My Husband’s Wives by Faith Hogan
Today is my stop on the blog tour for My Husband’s Wives and I am here today to with an extract from the book!
Author: Faith Hogan
Published: 7th March 2019
Add It: Amazon UK Goodreads.
Summary:Is it better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved?
Paul Starr, Ireland’s leading cardiologist, has died in a car crash with a pregnant young woman by his side. A woman who is not his wife.
Evie, Grace and Annalise never thought they’d meet, but now they have to uncover the truth of their pasts. And suddenly they find themselves united by a man they never really knew at all.
As these women begin to form unlikely friendships they discover that Paul’s death could prove to be the catalyst they needed to become the people they always wanted to be…
A heart-warming story of love, loss, family and friendship. A compelling debut for fans of Sheila O’Flannigan, Veronica Henry and Jane Fallon.
‘Oh Grace.’ It was Clair who answered and she never got upset. She was much too flaky for that, a small angular girl with deep blue eyes and a leaning towards bad men. ‘We’ve been trying to track you down for days, its Ma… she’s…’ Clair didn’t have to say the word. Grace could picture her, standing against the dripping kitchen sink, her drawn face chalky pale, and her hand shaking. She was eight again, the news of their father hitting home.
‘How? When?’ It was all Grace could manage; the last thing she expected, and yet, not unexpected after all. Mona had been intent on dying for almost twenty years. She’d taken to bed after their father was buried. Effectively, she’d abandoned them then, fallen into a ravine of mourning and left Grace to get on with running the house and raising the girls, although she was little more than a child herself.
‘You have to come and help us get things sorted. Ma would want you to take care of the funeral.’
‘Of course. I was away for…’ There was no point explaining. It would only be another thing for Anna to throw back at her. ‘I’m on my way, sorry you couldn’t get me. I’ll leave straight away.’
‘Well, get here as quickly as you can. There’s so much to be done.’ Clair put the phone down, in her usual absent-minded way.
Grace left a message for Paul, something insanely short about not being able to meet him because her mother had just died. She didn’t expect him to come, didn’t imagine that he would feel the need to get involved. Then, there he was, his car outside her flat, waiting to bring them both home and she wondered, for a minute if he’d even made it back to Evie.
‘You really don’t have to do this…’ She dreaded the uncomfortableness of having an outsider among their dysfunctional family.
‘I wouldn’t let you go through this alone, Grace. It hasn’t hit you yet.’ He smiled at her. Soon they were leaving Dublin behind, heading towards the open road. The flattened midland bogs swept by her, a maelstrom of brown, purple and tawny green patches toiled large across the central plains. Then the land began to narrow, centuries of subdivision where farmers cut their hands on stones to mark out their hard-won sod of turf, heralded their arrival in the west. Here the rocky land prevailed long after Boycott and the Leaguers fought their wars and lost so much along the way. Grace had a feeling that all you could do was capture it in the briefest moment, commit it to a painting and hope to match the meanness with the majesty. She murmured the thought aloud. ‘My father could have done justice to that; he could have painted it in his sleep.’ She believed she’d never be as good as him, never have his touch.
‘Your father was the artist? Everyone has heard of Louis Kennedy,’ he said as the car purred along the uneven westbound roads. ‘Tragic, is the word most people call to mind when they think of him, tragic and brilliant.’
‘He was an odd mix of both. He was a quiet man, who spent more time painting than he ever did with us, but my mother adored him. He made her existence worthwhile. Does that sound strange?’
‘No, I can imagine how you could fall beneath the shadow of someone so talented.’ He stared ahead, thoughtful, his silence as loaded with more clever comprehension than any words could convey.
‘She married above herself – that’s what she felt, and I suppose it’s what people made her feel, and when he died, well, it was as if she became a shell.’ Her mother’s response to her father’s death was one of the reasons Grace had long since decided she would not live in someone else’s shadow. Husbands and children were definitely off the radar. She was making an exception for Paul – but, after all, he wasn’t her husband.
In the end, Grace read the eulogy – a three-stanza set of lines, with unequal rhyming, clunking language. Mona wrote it, before she lost all hope, verses of autumn and moving on. She was a poet once, but that was long ago. Grace stood at the top of the small church, the only dry-eyed one among them. She wasn’t one for weeping at weddings or funerals, she’d leave that to Anna. She hadn’t cried for her father, and knew she wouldn’t cry for her mother. It wasn’t natural, was it?
They buried her mother next to her father in a small plot on the mountainside, gazing across the vast undulating countryside. The county spread in a hazel bog before them, purple heather punctuating the tawny land. Overhead, grey skies conspired to cap any more emotion on the day; it was a Louis Kennedy landscape begging to be captured. She hadn’t visited the grave in over a decade. She pulled her dark cloak closer to her and was glad of Paul’s steadying hand on her back.