Her Father’s Daughter
Set in the 1950s Ireland, twenty-year-old Sarah Nolan leaves her home in Dublin aftera series of arguments. She has taken a job in Cork city with the Gazette, a move her parents’strongly oppose. With her limited budget, she is forced to take unsavoury lodgings where the property owner cannot be trusted. Soon after she settles in, Sarah befriends sixteen-year-old Lucy, who has been left abandoned and pregnant.
Dan Madden is a charming and flirtatious journalist who wins Sarah’s heart. He promises to end his relationship with Ruth, but can Sarah trust him to keep his word?
It is when her editor asks to see her birth certificate that she discovers some long-hidden secrets. Her parents’ behaviour continues to baffle her and her problems with Dan and Lucy multiply.
Will Dan stand by Sarah in her time of need? Will Sarah be able to help Lucy keep her baby? Or, will the secrets destroy Sarah and everything she dreams of for her future.
EXCERPT From Her Father’s Daughter
Fourteen long hours later, Lucy gave birth to a baby boy. Sarah never left the hospital, and
it was Maria who came down the corridor to deliver the news.
‘Lucy’s resting, but I’m afraid the baby’s very weak,’ her eyes clouded. ‘We need to have him baptised.’
Sarah’s hand rushed to her face, her eyes filled with tears. ‘Can … can I see him Maria, please?’
‘I’m sorry Sarah. He’s in the special care nursery. No one is allowed in except the nurse in charge in case of infection.’
‘What’s he like?’
‘I suppose you could have a peep. Come along,’ Maria conceded.
In a daze, Sarah followed Maria along a corridor, where she passed a row of newborn babies, in tiny cots, crying in unison. The nursery had a glassed panelled partition, allowing Sarah to look through. The nurse gently picked him up and turned him towards Sarah for a second, then placed him back in his cot.
‘He’s beautiful,’ she gasped, a sob choking her. Sarah found it difficult to accept that there was anything seriously wrong with the baby, he looked so peaceful lying there; he had inherited his mother’s reddish hair. When she turned round, a nurse was talking to Maria. ‘It’s time to fetch the priest, Sister Maria.’
Sarah, sensing the urgency of the request, felt the blood drain from her face. Maria ran her hand across her brow, and quickly disappeared to her office. When she returned she said, ‘Father Kelly is on his way.’
‘Can I see Lucy and ask her about a name for her son?’ Sarah pleaded. ‘She talked about calling … the baby … Luke after her father, if … if it was a boy.’
‘She’s sedated and needs her rest. It’s best this way, Sarah,’ Maria said. ‘She’ll be better able to cope with the situation later. Lucy’s breathing problems made the labour more intense, and we had to call in the doctor to help with the delivery. It was only by the grace of God that she pulled through.’
‘Oh dear, God!’ Sarah covered her mouth to stem her sobs. ‘Poor Lucy, please God, don’t let the baby die,’ Sarah cried.
‘He’ll be baptised Luke then, I’ll let Father Kelly know,’ Maria said.
‘Can I be present at Luke’s baptism?’
‘I’m sorry, Sarah, I can’t change hospital rules,’ Maria sighed. ‘You should go home and get some sleep. All we can do now is pray.’ Sarah, bewildered by the suddenness of it all, couldn’t leave now, not when Lucy and the baby needed her. She sat in the corridor and waited, tears running down her tired face.
She watched the priest leave. Minutes later, Maria came towards her, and Sarah knew before she reached her, that Luke’s tiny life had ebbed away.
It was a while before Sarah felt in control of her emotions and could phone Neil at the newspaper office with the sad news.
‘God almighty, Sarah, that’s terrible. How’s Lucy?’
‘She doesn’t … know yet, Neil,’ she felt a sob choke the back of her throat.
‘I’ll come over.’
‘There’s no need, Neil. Maria’s here and I’ll stay … until Lucy wakes up. Only God knows what she’ll feel like.’ She had no more change and the phone went dead.
Sarah walked back down the corridor, as Maria walked towards her with a cup of tea. ‘Drink this, you could have a long wait.’ She sighed.
