Today I have an excerpt for you from the novel Walking Wounded by Anna Franklin Osborne.
Edie had to wait another six hours, but with the resilience that had seen her through the past four years, she simply took a deep breath and endured it. She smiled at her mother, confused and wondering at the strain on her face when Florence had hoped and prayed for so long for William to come home. Sitting in the cosy warmth of the kitchen, she forced herself to play with little Lydia, filled that interminable day trying to talk to her dad, and trying to help Mum connect with this stranger in their midst. To begin with, Lydia was shy of the grey-faced man at the kitchen table, but soon her inquisitive and irrepressible nature took over and she climbed boldly up onto his lap giggling as she always did, clutching at his moustache with chubby little hands, her black curls raising a weary, delighted smile from William as he slowly, unbelievingly contemplated the new addition to his family. Then eventually the news of their father’s return must have spread through the street, and shutting up shop early the boys hurtled through the kitchen door, Reg enthusiastically pumping his dad’s hand while his more reserved younger brother, Bert, stood grinning shyly, then daringly suggesting a pint at their local pub which he had been too young to frequent when he had last seen him. ‘That’ll probably do him more good than anything,’ sighed Florence tiredly, as they left, pushing her hair away from her face. She felt exhausted from the emotional turmoil of the day, the conflict of emotions from what she remembered of her husband she loved and the new reality of the unfamiliar, broken man who had come back to her, bearing the scars of mustard gas and much, much more besides. She looked at Edie then, and her heart went out to her, the poor girl had been so brave all day waiting for news of Edward, yet she hadn’t said a word about it, had swallowed her own anxieties and fears so as not to detract from her family’s joy on her father’s return.
‘Why don’t you go and ask his mum if she’s had any word?’ she suggested sympathetically, but just as the words left her mouth, there was a knock on the back door. Edie felt her heart miss a beat and froze, looking at her mother helplessly, her trepidation suddenly rendering her both speechless and immobile. Florence smiled at her tenderly, then straightened her apron and marched to the door, flinging it open determinedly. And in came Edward. Still in uniform, exhausted and grimy, a broad smile across his face and his arms open wide. Edie gazed at him, feeling a wave of emotion flooding through her body and threatening to swamp her, then fell into them, laughing and crying, trying to reach her arms around the bulk of him in his jacket. Then to her surprise, he let go abruptly and looked at her for a long time, drinking in the sight of the woman whose memory had kept him going during the bleak days and nights in the trenches. Then he sank down on one knee on the scrubbed kitchen floor, took her hand between his, and said in a voice hoarse with emotion, ‘Edith Rose Johnson, will you marry me?’
If this sounds like a book to your tastes then you can find a copy here on Amazon UK.
Thanks for reading
The Stationery Geekette x
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