Wednesday, 10 May 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ My Husband's Wives by Faith Hogan


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for My Husband's Wives by Faith Hogan & I'm delighted to welcome Faith to my Blog today where I have an extract from her debut novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Faith Hogan herself to take part along with some other fab book bloggers which you can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of my review, so without further ado here is the extract:

Prologue
2016


‘Mum, there’s a funny old lady at the door who says she’s married to Dad?’ Delilah wore an expression that sat somewhere between amused and unsettled. Grace supposed anything was better than bored and indifferent. It seemed that had been the permanent expression since she turned fifteen a few months earlier.
‘She’s at the wrong house,’ Grace said absently. They were going for a picnic. The sun was shining and Grace hoped a day at the seaside might recapture some of the closeness she’d shared with her daughter before it was just the two of them here.
‘No, she’s sure. She says her name is Evie…’ Her usually ambivalent voice held a note of perplexity. ‘Evie Considine Starr – but Mum, I think, she’s a generation out.’ She stuck a finger to the side of her head and wound it around. It was her shorthand language for mental health issues. Grace tried to discourage it, but still never mentioned the antidepressants deep in her own handbag.
‘Oh. Evie?’ The name registered deep in her brain; still, it sounded strange on her daughter’s lips. ‘Evie is here?’ Grace’s hand shot up to smooth her hair back, an involuntary movement, hated herself for it. Why did she care what Evie Considine thought of her? ‘At the front door, now?’
‘Well, yes.’ Delilah stumbled over her words, for once thrown by her mother’s reaction. ‘You know her? She’s actually…’ The words petered out, same as Paul’s – Evie Considine it seemed was still an unfinished chapter in Paul’s life.
Grace stood straight, imagined herself being pulled by an invisible central rope, lengthening her out, just as the nuns had taught her. She threw her shoulders back with more confidence than she really felt, and made her way to the front door.
‘Hello Evie.’ She stuck out a hand. ‘It’s nice to meet you at last…’ It was a lie, but only a white one.


