I am delighted to be a part of the blog tour for; Ember by Catherine Yardley, this book sounds wonderful, I love the cover and I am very excited to be sharing an exclusive book extract with you all.
Ember by Catherine Yardley
A family torn apart by their father’s infidelity are forced to confront the past thirty years later. As Natalie’s younger sister, Amanda, prepares for marriage and impending motherhood, her plea for the family to reunite uncovers pent-up tension and animosity. Can they forget the past and become a family again?
Natalie’s life begins to unravel as their father starts to creep back into their lives and family tensions resurface, affecting her relationship with her boyfriend, Rob. Will the couple find their way back to each other, and can a family that has been torn apart ever heal their wounds?
Can you ever walk away from someone you love, or do some fires never die out?
Any Purchase/Pre-order Links – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09V3B6TYX#SalesRank
To me Ember is ultimately a love story. Not only because it has a love story in it, but because it is about a woman trying to heal and love herself. Natalie’s younger sister gets married and pregnant before her. This spins her life out of control as it means her estranged father comes back into her life. Her sister wants to get the family back together, but Natalie is the oldest and she remembers the most. Ember is a dual timeline novel told from different perspectives. Siblings can have different versions of the same childhood.
I hope readers enjoy the extract below. To me Ember is a novel about hope, pain, family and love. It takes a forensic look at childhood trauma and it’s lasting impact on us when we are adults. Can we ever heal from it? And will Natalie get back together with Rob? Read to find out.
I guess you could say my father never had great timing. Like when he broke our family apart on Christmas Day.
The doors had been slamming all night and every time they did, I would flinch and the baby would wake up and cry. The door slammed again and I huddled under the covers with Amanda. She is scared. I kiss the top of her head and we comfort each other. I picked up one of our Little Ted books and I read it to her by torchlight. She looks up at me and smiles as I do. I finish the book and hunger soon gets the better of us.
No food was made for supper tonight. Only accusations and recriminations filled the house. I had to be brave enough to go downstairs. Or pretend to be anyway. And that was what I was doing now. I tiptoed down the stairs so quietly I was barely breathing. Fear seemed to rise higher in me with every step. Finally, I make it to the kitchen. The bread bin is within my reach if I use a chair. I push it towards the kitchen top. I use the same chair to open the cupboard to get the peanut butter and jam. I smile. Victory. We would eat like kings tonight. I made two sandwiches each and also grabbed some biscuits. I practically ran upstairs with the food which we then devoured.
Emboldened, I go back downstairs for a drink. When the shouting gets louder, I put the glasses down and head for the door, which is slightly open. I can see my mother crying. Mascara is streaked down her face and her eyes are red.
‘Could you give her up?’ my mother asks, looking at my father.
‘With difficulty,’ he replied.
I look at my mother. It looked like the life had gone out of her in that moment. I wanted to walk into the room and put my arms around her, tell her everything will be okay. But I couldn’t. It wasn’t safe when the adults argued. I turned to go up the stairs. As I did, a piece of tinsel caught my eye. It was only then I remembered that it was Christmas Eve.
The next day Christmas is cancelled. My mother never leaves her bed. My father storms around the house. Every now and then the ceasefire is broken and yelling resumes. The whole house is tense. I come out of the bathroom to see Amanda crying at the top of the stairs. I take her into my arms, pulling her close.
‘Come on. Let’s go open our presents.’
Amanda’s face brightened at the word “presents” and we almost run down the stairs, excited. We open our presents and I turn on the TV. Our own Christmas.
I make us breakfast: cereal and orange juice. We play with our presents and then open up the massive tin of chocolates and gorge ourselves. Our parents are still arguing upstairs. I could hear the baby crying in the same room. The poor thing. Our parents had been arguing since my brother was born. The door slammed upstairs and we both jumped. We could hear our mother screaming, something heavy thudding down the stairs. We get up and walk to the door. Dreading the drama heading towards us. It hits us both at the same time what the thudding is: a suitcase.
Our father is leaving. He turns to look at us. At a loss for what to say, so he says nothing. Our mother reaches the bottom of the stairs. Shocked. Our father walks out of the door and our mother heads into the front room. I see her watch as her husband gets into his car and leaves, through the window with a baby in her arms. Tear-stained and red-eyed. Her face the personification of sadness. She looks broken, like she has aged ten years. I do not watch my father leaving. I just stare at my mother, transfixed, wondering how I can take away her pain. Which is why I did not notice the door going again.
Amanda is chasing after our father. As fast as her little legs can carry her. Our father must have looked in the rear-view mirror as his daughter ran after him because he put his foot on the brake. I see my mother’s expression change to one of horror.
The baby is pushed into my arms and my mother rushes past leaving me in the doorway, staring after her. My mother runs but she is not fast enough. Amanda had too much of a head start. It takes a moment of hesitation before our father opens the door, allowing Amanda to climb in.
‘No! No! Stop.’
Our father drives off, our mother running after him until her energy gives out and she cannot run any more. She sits down in the middle of the road, scooped out and devastated. It is a full ten minutes before she stands up and walks back towards the house. She takes her two remaining children in her arms and hugs us while I stare at the road. At the space where my sister had been. Before she had climbed into a car and out of my life. Before five had become three.
Eventually we walked back into the house. To sit and take in the incomprehensible. When it is time for bed, I kiss my mother and walk up the stairs alone. Past the artwork we made, past the family photos, past the Christmas decorations, past all of the mementoes of a family that has been torn apart. I get into bed and trace the place where my sister used to be with my finger. I ache for her. Not for my father, only my sister. It is a pain so pure that I can’t even cry.
Catherine Yardley has been writing since she was in single figures. She is happiest when she is reading or writing. She writes women’s fiction because she believes women have the right to have their stories told in all of their messy glory. She is represented by Susan Yearwood She lives in London with her husband and their children. Ember is her debut novel.