I have the absolute pleasure of introducing one of the most unique authors I know. Her books are beautifully written, multilayered stories that are entertaining to read, but also make you think about the issues contained within the pages.
Today’s post is inspired by her latest novel, “Little Gidding Girl”. I purchased a copy in my hands and will be reading and reviewing it soon… so, without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Vivienne…
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What did you want to be when you were a teenager? What shining golden dream did you hold towards the end of school or college?
Without doing a proper poll, I suspect that few of us achieved those dreams. At fourteen, I still dreamed of becoming an astronaut. By the following year I realised it was never likely to happen. Of all the career paths, that’s possibly one of the least probable for a young woman growing up in the UK. I still have a great fondness for star gazing and astronomy but it’s been a long time since I ever thought I would walk among the stars.
After my finals but before leaving university, it was required that I attend a careers’ interview. Too little, too late, I feel, at that stage but the 80s were a different era, less pressured. When the career’s officer asked what I wanted to do, I told her I wanted to be a writer. She laughed at me. The young me was very hurt and angry at being dismissed like that but the mature me knows only too well that the path I did choose to follow isn’t actually that much less difficult to succeed in than my original one of being an astronaut. At time of writing, there is ONE female, British-born astronaut; though there are a number of stellar female British-born authors, the chances of being listed among those stars is very small indeed.
Little Gidding Girl’s main character is Verity, once a dreamy, love-struck teenager who’d envisaged a life of poetry with her poet boyfriend Nick. The daydreams of a life together, bound with cords of words and with devotion worthy of the world’s favourite love poems, come to an abrupt and tragic end before she even turns eighteen. So too do her talents and ambitions and hopes.
It’s very hard to come back from that kind of loss. In the time between Christmas and midsummer in the year I turned seventeen, three close friends of the same age as me died in three unrelated tragedies. One in a car crash, one from toxic shock syndrome and one from heart failure. I’d known each for years, since we all entered high school together and one I’d known my whole life.
The final death was that of my best friend. Yet much as that changed me, I was not romantically entangled. I’d not planned out a future for us together. I’d known that in the coming years, friendships would probably fade a little, or even dwindle and die. There’d be Christmas cards for some years, perhaps meeting up for drinks in the university holidays, and perhaps the friendships would develop and endure into full adulthood. But for Verity, it was an ending that she never quite recovered from.
Not only did it end that future she and Nick had planned and dreamed about, it also ended a future where she herself grew and developed and blossomed into the woman she was meant to be. So years passed but she remained at heart that bereaved girl who has lost her future.
Yet those dreams and hopes and talents did not die. As the year turns at the autumn equinox, at her mid-point of life, something starts to stir and change. Too long has the past been forgotten and buried, too long have those lost dreams been ignored. And as they come surging to the surface, they begin to wreak havoc in the life of the girl who has been frozen in time.
At seventeen, Verity lost the future she’d craved when Nick, her enigmatic and troubled poet boyfriend, drowned at sea. At thirty-five, in a safe, humdrum and uninspired life, she finds that snatches of the life she didn’t have begin to force their way into her real life. This other life, more vivid and demanding than her actual life, begins to gather a terrible momentum as she starts to understand that her un-lived life was not the poetic dream she had imagined it might be.
Doubting her own sanity as her other life comes crashing down around her in a series of disasters, Verity is forced to re-examine her past, realign her present and somehow reclaim a future where both her own early creative promise and her family can exist and flourish together. Exploring the nature of time itself, the possibilities of parallel universes and the poetic expressions of both, Verity searches to understand why and how Nick really died and what her own lives, lived and un-lived, might truly mean.
‘From the unknown spaces between what is, was, and will be, messages and sendings break through into Verity’s life: are they nightmares of a parallel reality or projections from a love that has flown? Vivienne Tuffnell keeps us guessing with utmost artistry as we trace the interweaving way-marks in pursuit of the truth. Little Gidding Girl kept me enthralled until the very end.’
– Caitlín Matthews, author of Singing the Soul Back Home, and Diary of a Soul Doctor
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If you’re wondering how my writing is going, keep your eyes open for my next blog post…
If you like my blog posts and enjoy reading my books, perhaps once you’ve gone and picked up a copy of Vivienne Tuffnell’s new book, maybe you would like to keep me writing as well?
There are two ways to do that now –
The second is to become one of my Patrons! There are various different levels of Patronage, so I’m sure there will be one to suit everyone’s pocket, not to mention the rewards that my patrons can access… https://www.patreon.com/KiraMorgana