I am delighted to be helping celebrate paperback publication day by sharing an extract from Deception by Lesley Pearse. Amazingly, this is Lesley’s 30th year as a published author!
With one of her books sold every 4 minutes, and sales exceeding 10 million worldwide, you are always sure to find a gripping storyline and unforgettable characters in Lesley’s novels. Deception is full of suspense. The story follows Alice Kent, who – after finding out a stranger may be her real father – has to ask herself a terrible question: what happens when you learn the person closest to you has led a life of deception? As Alice unravels the secrets her mother kept so desperately hidden, whatever the cost, a very different woman is unveiled; a woman shaped by trauma and poverty, and a childhood beyond her daughter’s imagination.
Inspired by Lesley’s own life – her early years in an orphanage, and the impact of constant change and uncertainty in her early years – she skilfully weaves this with her natural gift of storytelling.
Read an extract from chapter one of Deception by Lesley Pearse
Alice Kent turned up the volume on her car radio as Eric Clapton, playing her favourite number, ‘Layla’, came on.
She was speeding down from Bristol to her mother’s funeral in Totnes and she was late, delayed by wafflers at the meeting this morning. Now she’d have to go straight to the church in Dartington instead of meeting up with her family first. As that would give her enough time not to be late for the service, she relaxed a little and sang along with Eric.
Her mother, Sally Kent, had died of cancer ten days earlier. Alice had taken leave from work so she could nurse her mother for her last weeks and, sad as it was for her mother to die relatively young at seventy-five, Alice knew she was glad to go.
‘I’ve had a good life,’ she said, one morning, as Alice was brushing her hair. ‘A wonderful husband, the two best daughters any mother would want, and three grandchildren. But it’s time for me to go now, Alice. I don’t like being in pain, or people taking care of me. I just want peace.’
As much as she was going to miss her mother, and she felt as if her heart was being pulled out, Alice understood it was for the best. She knew it had been agony for her once ebullient, active mother to lie in bed, and know she was never going to get any better. She just hoped her sister, Emily, and her father, Ralph, could see it that way.
Alice was thirty-five, tall, slender and dark-haired. She always thought of herself as single, rather than divorced: her marriage at twenty-one had been a travesty she didn’t care to dwell on. Friends always remarked on her being so capable, and while she knew that was true, that she could handle anything thrown at her, she wasn’t sure she wanted to be described as such. To her it suggested plodding, dull and unimaginative.
Now and again she analysed herself. Was her inability to fall head over heels in love an indication of dullness? There had been several lengthy relationships since she’d left her husband, but not once had she ever felt she could die for a man. Now she’d come to the conclusion she wasn’t cut out for permanence, which was perhaps just as well as she could never say when exactly she’d be home.
She loved her small flat in Bristol’s Clifton village, and she had many friends of both sexes. Mostly she felt she had everything a girl could want. But deep down she still hoped for the love affair that would turn her life upside-down.
Deception is published in paperback today by Penguin Michael Joseph.
About the Author
Lesley Pearse was told as a child that she had too much imagination for her own good. When she grew up she worked her way through a number of jobs, including nanny, bunny girl, dressmaker and full-time mother, before, at the age of forty-nine, settling upon a career that would allow her gifts to blossom: she became a published writer. Lesley lives in Devon and has three daughters and three grandchildren.
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