by Jane Riddell
Genre: Women’s Psychological Fiction
Olivia has much to cope with.
An embittered mother who puts her ambitions for her children before their own needs.
A predatory professor who ends their affair when she becomes pregnant.
Giving birth to twins in a Tangier hospital and believing neither has survived.
Grief and loss overwhelm her and she abandons her studies.
Then from her beloved aunt Dorothy, artistic, eccentric and mysteriously wealthy, she learns that one of the babies did survive and has been adopted.
When her aunt dies she leaves Olivia a handsome legacy with the condition that it must be used to find and bring up the lost child.
Olivia’s journey takes her from London to the south of France, with startling and painful revelations along the way.
‘Miss Bowden, I’m Charles Minto. Apologies for summoning you at such short notice and for keeping you waiting.’
I followed him into a large, sparsely furnished room, sat down and surveyed my surroundings, wondering if their soothing cream colours eased the stress of divorce, financial worries and problems with neighbours. Outside, the wind buffeted leafless trees and the sky showed no inkling of sunshine.
‘I am sorry about your aunt’s death,’ he said, smoothing back his white forelock. The glare from his specs reminded me of my former headmaster, but the lawyer’s aura was calmer.
‘I didn’t manage to talk to her. I was in St Albans when she had her stroke.’ ‘Your father told me. I contacted you to tell you about Dorothy’s will.’
How much more caring he sounded, using Dorothy’s name. ‘Her will?’
He nodded, studying me with sudden intensity as if I were a specimen in a lab. I wanted to parachute myself home, to work, anywhere.
‘She changed it the day before she had her stroke. You are the main beneficiary.’
My pulse raced. ‘But… this isn’t… What about William, what about my mother? Does she know? Will I have to tell her?’
His eyes softened. ‘Your aunt was adamant you have the money. She has provided well for William but the rest has been left to you. The figure is about £700,000.’
I imagined Mum’s outrage. £700,000!
‘There’s something else. Dorothy dictated a letter to you on the day before she died. This was when she changed her will.’
He handed me the envelope. ‘Take your time – the contents are… unusual.’
My heart clamoured for escape. I wanted Dorothy, not her money. I didn’t want to read a letter, I didn’t want to discuss finances. All I yearned for, in fact, was my cosy duvet and sleep.
After peering at my name on the envelope, I opened it and scanned the letter. Then I reread it, the letters dancing like pixies. When finally I glanced up, the green and maroon circles on the lawyer’s tie swirled. Struggling to breathe, I reached into my bag for my inhaler.
Mr Minto waited for a moment, then handed me a glass of water. ‘Drink this, please. You’re in shock.’
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
About the Author
Jane Riddell is the author of novels: Daughters of the Lake, Chergui’s Child and Things We Choose to Hide. She has also written a novella in the form of a diary, penned by a Russian cat who comes to Edinburgh to learn about creative writing: The Bakhtin Chronicles: Academia. Inspired by her own editing process, she has published a short guide entitled Words’Worth: a fiction writer’s guide to serious editing.
Formerly Jane worked as a dietitian and health promoter for the NHS in the UK. But after three years living in the beautiful Rhône Alps area of France, she decided to devote her mental energy to writing.
Jane lives in Edinburgh and apart from an abiding love of chocolate (her only vice), her passions include travelling and photography. She regularly looks after animals – mainly cats – all over Europe, which inspires her writing and indulges her photography.