much of a discussion. As far as I know, I was conceived at a music festival so the chances of me discovering who he was were lost in a haze of hallucinogenic substances. Not the most conventional start to my life. But that was Nora. She didn’t do normal.
I thought Nora was going to faint when I told her that I was getting married. To Michael. ‘What?’ She looked horrified and didn’t try to hide her shock. ‘You can’t. Tab, you can’t… he’s…’
‘He’s not like us…’ was all she managed. And she was right. He wasn’t like us, at all. ‘He’s a Progressive Conservative.’ But I wanted a child and he wanted a wife.
And Nora got over it. Not enough to embrace Michael (he wouldn’t have actually embraced her, anyway, as he always said, with a slight shudder, there was the whiff of Oxfam off her), but enough not to go on about it. Anyway, we all had Rosie to think about now.
But whenever I walked on the pier in Dun Laoghaire, I’d look at the couples, the ones who looked like they’d been married for years and years, the ones brimming with love and lustre, chatting nineteen to the dozen, holding hands, and I would feel a tug of loneliness. I used to have that, once, but life had taken a different direction and Rosie was the centre of my universe. Michael and I, when he was home, didn’t share a bedroom and we had used the fact that he had the nasal capacity of a jet engine as the reason for his moving to the spare room. Michael and I weren’t perfect, but it wasn’t bad. Certainly not bad enough to leave.
‘Yes sweetheart?’ I said, looking up from the fridge from where I was putting the shopping away.
‘Nothing,’ she said, turning away. ‘Forget it.’
‘No, what is it? Is everything all right?’
This school year hadn’t started well for Rosie when her boyfriend, Jake, ended things. And now, with the pressures of exams, the light had gone out of her. It was awful to see. She had even retreated from her best friends, Alice and Meg.
‘Yeah, fine.’ She turned to go.
‘Have you eaten?’ I said, in an attempt to keep her with me.
She shrugged. ‘I had some granola earlier.’
‘Would you like something else? Poached eggs? I bought some nice bread.’
‘No, it’s fine.’
‘Do you fancy doing something? A walk? Or we could go the farmers market? Or into town? Do some shopping. Get you something nice?’ The bribe fell flat.
‘No, you’re grand. I’ve got to get back upstairs.’
‘Ro…’ I eyeballed her, parent face on. ‘You don’t go out. I can’t remember the last time you left the house… what about Alice, Meg… I bet they are still going outside…’ I smiled, to let her know I was still on her side.
‘So?’ Suddenly, she was furious, on the brink of tears. ‘I’m trying to work, okay? That’s all. I’m just trying to work.’
‘I know, I know,’ I soothed, quickly. ‘But don’t you think it might be nice? Why don’t you go and see Alice? I’m sure she could do with a break too.’
She held up her hand. ‘Mum, can’t you just give me a break. Leave me to it. Okay? Everyone’s doing it,’ she told me. ‘We’re all working away. Stop fussing.’
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About the author …
Siân was born in Ireland, is an RTÉ radio producer and lives in the seaside suburb of Dalkey, Dublin with her seven-nearly-eight-year-old daughter, Ruby.