‘Poor Lucy, all that pain and nothing to show for it,’ Sarah said.
‘Sometimes things happen for the best. It might take time for Lucy to recover, but with God’s help, she will,’ Maria said and smiled.
When Lucy woke up, Sarah was allowed in to see her. She was propped up in bed sipping a cup of tea. Her eyes lit up when she saw Sarah. ‘I’ve had a baby boy, Sarah! Have ye seen him?’ she said. ‘Can ye ask nurse to bring him in?’
Sarah’s mouth dropped. She could hardly believe that Lucy hadn’t been told about Luke.
‘Lucy…’ Sarah reached out for Lucy’s hand.
‘What’s wrong Sarah? Where’s my baby? Nurse, I want to see my baby!’ Lucy cried.
Mothers, feeding their babies, looked up in alarm, as a nurse hurried towards Lucy’s bed. ‘Keep the noise down, please. You’ll upset the babies.’
It was an insensitive thing to say, and Sarah was furious. ‘Why haven’t you told her about Luke?’
‘I’ll just get the nurse in charge,’ she said, hurrying from the ward.
‘Sarah, tell me, will ye. Have the nuns taken him?’ she pleaded.
Sarah looked away, her eyes filled with tears. It was the last thing she envisaged having to do. A sob caught in her throat. She turned towards Lucy, who was chewing her fingers searching Sarah’s face for some glimmer of hope. The nurse on duty breezed into the ward. Lifting a chair, she placed it down next to Lucy’s bed, relieving Sarah of the task.
The explanation, delivered with little sensitivity, upset Lucy.
‘Sure, aren’t you the lucky one to be alive, and with a loyal friend to stand by you.’ The nurse’s cutting remark infuriated Sarah, who did her best to comfort the distraught girl.
‘It’s punishment on me for having him out of wedlock,’ Lucy sobbed.
Sarah glared at the nurse. Then she turned to Lucy. ‘Of course it’s not, Lucy.’ Then she stood up, a defiant expression on her tired face. ‘You can’t seriously expect Lucy to stay in a ward full of babies?’
‘Sure, isn’t she lucky to have gotten a bed at all?’
‘In that case, you won’t mind if I take her home. With no infant, surely there’s no need for her to stay?’
‘The doctor has to check her over, take out her stitches, and then she can go.’
‘When will that be?’
‘A day or two,’ she said, and walked away.
Lucy closed her eyes, hiding her pain, and eased her head back on the white pillow. Her hair framed her pale face. ‘I wish I was dead, I deserve to be, not my baby,’ she sobbed. ‘I want to get out of here. Them smug bitches are still calling me names,’ she snivelled.
‘You’ll be home soon, Lucy, I can promise you that.’
‘You’ll have to leave now,’ a young nurse told Sarah, as she swished the curtain around the bed to attend to Lucy’s ablutions. Sarah hugged her, and promised to come back the following day.
When Sarah passed out of the ward, she glared at the offending women who were intent on making Lucy’s life even more miserable than it already was. ‘You don’t deserve to be so lucky,’ she said, looking down at their screaming infants, before leaving the hospital. However, she was not happy to be leaving Lucy to the thoughtless remarks of hypocrites.
Member of Leicester Writers’ Club, Just Write workshop, Life President of Lutterworth Writers’ Group, Member NAWG, Member Romantic Novelist Association and past president of Riverside Speakers club.
Cathy is an experienced writer of romantic fiction. Her early work was competition short stories and articles published in national magazines. She was Editor in Chief of the Leicestershire Anthology, ‘Taking Off’, a book promoted and supported by Arts Council UK.
In recent times, Cathy has turned to writing full-length novels that are set in Ireland/England/America. HER FATHERS’S DAUGHTER, Cathy’s second book, contracted by Tirgearr Publishing as an e-book is out in paperback in June, 2014, and available in library large print.
Her debut book, Shadow Across the Liffey, a 2013 contender for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon award was published in February 2013 by Tirgearr Publishing is available now in paperback. And will be available in library large print in June 2014
She was a recent contestant on the TV show Food Glorious Food, with her recipy Cathy’s Crumbs Crumble.
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