It’s my stop on the blog tour for Karen Osman’s The Home today and I have a brilliant extract to share with you all. This is Osman’s second book, her first, The Good Mother, is a cracking thrill fest and you can read my review here!
First, here’s the blurb …
Aria (4 Sept. 2018)
It was the one place she should have been safe.
Angela was just a baby when she was abandoned, and a children’s home is no place to grow up. When manager Ray takes girls off to his ‘den’ in the garden, they always come back crying…
So, when wealthy couple James and Rosemary come to choose a child to adopt, Angela is desperate to escape.
Years later, Angela starts to search for her birth mother, Evelyn, hoping to heal the scars of her childhood. But strange and sinister events start to unfold. And Evelyn fears she may not survive her daughter’s return.
Here’s the extract …
Angela could feel her heart beating faster. What on earth could be wrong that had her dad tearing up?
‘Angela,’ started Rosemary, ‘your father and I have something we need to discuss with you. However, before we do that, the one thing I want you to remember during and after this conversation, is that we love you unconditionally and have always loved you like our own. What we’re about to say doesn’t mean we love you any—’
‘Oh, Rosemary, she knows all that,’ interrupted Dad. Turning to Angela, he said, ‘We think you should find your birth mother.’
The words fell over each other in his rush to get them out and Angela saw her mum give him a hard, disapproving look. The relief was instant though, and Angela released a long breath, the tension visibly leaving her body.
‘Is that what you wanted to tell me?’ asked Angela. ‘I thought it was something serious!’
She had always known she had been adopted, although she rarely mentioned it to anyone. She had just turned fourteen when James and Rosemary Steele had visited the children’s home. Initially, they had invited her to stay for a few weeks as a trial and then had gone on to adopt her. The Steeles had welcomed her so warmly and made her feel part of a real family. It had been the best thing ever to happen to her. They had given her everything a daughter could want or need, both emotionally and materially, and Angela had called them Mum and Dad pretty much from the very beginning. She thought back to evenings snuggled in front of the TV watching the nature programmes and exciting afternoons shopping for new clothes. She remembered when Dad had taught her how to ski and, after passing her driving test, how to change a wheel on the car. It hadn’t all been smooth sailing and there had been some difficult times, but for the most part James and Rosemary had opened up a whole new world to her – one of class and privilege. No longer did she have to share a dorm with twenty other girls; she had her own room with its pretty lemon bedspread and matching curtains. Nor did she have to endure punishments for the smallest offences, Matron’s slap echoing through the bleak hallways, the sting of her hand felt through young Angela’s entire body. While life with the Steeles was easy, she never forgot her years at the home. If anything, they served as a useful reminder to push harder and be even more successful whenever she felt herself getting complacent.
Angela was suddenly struck by a thought.
‘Why are you suggesting I try and find my birth mother now?’ she asked her parents. Dad looked at Mum, as if to say I told you so. Mum started to speak but Dad held his hand up for silence.
‘Angela, from the minute we adopted you, I promised myself that I would answer any questions as truthfully and as honestly as possible.’ He paused, and Angela felt desperate to hear his next words. ‘You’re right, of course,’ he acknowledged. ‘There is a reason we are suggesting you get in touch with your birth mother now, but I was hoping it could wait until after…’
James’s voice trailed off and as she waited for him to continue, she looked at him closely – properly – for the first time since she’d got home. She hadn’t noticed before, but his shirt was slightly too big and there were some small bruises on the backs of his hands.
‘I’ve not been feeling the best lately, Angel,’ he began tentatively. ‘I’ve had some treatment and still have some more to come, but I didn’t want to tell you until I was given the all clear…’ He trailed off again and didn’t get any further. Unexpectedly, Angela began to tremble. She didn’t need her father to say the unspeakable out loud. Instinctively, she knew he was talking about cancer; she could barely say the word to herself. She felt her father’s arms around her, holding her tightly, and as she sank into his embrace she was aware that it should be she giving the comfort, not the other way around. Still, she continued to shake as the two of them held on to each other waiting for the earthquake to pass.
Angela was too upset to ask too many questions. Instead, her dad gently led her to her bedroom, leaving her to get into bed while he went to the kitchen and made her hot chocolate. Angela was already under the covers when he returned, mug in hand, the aroma giving rise to adolescent memories. She felt fifteen again as he kissed her good night on the forehead and whispered it would all seem better in the morning. The reassurances worked just as well on her twenty-seven-year-old self as they did during her teenage years, and as the shock gave way to exhaustion, she slept.
Huge thanks to the team at Head of Zeus for my stop on the tour!
If you want to know more, you can get your copy of the book now over at:
About the author …
Originally from the UK, Karen won the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Montegrappa Novel Writing Award 2016 with her crime-thriller novel, the bestselling The Good Mother. When she’s not writing novels, Karen is busy bringing up her two young children and running her communication business Travel Ink.