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Sandy leaves home late one evening to catch an overnight train. Her journey takes her across the moor; the road is empty and her music playing loudly, she pays little attention to the road. The ensuing unexpected and bewildering events impact her life in ways which she could never have imagined. Her chance encounters with three very different men lead her into danger and conflicting loyalties, which extend beyond them all, enveloping families, friends and complete strangers. Familial love vies with justice and Sandy agonises over her choices which expose surprising and upsetting aspects of the people closest to her heart.
‘Legacy’ is the sequel to ‘Catalyst’ and follows Sandy as she attempts to get on with her life after the traumatic events over the previous year. She desperately wants to become reconciled with her mother and her need to discover why she behaved so cruelly to Paul, the man afflicted with Down syndrome, is paramount in her thoughts. However, on discovering her mother’s reasons for this, their relationship takes another downward turn. Sandy thinks she has found happiness with Oliver, but their past actions catch up with them and the story takes a turn into a whole new theme including blackmail, abduction, corruption and involvement in the Cold War. Once again Sandy’s loyalties are tried to breaking point as she becomes unwillingly involved with a man whose cruel scheming mind threatens to destroy what happiness she has found. Sandy is put in an impossible position and is forced yet again to choose which path to take. Does she take the right one?
Did the hand of fate determine the tragedy which was to befall the Jeffries family? A small hamlet, grandparents close by, places to play and loving parents: no child could ask for more. But from the beginning, Charles’ lot in life was to be one of fleeting happiness and enduring pain. This was not peculiar to Charles alone. His parents, sister, friends and family of friends are swept up in the web of misfortune. During the Second World War years many families suffered great losses, but even in the ensuing peace time, having recovered from his injuries, Charles could not escape the hold that the fates had on him. His lack of esteem and male confidence, stemming from his elder brother’s taunting and bullying of earlier years, lead him to make a series of disastrous, wrong decisions.
This novel begins with Anthony from Val’s previous novel. We never really knew him. He was a child on the periphery of his uncle Charles’ battle with himself and his lifelong disability. Charles had struggled to prove himself a man and took many wrong paths which lead him deeper into the clutches of a malignant Fate, taking others with him. We join Anthony’s life as a teenager. Anthony bears the scars of previous tragedies but does not fully understand what happened and why they have affected his mother’s attitude to him. All he knows it that he lost precious members of his family in close succession and he feels bitterness towards Charles who caused these deaths by his actions. Feeling lost and unloved he attempts to find solace in his own world and to salve the wounds his mother, in her own grief and loneliness unwittingly inflicts on him. It is not until he breaks free from the relentless boredom of his job that he finds true friendship, and this is where the story really begins.
This beautifully complex novel is Val P Gould’s fifth and arguably best. It deals with intertwining relationships between a father looking for his lost daughter and a daughter trying to fathom her father’s behaviour. The result is a twisting enigmatic tale starting with World War II and its destruction of more than cities and people and continues with the consequences of such devastation in emotional and everyday life. One heck of a read.
Alex is a large brutish looking young man but belies his appearance by being a gentle soul who wants nothing more than to follow in his father’s footsteps. This dream however becomes somewhat threatened by a new arrival into his widowed father’s life, a wife. Alex accepts the situation with good grace and in time finds himself a partner with whom he hopes to have a family who will inherit his father’s business when he retires. However, his life is suddenly thrown into turmoil and releases an anger in him which he did not imagine he possessed. In an attempt to escape from the anguish, he dedicates himself to creating a beautiful home for himself and his partner Pat, in a cottage far from the memories he has left behind. The love he feels for this cottage, bordering on obsessive, leads him to make decisions which will affect the rest of his life and all who know him.
Dreams of Loss and Lost Dreams
The Magnificent Seventh is here!!
About this book
Writing this, my seventh novel, was a sometimes disturbing exercise in that it pulled memories to the fore which I had buried deep. However, this is not an autobiography and any similarities to persons alive or dead are unintentional. There were times when I felt like crying at what I had expressed in this book and at others I found myself chuckling at some humorous little additions despite the fact that I had written them. Like Jo, I am a solitary person, one who enjoys long walks with my dogs and the beauty of the natural world, the change of seasons and the tableaux which nature paints without the use of a pallet or brush. How often have you walked alone and felt that the weather, the light, the sky, the sea, or a river is reﬂecting your mood? And did you walk on, sharing your thoughts, anguish or indeed happiness with them, grateful for the empathy shown to you? If so, I hope you will feel Jo’s emotions as I did on writing these passages.
‘The sunrise is non-existent. I trudge through the murky morning which seems to ﬁght the onset of daylight. As dawn approaches, darkness becomes greyness, a tiny hint of orange on the horizon is gobbled up by charcoal clouds like hungry ogres. Grey banks of rain-ﬁlled mist are coiling and swirling as though linking arms to keep the sun’s rays out, and succeeding. Thunder claps its applause, again and then again. A fork of lightning provides the standing ovation. ‘I continue my walk, I’m already soaked and have very little to hurry back to. Strangely, I wasn’t aware of when I realised the wetness on my cheeks was not solely rain drops, I wasn’t even aware that I was crying. The rain dilutes my tears and I welcome the feeling of empathy, the sky weeps with and for me.’
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