1
Grace Kennedy

Paul Starr was tall – well, anyone was tall to Grace – he might have been gangly, but his thick dark flop of hair and chestnut eyes distracted her from noticing. His smile was easy, his voice low so it made her lean closer; she was charmed instantly. He was the most successful surgeon in Ireland. He was confident, sophisticated and, rumour had it, married. Grace knew who he was. Everyone in Ireland knew who he was. It was said that he was responsible for keeping a former U.S. President alive, as well as half the royal family over sixty.
‘You don’t want to believe everything you read,’ he said, and she realized that she’d never felt so equal to anyone who towered over her so much. She was used to being the short one; five foot just, before she put on her heels. She fingered the amulet that hung always at her neck. It was her father’s; a token to enhance the artist within. Its green gemstone brought out the emerald of her eyes and it made her feel safe, as though her father was still near.
‘Who said I’d be reading about you?’ She couldn’t help fidgeting with her long dark hair any more than he could stop his eyes drinking in every moment of her.
‘This is impressive.’ He waved a hand about the exhibition. It was her second in a year. She felt she’d rushed it, but maybe some things were meant to be. They stood for a few minutes, making small talk. He wasn’t a collector – she could spot them a mile off – not of art anyway. She was about to move away, but he reached out, touched her lightly on the arm. The silver stacking bracelets that she wore jangled, the only sound between them that mattered in the crowded room. The effect was electrifying. ‘I’m just looking at this one…’ He walked towards a watercolour she’d painted two winters earlier, a stark white lighthouse against the rocks and grey waves of the western coastline. ‘It’s breathtaking.’ He caught her eye as he murmured the words. The look sent ripples of what she supposed was desire through her; she’d never felt anything like it before in her life. ‘I’m making changes,’ he said, moving closer to her so his voice was little over a whisper. ‘Making changes and it might suit; do you think anyone has their eye on it, yet?’
‘I wouldn’t know,’ she smiled at him, flirting in some strange subconscious way, couldn’t stop herself, even though she’d spotted his wedding ring immediately. ‘You’d need to talk to Patrick.’ Her eyes skimmed the room for Patrick Marshall. Usually she could find him easily – he was never far away. His languid easy pose tended to dominate whatever space he was in, and she spotted him now surrounded by a coterie of enchanted hangers-on, regaling them with one of the funny stories he always had to hand. He was all she had here; Patrick knew this without ever having to mention it. ‘Oh, he looks busy. Anyway, you can always leave your name with the gallery.’
‘Perhaps I could commission a piece for my rooms,’ he smiled, catching her by surprise, ‘…at the clinic.’ His voice was light, she guessed they were a similar age, but she had a feeling he knew much more of life than she. He reached into his pocket; he wore an elegant off-the-peg navy jacket that moved fluidly. ‘Take my card. Maybe you could drop by, if you’re passing. We could…’ his eyes held an unmistakeable promise, ‘…have coffee.’
Grace wasn’t sure how she managed to walk away from him, but she made it to the other side of the room, her legs like jelly, her stomach a wasp’s nest of restless commotion. She silently cursed herself. The last thing she needed was to fall for a married man. She’d stay well clear of him, or so she told herself. She sipped sparkling wine gently – there were still speeches to be made, people to talk to, sales to close. Even if there weren’t, she’d had enough of being attached to people. She’d spent a lifetime taking care of her sisters and her mother. Her father had taken the easy way out – a double barrel, kept for foxes, in the end. She’d been the one who found him in his studio. He’d probably wanted it to be her. ‘You’re the strong one, Grace.’ He’d said it so many times.
In the end, it was all she could remember of him. She’d spent almost ten years being the one who had to hold it together. All the time, her mother descended further into a bleak haze, clouded by prescription drugs for a series of spurious health problems, one of which would surely stick, someday. Grace got out at twenty-three. It took almost two years to make the break completely, for them to understand that they were on their own. She did what she could. It was either get away or die slowly, as her mother seemed intent on doing.
Painting saved her. It made no demands, beyond those she was prepared to sacrifice and it gave her solace when she had nowhere else to turn. It kept her world together, and now it was her life.
This was her biggest exhibition yet and she’d been nervous when Patrick suggested it. It made good sense, he said last time round, the paintings were picking up a minimum of ten thousand a canvas; of course it made sense. Once she had said yes, Patrick came up with the venue. She had a feeling he’d had it up his sleeve for a while, what she couldn’t understand was why he’d decided to let her have it rather than some of the bigger names he represented. The Dublin City Library and Archive had only reopened months earlier after a total revamp. She had to concede as she had stood beneath its imposing fa├žade – it was overwhelming. The exhibition room seemed vast when she’d come here first. A daunting space filled with echoes of great Dubliners lingering within the repointed stone and polished timbers. How would she fill it? Could she really be good enough to sit with collections like Yeats and Stoker and Swift? Somehow, the building made her nervy and calm all at once. A strange mix of expectation and complete confidence ran through her and propelled her from the moment she set foot in the great hall. She’d pulled out some of the work that she’d started years ago. It added poignancy to the exhibition, she thought. True, it was darker than her more recent work, but it held the loneliness of her past, something that seemed to draw people. The first exhibition had been an unexpected success; it was the reason Patrick suggested a second.
‘What do you expect when all you do is work?’ Patrick had said when they’d met a few months earlier. ‘Note to yourself, Grace Kennedy: get a life.’ He flapped his arms about in that theatrical way he had, so she only half took him seriously and never took his advice, unless it was professional. This was as close as Grace got to friendship. ‘What about family?’ Patrick asked her one bleary night after they’d been drinking wine in her little studio; she, feeling creatively stuck, he, depressed because he’d lost the love of his life. To be fair, every man he dated seemed to be the love of his life for the first six weeks, and then…
‘What do you expect,’ she fired back at him, ‘when all you do is work?’



ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Faith Hogan was born in Ireland.  She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway.  She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, children and a very fat cat called Norris.

She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

Her debut novel, ‘My Husband’s Wives,’ is a contemporary women’s fiction novel set in Dublin. It will be published by Head of Zeus on 4th of May 2017 in Ireland and is available in all good book shops. She is currently working on her next novel.  

Faith Hogan Contact:
Follow Faith on Twitter at @gerhogan or like her on Facebook.comFaithhoganauthor/ or, if you’re really interested, you can catch up with her on www.faithhogan.com


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