Brain to Books Blog Tour Fran Clark
Author: Frank Clark
Book: Holding Paradise
Fran Clark is a professional singer-songwriter and vocal coach from West London. In April 2014 her first novel, Holding Paradise, was published by Indigo Dreams Publishing. In 2014, Fran also passed a full time Creative Writing MA with Distinction at Brunel University while completing her second novel, When Skies Are Grey.
Currently she is a ghost writer of steamy romance novellas and continues to hone her writing skills as a member of a writer’s critique group. Fran is usually found developing story ideas for prose and songs when not staring out of her window and imagining her life as a musical.
Many of her thoughts and scribblings can be found here: Writing Women’s Fiction
On a grey and miserable morning in 2008 London businesswoman, Angelica Ford, boards a plane and flies off to the blues and greens of her mother’s island in the Caribbean. Angelica is desperate. She is looking for a way to save her marriage and win back her daughter. A web of lies has torn a hole into her seemingly perfect world and she is convinced that only her mother, Josephine Dennis, can help her turn her life around.
Josephine Dennis arrived in England by ship on a cold winter’s morning as a young mother joining her husband. She weathers a lifetime of secrets and betrayal as she raises her family in 1960s London. A matriarch with strong family values, she told her children colourful stories to guide them through life. It is the wisdom of one of these stories that Angelica seeks. Josephine has one last story to tell – the story that could change both of their lives.
Holding Paradise is one of the most powerful and heartwrenching novels I’ve read lately. It covers various generations of women originally from the Caribbean who immigrate to London in the 1950s. ‘My mother’s story has taught me how strong women can be’. You must read this novel to meet Josephine, born on a sunny island, displaced to a rainy metropolis, who struggles bravely to make a living and keep her family together through thick and thin. The events portrayed are sad, moving, and infuriating, as deplorable secrets are gradually unveiled. It’s a well-deserved tribute to past generations, which also holds the promise of ‘paradise’ for the future if we are able to learn from our own and others’ mistakes, forgive, and understand. This is not a quick, easy read, nevertheless its pages will lead you on a satisfying and well written voyage, well worth taking. – Review written by Luccia Gray on Amazon
I walked into her room and saw, as usual, piles of clothes on the floor but resisted the urge to pick them up. Instead I dumped her clean clothes on the bed. Just as I did so, I heard her mobile go off. It made me jump. I was used to the ring tone but didn’t expect to hear it. It was impulse that made me grab it and press the little green telephone symbol. Before I could say ‘hello Eva’s phone’ I heard Saffron’s voice.
‘Bitch, what do mean you’ve been having sex with someone in your family? You can’t send me emails like that and not expect me to call you right away. Who is it?’ I pressed the red telephone symbol straight away and threw Eva’s phone on the bed. I stood there staring at it. A few seconds later it rang again. I picked it up but this time I was ready. I saw the ‘Saffron calling’ sign as I gathered my thoughts.
‘Hello,’ I said.
‘Who’s that?’ Saffron sounded worried.
‘Oh Saffron. Did you just call? I picked up Eva’s phone but I couldn’t hear anyone so I hung up.’
‘Mrs Ford. You’ve got Eva’s phone?’
‘Yes, she must have forgotten it when she went off to Surrey with Luke. Shall I tell her you called?’
‘Er, yes please. So you didn’t hear me talking when you picked up?’
‘No. I don’t know what happened there. That’s technology for you.’ I laughed. A fake laugh. I hoped Saffron wouldn’t see through it. ‘Any message?’
‘Oh no, that’s okay Mrs Ford. I’ll just try her again this evening. Will she be back then?’
‘Yes, she should be. Bye then Saffron.’
I sat heavily on the bed. The pile of clothes I’d just put there slipped garment by garment onto the floor in slow motion until the last few t-shirts flopped quietly onto the jeans in real time. I got up quickly. I still had Eva’s phone in my hand. Why did I answer that call? No. I had to answer that call. The biggest secret that Eva could ever have kept from me, I had discovered by answering that call. But was Saffron serious? Why would she say it if it wasn’t true? My head was spinning. If it were true then who the hell could this family member be?