Daughter Of The Sea
‘Well-paced … genuinely gripping’ Historical Novels Review
Jessica is grieving for her beloved father, trawler owner Jacob Kingdom, when a heated confrontation ends with her being cast out from the family home and the revelation of a shameful secret. She falls upon the kindness of strangers and meets a charismatic trawlerman, who is proud to walk out with Kingdom’s daughter.
But with her cold-hearted brother at the helm of the family business, there is discontent rising, and being Kingdom’s daughter begins to lose its charm. With Jessica desperate to prove herself worthy to the tight-knit community, does she have what it takes to weather the storm to come, or will her secret hold her back?
Purchase Link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Daughter-Sea-unforgettable-families-secrets-ebook/dp/B081S2XHDG/
Jessica stared into the fire, thinking about Claude. She recalled a point in time of a long-ago incident, which happened between Claude and a fellow student, George, who was staying with them for the summer holidays. She’d been witness to Claude and George doing strange things together. Mildred had sent her up to Claude’s bedroom to tell him that dinner was served. She remembered pushing open the door and looking, mesmerised, unable to move or speak. Claude and his friend, both naked, were performing like acrobats in a double act entwined together and making weird grunting noises. They rolled over kissing each other and it was then that Claude saw her watching.
He leapt up and advanced towards her, snarling, ‘You peeping brat.’ Then he shoved her out of the room and banged the door shut. George came for a few more summers and she witnessed more of their weird behaviour and didn’t know its significance, but now she did.
Arriving at Glenlochy House, Jessica walked round to the back of the house. From a loose brick under the step of the back door, she retrieved the spare key. Quietly, she entered the kitchen and shrugged off her coat, leaving it on the back of a chair. In the hall she listened and heard movement upstairs. She mounted the stairs, her footfall silent, avoiding the creaking treads. Her breathing became laboured and the child within her kicked. She paused and gripped the banister until she felt calmer. Claude’s bedroom door was ajar, so she pushed it wide open. ‘Good afternoon, Claude,’ she said in a soft but firm voice. He spun round, one of his cufflinks flying across the floor and under the bed. ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ ‘That’s no way to greet your sister,’ she chided and moved further into the room. ‘I wanted to congratulate you on your forthcoming marriage to Enid.’ His eyes narrowed to slits and his expression was undecided. He retorted, ‘Hope you aren’t expecting an invitation.’
‘No,’ she replied sweetly. ‘Though I am disappointed as Enid was my best friend and we confided, telling each other all our secrets.’ She smiled, giving him a knowing look. ‘Just like you and your best friend, George. Is he invited?’ She had the pleasure of seeing his face blanch as white as his shirt. This gave her an added strength. He seemed lost for words, so she continued. ‘I am sure Enid would love to meet him.’ His face went from white to a tomato red and he spluttered,
‘What are you up to?’ ‘Mrs Rita Weaver: do you know the name? ‘Who the hell is she?’ ‘You know who she is?’ In response, he shook his head. She watched as he picked up his monogrammed silver cigarette case and fumbled with the clasp. He extracted a cigarette and flicked his lighter, his hand shaking as he drew deeply and exhaled a plume of smoke. Tiny beads of sweat formed on his forehead. While he was still in this unsteady state, Jessica carried on. ‘The Islay. You remember, Claude, it went down with all hands?’ He began to recover some of his self-importance.
‘What is it to do with you?’ he demanded.
Ignoring his question as though he’d never spoken, Jessica continued, ‘Mrs Weaver’s husband, Thomas, was a crew member and the father of four children. Now a widow, Mrs Weaver is to lose her two eldest children to the orphanage. Those two boys have not only lost their father but will now lose their mother.’
‘What’s that to do with me?’
‘You, my dear Claude, are to provide finance for those two boys until they leave school.’
‘Never,’ he sneered, puffing on his cigarette. ‘Now, please leave as I am going an important civic dinner.’ He turned his back on her.
Jessica spoke softly, but with a hard note in her voice. ‘If I leave here now, I will go straight to Enid and tell her about you and George. And perhaps her parents may be present and also interested.’
He spun round, his nostrils flaring. ‘You would not dare!’
‘Yes, I would. As the saying goes, there is no smoke without fire.’
Jessica moved nearer to him, her voice strong. ‘Then, if she refuses to marry you, her father will not release her dowry. And you are counting on that money. If you marry Enid, her father, grateful to you for marrying his only child, will leave you all his money including his trawling fleet and thus make you the major trawler owner in Hull.’ She could see already his chest puffing out. ‘What is it to be?’ she asked.
‘What do you want me to do?’ he barked. From her handbag, Jessica drew out a document. ‘You will find this in order. It needs your signature. I can present it to Sam Balfour and he will deal with the business. And everyone will think what a kind and generous man you are, just like Father.’ He snatched it from her, gave it a cursory glance and then added his signature. Thrusting the document back at her, he shouted, ‘Now, sod off.’
Sylvia Broady was born in Hull and has lived in the area all her life, although she loves to travel the world. It wasn’t until she started to frequent her local library after World War II that her relationship with literature truly began, and her memories of the war influence her writing as does her home town. She has had a varied career in childcare, the NHS and the EYC Library Services, but is now a full-time writer.
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