We put a great deal of effort into promoting our new, recent and upcoming books but often our previous releases get sidelined.
In this latest series I am offering authors in the Cafe and Bookstore a chance to promote an earlier book (not your most recent) by sharing an excerpt from the book of 500 words. This current series is now closed.
Today Alex Craigie shares an excerpt from Someone Close to Home
About the book
Talented pianist Megan Youngblood has it all – fame, fortune and Gideon.
But Gideon isn’t good enough for Megan’s ambitious, manipulative mother, whose meddling has devastating repercussions for Megan and for those close to her.
Now, trapped inside her own body, she is unable to communicate her needs or fears as she faces institutional neglect in an inadequate care home.
And she faces Annie. Sadistic Annie who has reason to hate her. Damaged Annie who shouldn’t work with vulnerable people.
Just how far will Annie go?
An excerpt from Someone Close to Home.
The house is modern and massive with ‘classical’ pillars decorating the front and a grand sweep of steps up to an elaborately carved double door with gold fittings.
As we arrive the door is opened by a servant who ushers us in to the hallway. I barely have time to take in the high ceiling, marble floors and chandeliers before a figure appears on the horseshoe staircase in front of us.
“Mum!” Jordon rushes forward and bounds up the stairs to greet her. She’s a short, stocky woman with abnormally blonde hair backcombed into an unbecoming beehive. Her mini dress is richly embroidered and teamed with unflattering, patterned tights that make her legs look like overstuffed sausages and she’s wearing clunky shoes with big bows on the toes. As he leads her down to greet me I wonder why he wanted me to change my appearance.
“Megan!” The heavy charm bracelet rattles as I shake her proffered hand.
“How delightful to meet you at last.”
“My pleasure, Mrs Hastings.” Her hooded blue eyes are sunk behind puffy bags and I try not to focus on her eyebrows which have been plucked into a narrow, upward sweep giving her a permanently surprised expression, nor her thin mouth which she has attempted to thicken by applying lipstick beyond the boundary of the lips.
“Do call me Miriam, my dear. Shall we go into the drawing room for a little aperitif?”
She takes Jordan’s arm and he leads her towards one of the doors. I follow. I suspect from her unsteady gait that she has been drinking. Jordan sits her on a regency striped sofa and directs me to sit on one of the matching chairs opposite. Then he crosses to a cabinet in the corner on which stand several bottles and a couple of cut glass decanters.
“The usual, mum?” “Yes please, Jordy.”
He drops some ice in a glass, adds some Cinzano and a slice of lemon and
carries it across to her.
Then he pours me a gin and tonic and splashes some bourbon into a glass for himself. He doesn’t ask me what I want and I’m irritated that he’s made the choice for me. My finger touches my brooch and I feel calmer. I’m marrying Jordan, not his mother. All I need to do is be pleasant and civil. I can do that.
After a long sip of her drink she begins her interrogation. “How long have you known my son?”
“About four months, Mrs Hastings.” I can’t bring myself to call her Miriam; her tone is not one that invites familiarity.
“And after only four months you’ve got yourself engaged to him.”
I’m unprepared for this barely disguised attack, but Jordan intervenes. “It wasn’t like that, mum. I asked her.”
The ‘hmph’ in response makes it clear she doesn’t believe him. I stare at Jordan who is looking discomfited.
“Mum, I love Megan and I’ve had a devil of a job getting her to even like me.”
“Poppycock! Everyone adores you. There are girls here every day hoping to
get a glimpse of you.”
“But Megan’s not like that, mum.” He gives me an encouraging smile. “Megan’s different.”
She takes another long sip, her watery eyes examining me over the top of the
“I hear you play the piano. Does it pay well?”
One of the recent reviews on Goodreads
Someone Close to Home by Alex Craigie is a poignant tale of a talented and successful pianist who is too weak to rise to her own defense and thinks of others before her own self. A brilliantly written first person account of Megan, who is now languishing in The Yews, a cheap nursing home, and is at the mercy of insensitive caretakers who consider the inmates irrelevant. They have to face rough handling, insensitive comments; even verbal and physical assaults like slaps. They long for a genuine, friendly human contact but are treated as “their tasks.”
Mrs. Kenton’s non-serious attitude in managing the nursing home smacks of negligence, she doesn’t investigate any irregularities and fires the wrong persons. Annie’s atrocities go undetected for a long time but all that bothers Mrs. Kenton is, the reputation of the institution. Megan is the worst sufferer, as she has lost control over her body and her speech due to a stroke. She is “trapped in a web spun by adults,” (to put it mildly, in her own words.)
Craigie enters into the mind of Megan to bring out the abuse, the suffering and the resilience that shines through this book. The indifference of her son, whose love didn’t let her escape domestic violence, is heart breaking. Even Camilla, her daughter is callous and cold. Some of the characters are devilish, difficult to tolerate – Jordan, the tormentor who only knows bullying, Megan’s mother – devious, selfish and cunning and Annie – the pervert beyond anybody’s imagination. They fit into the story with perfect ease.
This book is emotionally draining and is predictable but is significant from two angles. One, it exposes the condition of nursing homes, which need to focus on hiring professionally trained staff and providing better care than just earning money. Two, it points at clear red flags in understanding relationships that Megan ignores.
Also by Alex Craigie
About Alex Craigie
Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.
Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.
Since her birth in Sunderland, she has moved house fourteen times. The last move was to Pembrokeshire in 1986 with her husband and their three children under the age of four. They knew within that first week that they wouldn’t be going anywhere else.
When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.
Trish has had two books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. Both books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the NHS at its heart.
Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to check out Alex’s books.. thanks Sally.