Yes I did It, copies of my new novel are falling off the shelves. I love the book , particularly the description of Christmas, which was recently read on the radio. There is both joy and sorrow in it, I too have experienced the empty chair at the Christmas family table, in my case it was two and shortly three. I was only fourteen when my father died just before Christmas. I had saved up to buy him a box of dates which he loved . For a girl particularly ,this is the great loss which forms you for the future, after all he is your first great love.
The Lively family have all but lost their husband and father to a daredevil voyage across the world and they know he may never return. But other things have come to the well-ordered home. Wondrous things which will take Grace the daughter to the court of George 2nd and to the home of Handel the God of Music . But it is the grounded life in Clapham which lures her back eventually with her second great love ,whose paths have been “Gods way of planned coincidence”…… as her Grandfather reminds her, as he looks at the splendid family meal prepared from the fruits of a beneficent Summer and one of the family pigs, “ we celebrate the Birth of our dear Lord the greatest of all Gods gifts” he says simply . And then of course it snows, the room becomes cosily muffled in a sparkling white blanket. Rereading this passage reminds me how difficult this time can be, a family is an exotic fruit , touch it or lose one of it, and the bloom is gone. But in the Lively’s parlour mysterious things are happening .These things will bring hard won joy. For all of them, it is a time for reflection thoughts and fears for the sailors suffering terrible hardships so far from home some young lads stolen from their families and broken. But here on this night comes love. both new and old and they are not alone.
My own loss left me with a deep sadness which will never leave and makes Christmas hard. There are new chairs after so many years. But they are not always full.