Today I am pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Strays And Relations. My post is presented with thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the blog tour, and to the publisher for providing the extract.
Strays and Relations follows the story of Dizzy, whose search for her birth parents is sad, humorous, and in parts bizarre. Dizzy learns that she began life as a surviving twin, then was fostered until a permanent home was found. Dizzy begins her search for her original identity. Why was she given up for adoption in the 1960s? Following a tenuous lead, she travels to Ireland with her best friend Sugar, but the trail takes a misleading turn. It ends in what they mistakenly believe is Dizzy’s mother’s grave. Dizzy falls in love with Will, a blacksmith. But something is missing. Dizzy’s life changes when her birth father Tommy makes contact using a private detective. He reveals that her birth mother is alive and married to a man called Vernon. Now the bigger, trickier task lies ahead: working out how to fit the disparate bits of her life together. This is a book which will both amuse and touch readers’ hearts. Strays and Relations manages sensitive subject matter with engaging wit and sharply-observed dialogue, and includes vivid descriptions of some rather unusual animals and people. It will appeal to readers who have encountered a recycled animal or family.
Extract from Chapter 14:
I’m about to meet my birth mother for the first time. I have no conscious memory of the past and have always wondered about her, but didn’t ever think this day would come…
‘So there I was, suitcase by my side, on that train, pulling up at Sheffield station. I remember thinking that, of all the places we could have chosen, this certainly wasn’t the most beguiling. My stomach lurched as the train ground to a halt alongside the platform. This journey had taken five hours and four decades. I was in the last carriage. Outside there were people waiting, but they were all further up ahead, no-one was looking my way. I joined the queue in the aisle to get oﬀ the train, hastily making escape plans. I could wrap my scarf round my head, rush to the exit, cross over to the downline platform. Go home. But of course I knew it was far too late. I was already completely entangled. The realisation released a metallic taste into my mouth, one I hadn’t tasted since pregnancy. As soon as the train door was opened, passengers rushed to alight. A guard strode down the platform, slamming doors. As I heaved my suitcase, trailing at the back of the crowds of commuters, my legs felt like they might give way. I leaned against a concrete pillar, trying to steady myself, and stared up the platform. It was then I caught the first glimpse of my two half-sisters. I knew them immediately, their faces made familiar by their photographs. But the black-and-white Polaroids hadn’t shown me how pretty their eyes were – almond-shaped and green. We made our way through the crowds, pushing our way towards each other. ‘Dizzy, love, oh God, you’re here!’ Carla said, eyes smiling, but filling with tears. ‘I’ve been waiting all my life for you. Give us a hug.’ We must have looked a peculiar sight.
‘Mum’s going demented – your train was so late! We’d better get a move on,’ said Helena. She and Carla rushed me to the escalator. Reaching the top, I saw her. Catching sight of us, she raised her arm in the air… She gained speed as she approached me – almost running – hurrying across the railway station, oblivious of other passengers. In my head, I had a picture of my birth mother that was formed when I was very young. Over the years, it had been embellished by imagination until she had become a fantasy figure, created out of my longing for knowledge. My mind’s image was, of course, nothing like this character who was heading ever faster towards me. She was no red-headed, green-eyed Riverdancer with a soft Wexford accent, that was for sure. In
reality, her appearance was more like Bet Lynch, about to serve behind the bar of the Rovers Return. Her well-groomed appearance, although glamorous, struck me as harsh. She wore pointy-toed, knee-length boots that wouldn’t suit my West Country feet. And then she was there. The wait was over. Marie and I finally met face to face at Sheffield train station.’
Strays And Relations is available from Amazon.
You can follow the rest of the tour here: