– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Unspoken’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
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 in 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.
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.
Published in digital and paperback formats on 30th July 2020.
Back in Sheerness, Frank led me to a shabby-fronted-jewellers with a torn, washed-out awning that flapped about in the stiff breeze.
There were a number of new and second hand rings in the window.
‘You have to be wearing one when we go back or we won’t get away with our little subterfuge,’ said Frank, who surprised me at times with his intelligent conversation. He’d been well schooled by his mother, that was for sure. I was pretty well educated myself; I’d been awarded the National School Certificate when I was sixteen, and I had achieved credit passes in Mathematics and English, but I had never heard of a ‘subterfuge’. I assumed it meant a crafty plan.
Inside, the shop was dimly lit. The stock was displayed in smeared, glass cabinets along one wall. We walked along them slowly, examining the price labels on each of the worn velvet pads that the rings were seated on. He finally spotted one priced at one pound, seven shillings, and eleven pence.
Behind a desk, at the far end of the shop, sat a white-haired, bespectacled jeweller who had been watching us like a hawk, presumably in case Frank produced a hammer, or worse, a gun.
Frank called him over and asked to look at the ring we had picked out. The man produced a bunch of about ten small keys and immediately found the right one. He passed the ring to Frank who lifted my left hand and slipped it easily onto my ring finger. It felt strange, I had never worn a ring in my life. it was slightly too big, I could spin it around quite easily, but I doubted it would fall off.
‘I’ll give you fifteen shillings for it,’ said Frank.
I thought the jeweller was going to have a heart attack. ‘The price is on the label,’ he said.
Frank tried again. ‘Seventeen and six,’ he offered.
‘I can’t take anything less than twenty-five shillings,’ said the man.
Frank screwed up his face and shook his head. ‘It’s tarnished,’ he said. He held up my hand to show him. ‘I’m beginning to wonder if it’s brass, not gold.’
The jeweller produced his little magnifier and offered to show Frank the hallmark on the inside of the ring. He pointed to my bulging stomach. ‘You’ll need it quite soon by the looks of her, so you shouldn’t quibble too much about the price.’
I thought Frank would take umbrage at that remark, but when he spoke again, his voice was calmness personified.
‘A guinea… Twenty-one shillings. My final offer.’
‘I can’t, I paid more than that for it.’ The old man wrung his hands. If he was looking for sympathy, he’d picked the wrong man.
‘Sorry, love,’ Frank said, softly. ‘It looks like we’ll be using that brass curtain ring you found at your gran’s.’ He turned his back on the jeweller, pulled a sad face, and pointed at mine. I got the idea straight away.
I slipped the ring from my finger, and wiping a fake tear from my eye, I handed it back to the jeweller. As we walked slowly to the door, Frank slipped his arm around my shoulders.
‘Never mind, love. I bet there’s something in the junk shop.’
I made a noise I hoped sounded like a sob as we reached the door.
‘One moment.’ The old man walked towards us; the ring nestled on the palm of his right hand as if to display it in its best light.
‘Twenty-two shillings and eleven pence,’ he said. Shopkeepers have always loved to price things one penny short of a shilling. I suppose it was to make an item look somewhat cheaper than it actually was.
‘I gave you my final offer,’ said Frank. ‘We’ve only got enough left to pay the registrar, and if we don’t hurry, he’ll have gone home. We got the last appointment of the day.’ He looked at me and winked. ‘As you said, we’re pretty desperate to get it done.’
‘All right, all right. Twenty-one shillings, but I’m robbing myself,’ said the jeweller.
I turned my back on him, so he couldn’t see the folded money in my purse, and produced two ten-shilling notes and a single silver shilling. He gave us a hand-written receipt, and Frank slipped the ring into his pocket.
‘Hurry now, My Sweetness,’ he said. ‘The registrar is waiting.’
Frank had no idea where the registry office was, but he asked a local passer-by, who gave him the name of a street that he had no idea how to find.
‘Why do we need the registry, Frank?’ I asked, puzzled. ‘We’re not getting married.’
‘I know that,’ Frank replied. He grinned at me and took hold of my hand. ‘Come on,’ he said, ‘I know where we’ll go. We passed it earlier on.’
‘Where are we going?’ I asked as he pulled me along the street back towards the Marine Parade.
‘You’ll see soon enough,’ he replied, still wearing that stupid grin of his.
When we were outside the door of a Catholic church called The Saint Henry and Saint Elizabeth, he suddenly produced the ring from his pocket and got down on one knee.
‘Will you bloody well marry me, Alice?’ he said with a chuckle in his throat.
‘No, I bloody well won’t,’ I replied.
He got back to his feet and slipped the ring onto my finger again.
‘I now pronounce us man and wife,’ he said.
We got back to The Railway at about five o’clock, walked past the all-seeing eyes of Irene, and climbed the stairs to our room. I immediately threw off my coat, kicked my shoes across the threadbare carpet, and sat on the end of the bed massaging my swollen feet.
I looked at the foreign object on the finger of my left hand and laughed. I can guarantee no other girl has ever had a wedding ceremony quite like that one.
Frank picked up the battered enamel bowl and carried it out of the room. When he came back five minutes later, he placed the now full, steaming basin at my feet.
‘There’s an Ascot boiler in the bathroom,’ he said. ‘No bath, sadly.’
I eased my aching, swollen feet into the piping hot water and sighed with contentment. Frank could be a really thoughtful man at times.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds