A family torn apart by their father’s infidelity are forced to confront the past thirty years later. As Natalie’s younger sister, Amanda, prepares for marriage and impending motherhood, her plea for the family to reunite uncovers pent-up tension and animosity. Can they forget the past and become a family again?
Natalie’s life begins to unravel as their father starts to creep back into their lives and family tensions resurface, affecting her relationship with her boyfriend, Rob. Will the couple find their way back to each other, and can a family that has been torn apart ever heal their wounds?
Can you ever walk away from someone you love, or do some fires never die out?
Catherine has shared an extract with us today. Enjoy!
*****beginning of extract*****
Ember is a dual timeline novel about childhood trauma and how we carry it around with us. Natalie had a terrible childhood being a parent to her younger siblings. Her father broke up the family on Christmas day after an affair. It’s thirty years later and her younger sister is getting married and gets pregnant before her. Their father wants back into their lives. But every sibling remembers their childhood differently and Natalie is ganged up on by her siblings and father. She self destructs and leaves her loving boyfriend. Will she heal her wound and get her life back on track? Read Ember to find out.
Watching Natalie drive off, leaving me on the side of the motorway, felt like an out-of-body experience. Had that really happened? Hell, what, had just happened? Looking around and almost expecting to wake up from a dream, it finally hits me and I snap.
‘That’s actually my fucking car!’
Out of all of the grand theft auto in history, this one has to be the most vicious. And original.
It feels like I have been walking along the motorway for days. Car headlights blind me. Everything is grey and dour. I keep going over every single detail about today. What could possibly have triggered such an extreme reaction? I cannot think of one thing I could have said to upset her. Never mind get dumped on the side of a motorway. We had not argued. The entire thing was such bullshit. It was just a pre-wedding get-together in the country. Partly to meet Neil’s family and partly to just have a get-together. Nothing happened. Nothing I can think of anyway.
I am pissed off and tired, but I am a man on a mission, fuelled by pure anger. Things cannot get worse, I think to myself, but then I hear the thunder. I stop and look up at the sky, wondering why the world hates me so much right now. Then it begins to rain. Slowly at first, but then so heavily that it feels like being hit by sheets of water. It takes minutes for me to be soaked to the bone. I stand there, resigned at first. Nothing is left in me but then I start to walk again. Faster and faster.
‘Fuck, fuck, fuckety, fuck, fuck.’
I kick at a bit of rock. Turns out that was a bad idea. A sharp pain goes up my foot. It throbs now.
At this point I stop wondering how things can get worse and just wait for the next thing to happen. I see a sign in front of me. Service breaks. Finally, I can get out of the rain. This will all be over soon.
‘Hey, you’re a wanker!’ Yet another motorist decides to troll me.
Today is making me lose faith in humanity. I am too exhausted to yell back but I flip the third in the direction of the moron. I am not in the mood for taking any shit from anyone. I try to walk even faster. I have had enough and the end is in sight.
My entire life has been swept out from under me. I try to put the pieces of the day back together so I can see the clearer picture. What happened? One minute everything had been fine and then…
‘Who is the lucky lady?’ The waitress is back, smiling a little less due to the item on the table. I guess it has dashed her hopes.
I don’t know what to say so I say nothing. The silence becomes heavy and grows more awkward.
‘Thanks for the coffee.’
I smile. Trying to be more social.
‘No worries, let me top you up.’ The waitress smiles and pours more of the black stuff into the cup.
I will need it. This night will just get longer. I stare at the small, shiny object until the pain gets too much. I snap the box shut and put it back in my pocket. What would I do with this engagement ring now? I am trying to not show my emotions in public, trying to act like a normal human being. I am not sure I am succeeding. The phone rings, breaking me out of this fog of confusion and pain.
‘Hello.’ Relief follows as I hear the voice on the other end. It was not the first person I called. Normally I would call Natalie. But ha, ha, to that now. Ditto Amanda. Or even Neil at the moment. The humiliation is too much.
Instead, I call a work colleague. The fact I am the boss of the work colleague does make it awkward. But beggars can’t be choosers. It would be weird, but she had texted me and I told her my car had broken down. So she offered to come and pick me up. I have no idea if she believes my story. I will have to factor this into her next bonus. It is true dedication. I pick up my coffee and down it. This day will be over soon.
***** end of extract*****
About Catherine Yardley:
She writes women’s fiction because she believes women have the right to have their stories told in all of their messy glory.
She is represented by Susan Yearwood She lives in London with her husband and their children. Ember is her debut novel.