The Keeping Of Secrets by Alice Graysharp
The keeper of family secrets, Patricia Roberts grows up isolated and lonely. Trust no one and you won’t be disappointed is her motto. Three men fall in love with her and she learns to trust, only to find that their agendas are not her own. With secrets concealed from her by the ultimate love of her life, and with her own secret to keep, duplicity and deceit threaten their relationship. In a coming of age story set against the sweeping backdrop of the Second World War – evacuation, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, buzz bombs and secret war work – Patricia ultimately has to decide whether to reveal her deepest held secret for the sake of her future happiness.
Extract 1: The main character, Pat, has just left home for evacuation and is on her way to her school:
Halfway up the hill I saw my father in the distance returning from his night’s work. I knew he would be exhausted from standing baking loaves for London’s hungry mouths and he could have caught an early tram home, taking a different route along the side of Brockwell Park. But he’d chosen the more circuitous option, knowing this was his last opportunity to see me before I disappeared into the unknown, his last chance to say goodbye. Beneath his short dark brown slicked back hair his grey eyes seemed brighter and bluer with unuttered emotion.
‘Well, my girl, chin up and good luck, I’ll see you again soon.’
Yet we knew neither when nor where that would be. I patted my pocket in which resided a blank postcard for me to send home my new address – when I had one.
‘I’ll write straight away, I’ll let you know where I’ve slung my hammock,’ I said a little breathlessly.
Daddy smiled at this metaphorical reference to his adolescent seafaring days about which he had regaled me through my childhood. An inch shorter than me now, his wide smile gave him a larger presence.
‘Off you go, don’t be late,’ he chivvied. We embraced briefly and parted, moving off in our different directions, and I paused further up watching his figure fading down the hill. I raised my hand in a last wave as he looked briefly back. Swallowing the lump in my throat and blinking back my tears I carried on up to school.
Born and raised in the Home Counties, Alice Graysharp has enjoyed a varied working life from hospitality to office work and retail. She currently lives in Surrey. This is her first novel, and the first title in a two book series, she is also already working on a seventeenth century trilogy. Published in the anniversary month of the outbreak of the Second World War and the Battle of Britain