1941. Coventry. The morning after one of the worst nights of the Blitz. Twenty two year old Rose enters a house that has been bombed and finds her best friend dead. Shocked and confused, she makes a decision that will affect her family for the next four generations.
More than fifty years later, in modern day Brighton, Rose’s grand daughter Lara waits for the return of her eighteen year old son Jay. Reckless and idealistic, he has gone to Iraq to stand on a conflict line as an unarmed witness to peace.
Lara holds her parents, Mollie and Rufus, partly responsible for Jay’s departure. But in her attempts to make them recognize the tragic nature of their marriage, she finds that all the assumptions she has made about her own life are called into question.
Then into this damaged family come two strangers - Oliver, a former faith healer and Jemmy, a young woman who has lost a baby. And it is these two – and Jay himself - who finally bring about a strange and partial healing.
Between The Regions Of Kindness is a book about the cost of peace, about the unlikely nature of redemption - and about what happens when someone decides to follow their conscience no matter what the cost.
*Once the initial subscription has been raised then Alice's share of the profits (50% of every book sold) will go to First Story - a charity which changes lives through writing http://www.firststory.org.uk/
Rose – Coventry, April 1941
All the stories now are at an end. So where can her mind hide? The dawn must come. Yes, that is still a certainty, only that. Rose fumbles up the steps, pulling Mollie behind her, sees its band of grey staining the blackness above a jagged line of roofs. She heads for where the gates must be. Putting out a hand to steady herself, she grips a metal railing, finds it hot in her hand.
For a moment, the silence is absolute – the streets, the city, breathe out, knowing that the night is ending. Rose gulps a deep breath but ash furs her throat, and she gasps, coughs, feels the pinch of smoke in her eyes. This is the day, this is the hour, this is where we live now. She uses these words to hold her mind back from the plummeting depths. Mollie wobbles, clings to her leg, howls. Rose bends down and buttons Mollie’s coat, shakes her to keep her quiet.
The street is white with a frost of broken glass. Rose steps forward into the muffled light, her hand gripping the hood of Mollie’s coat. Phantoms stumble from the shadows, caked in plaster dust, clinging to one another as though blind. Rose smells Sunday lunch. The butcher’s shop is ablaze - flames leap up from the area where the counter used to be and smoke billows out through the door. The front window has shattered and a side of pork hangs there, roasting. A pool of red liquid spreads out at Rose’s feet. Blood, she thinks, then sees twisted metal from exploded tins of oxtail soup.
The sound of bombs still smashes through Rose’s head, pounds in her chest, and at every imagined blast the street buckles under her feet. Voices ricochet around her. God be praised. Where? Where? No All Clear this morning. Wires blown right out the ground. People gather around a man standing by the gutter, filling a kettle from a drain and pouring water into glass bottles and mugs. The trouble with the shrapnel is that it does jam the lawn mower. Rose’s teeth chatter against the edge of a tin cup. The water is clouded and tastes of ash and soap but she gulps half of it down, then bends to hold the cup for Mollie. What now? Where can we go? The questions form in her mind but she considers them without concern. The mystery is that she and Mollie are alive.
This is just a quick update. Firstly, as you know, we hit the 100% target just before Christmas. Since then it has been full steam ahead on finishing the book, editing etc. We are very much hoping to get the book out by the end of the year - or possibly early next year.
I know that people always think, when they have pledged for a book, 'Well how long is this going to…
I am now up to 82% and hoping very much to get the book funded by the end of the month. I turn 50 on 1st December so that sounds like a good deadline.
I have had a very busy autumn promoting the book at the Durham Literature Festival, The Marlborough Literature Festival and Loose Muse.
This week I'll be at Friction Talks in Oxford and then there is the Stroud Book Festival ...…
Thank you so much to all the amazing people who have signed up to the book so far. As you know, my proceeds from the book will go to First Story. I am very excited to be able to help such an amazing charity. I have seen plenty of their work in action and it really does change lives.
I have had plenty of exciting opportunities to spread the word about the book recently - an…
These people are helping to fund Between the Regions of Kindness.