Unspoken by T.A. Belshaw / #Extract #BlogTour @damppebbles @tabelshaw

A heart-warming, dramatic family saga. Unspoken is a tale of secrets, love, betrayal and revenge. Unspoken means something that cannot be uttered aloud. Unspoken is the dark secret a woman must keep, for life. Alice is fast approaching her one hundredth birthday and she is dying. Her strange, graphic dreams of ghostly figures trying to pull her into a tunnel of blinding light are becoming more and more vivid and terrifying. Alice knows she only has a short time left and is desperate to unburden herself of a dark secret, one she has lived with for eighty years. Jessica, a journalist, is her great granddaughter and a mirror image of a young Alice. They share dreadful luck in the types of men that come into their lives. Alice decides to share her terrible secret with Jessica and sends her to the attic to retrieve a set of handwritten notebooks detailing her young life during the late 1930s. Following the death of her invalid mother and her father’s decline into depression and alcoholism, she is forced, at 18 to take control of the farm. On her birthday, she meets Frank, a man with a drink problem and a violent temper.

When Frank’s abusive behaviour steps up a level. Alice seeks solace in the arms of her smooth, ‘gangster lawyer’ Godfrey, and when Frank discovers the couple together, he vows to get his revenge.

Unspoken. A tale that spans two eras and binds two women, born eighty years apart.

Extract

June 1938

My father had fallen out of his chair, Miriam found him with his head and right shoulder on the floor and his right knee bent over the arm of the armchair. The noise we heard was his head knocking over his whisky table as he fell.

He was definitely dead, there was no doubt about that. His unblinking eyes were still staring at the spider on the skirting board which had stopped dead itself to stare back with all eight eyes of its own.

Frank, who seemed to have sobered up very quickly, took charge of the situation.

‘We can’t leave him like that,’ he said. He looked around the room but there was nothing we could lay him out on. The table was round, and not very wide, and if we pushed two chairs together, we’d have to sit him up, as he was a tall man.

We were all in shock, but in the end, it was Frank that came up with the solution.

‘Let’s get him into the parlour, we can get the old foldaway bed out that I used to sleep on. At least he’ll be lying flat.’

The next problem was getting him in there. He weighed next to nothing, but picking up a man’s body proved difficult to say the least. Frank managed to lift him at the third attempt, and Miriam went ahead to set up the bed, while Frank, still swaying a little, followed her to the parlour with my father’s head and legs hanging over his arms.

Once he had laid the body on the foldaway bed, Frank crouched down beside him, said a few words that I couldn’t make out, and crossed himself. I was quite touched by this show of respect, and not a little surprised, as apart from dragging me to the Catholic church on Sheppey, he hadn’t showed the slightest sign of having any religious tendencies. I was agnostic at best but I did believe in some sort of life after death, just not with the angels, harps and St Peter’s judgement.

When Frank had finished, I asked for a few minutes alone with my father. Frank left, closing the door quietly behind him and I sat down beside the shell of my former parent, and berated him for abusing me the way he had earlier in the evening. Then I had a go at him for being so selfish, for becoming a drunk, and for leaving me to sort out the farm. Then I burst into tears, took hold of his hand, put my head on his chest and sobbed.

Half an hour later I had run out of tears. The almost endless day had got the better of me. You couldn’t make this sort of thing up if you were an author. No one would believe it. I let go of his hand and promised him that I’d remember the good times, and not the misery of his final months. I’d remember the piggy back rides, the times he carried me up to bed when I had fallen asleep playing with my dolls. The ticking offs for hiding in the cornfield when I should have been cleaning out an empty pig sty. I’d remember the way he looked at my mother when we were sitting around the dinner table. The way he kissed her every morning before he went out to work, the way he kissed her again when he returned for lunch. I remember being out in the fields for the harvest when she brought us sandwiches, cake and homemade lemonade and he said that Kings and Princes couldn’t be served better fare. I’d remember the time I came down from my bedroom after having had a bad dream, to find them dancing to a song on the radio, their bodies so close, there wasn’t room to slide a playing card between them.

But the time I remember most, is the day of the wedding anniversary at the Village Hall, where he made a speech, telling everyone in the room, why he was the luckiest man in the world. How he held both her hands, looked into her eyes and told her that he loved her with all his heart. There was no manly embarrassment, he didn’t care who saw, or heard, when he said, I love you with every fibre of my being. I have loved you from the moment we met. The first time you

spoke to me I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest. I have never looked at another woman since that day, and I never will. You own my heart. You are my world and everything in it.

Before he was half way through that speech, my mother burst into tears along with every other woman in the room. When he finished, she kissed him on the lips and said, simply, I love you too.

I pulled a handkerchief from my pocket, dabbed my eyes and then blew my runny nose.

‘Sleep softly,’ I said, kissing him on the cheek. ‘Say hello to Mum for me when you see her.’

Thank you, T A Belshaw and Damppebbles Blog Tours

About the author

T A Belshaw is from Nottingham in the United Kingdom. Trevor writes for both children and adults. He is the author of Tracy’s Hot Mail, Tracy’s Celebrity Hot Mail and the noir, suspense novella, Out Of Control. His new novel, the family saga, Unspoken, was released in July, 2020 His short stories have been published in various anthologies including 100 Stories for Haiti, 50 Stories for Pakistan, Another Haircut, Shambelurkling and Other Stories, Deck The Halls, 100 Stories for Queensland and The Cafe Lit anthology 2011, 2012 and 2013. He also has two pieces in Shambelurklers Return. 2014 Trevor is also the author of 15 children’s books written under the name of Trevor Forest. The latest. Magic Molly The Curse of Cranberry Cottage was released in August 2015

His children’s poem, Clicking Gran, was long listed for the Plough prize (children’s section) in 2009 and his short poem, My Mistake, was rated Highly Commended and published in an anthology of the best entries in the Farringdon Poetry Competition.

Trevor’s articles have been published in magazines as diverse as Ireland’s Own, The Best of British and First Edition.

Trevor is currently working on the sequel to Unspoken and the third book in the Tracy series; Tracy’s Euro Hot Mail.

Author Link

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tabelshaw

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/T.A.BelshawAUTHOR/

Website: http://www.trevorbelshaw.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4527461.T_A_Belshaw

Book Links

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3lo6uHf

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2I1xkq9