Don’t forget to get your FREE eBook copy of Eye of the Storm and The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo Volume I. This special deal last through April 17th. For more information, please visit The Titanic Centenary Facebook Page.
Tricia: Welcome back, Melanie! Thank you for giving us a sneak peak of Eye of the Storm. Out of all your Lynchcliffe Series books, I have a special place in my heart for this one. You give the reader a chance to see Lewis at his best…and his worst (which is still pretty good.) And, you offer some insight into the character we all fall in love with in the main Lynchcliffe series. So, without further
rambling, I will hand over my blog to you…
Melanie Dent: Eye of the Storm: Lewis Franklin’s Story is my favourite out of all the Lynchcliffe books I have written. Choosing favourite extracts is near impossible, so I have picked out three related to drowning.
I like this extract as it shows something of Franklin’s reaction to the news that his beloved nephew, Daniel, has drowned on RMS Titanic.
Franklin was ashen when he saw the headlines. The Titanic had struck an ice-berg and sunk. His worst fears were confirmed when Jenkins brought him a telegram. He slit it open with his knife but he knew what it would say.
MR LEWIS FRANKLIN STOP DANIEL FRANKLIN MISSING PRESUMED DROWNED STOP HEARTFELT CONDOLENCES STOP WHITE STAR LINE STOP
Franklin sat for a while numb with shock. He was now the last Franklin living.
He pulled himself together for he had to go to fetch Lord Lynchcliffe from the railway station. He was still trying to digest the news.
Lord Lynchcliffe looked solemn when he came out of the station.
“It’s terrible news Franklin.” He said.
“Aye. I had a telegram this morning, my Lord. Daniel is missing presumed drowned.”
“I’m terribly sorry Franklin.” Lord Lynchcliffe’s face was ashen. “I thought he didn’t want the new life.”
“He didn’t, my lord. His mam died last week and he managed to get a ticket so he could get there in time for her funeral.”
Lord |Lynchcliffe laid a hand on Franklin’s shoulder.
“If there is anything we can do for you Franklin please let me know, if you need time off or anything like that.”
“Thank you my lord.” Franklin opened the car door. “It hasn’t sunk in yet.”
“Take the rest of the week off, Franklin, for you need time to grieve properly.”
“Thank you my lord.”
Franklin drove back to Lynchcliffe Park in silence.
Lord Lynchcliffe gathered the servants together in the kitchen. Franklin stood beside him his face a mask as he fought to keep a rein on his feelings; not wanting to let himself go in Katie’s presence.
“Daniel Franklin is missing presumed drowned!” Lord Lynchcliffe announced. “I want us all to show Franklin as much support as possible for it is a terrible tragedy and Daniel was well liked here by those who met him.”
Lord Lynchcliffe left the servant’s hall.
“I’m very sorry Franklin.” Jenkins said.
“I will pray for him and his mother.” Mrs Halliwell said. Franklin shook his head.
“Daniel’s mam died last week. He was on the Titanic in order to get to New York for her funeral.”
“I never met him but I’m sorry.” Donald said.
“I’m sorry too.” Katie said.
“Thank you all.” Franklin said. “Now if you don’t mind I want to be alone.”
This extract is another favourite as Franklin is faced with the news that his best friend, Abe Fleming, has drowned on a fishing trip in the North Sea.
“Do what the hell tha wants!” Franklin snapped. “I am past caring!”
He was tired and irritable for he had not slept well due to a sense of foreboding he could not at that moment explain.
Sylvia stormed out slamming the door behind her.
Lawson walked in and handed Franklin a telegram.
“It’s urgent Franklin.” He said. Franklin slit it open with his knife.
Sylvia was crying in her room. She felt bad after the disagreement. Phillips was handsome enough but she had no love for him and did her best to avoid him. She was hurt by Franklin’s lack of concern and she realised that maybe she had been a little unkind.
She ventured back into the kitchen but did not hesitate although Lawson was present.
“Lewis I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean it but I was trying to see if I could make you jealous.”
She stopped in her tracks when she realised that Franklin was stood staring into space his face ashen and his hands shaking as his body tensed.
“Lewis what is it?” She said urgently.
“There’s been an accident.” He said in a voice that did not sound like his. “Abe and his wife have drowned.”
This final extract reveals Franklin’s first adulthood encounter with death as he finds the bodies of his father and brother.
“Tha is a good son, Lewis.” She whispered. She took hold of his hand. “Last thing I told your father was that I loved him. I hope he remembered that.”
“It wasn’t the last thing, Mam.” Lewis said gently.
“Tha knows it was, Lewis.” She said, tears pricking her eyes. “I haven’t said as much to Alice but when tha loves someone, like I loved tha’s father, tha knows here.” She placed her hand over her heart.
Lewis was deep in thought as he went to join the search party at the beach. He knew his Mam had been right but Lewis felt a desperate hope he would prove her wrong.
He was searching through some jetsam, which had been washed ashore, when he found something that made his heart race. He held part of a wooden plaque that he knew like his own hand. He could make out letters. Susa. His father’s boat had been named Susan Marie after his mother; Lewis’s grandmother. He realised that the wood was similar in texture to other pieces cast ashore during the night from the sea.
Then he heard a shout and it was the eeriest sound he had ever heard drifting across the quiet beach. The sound of a whistle in the wind distorted to eerie echoes of itself
He followed the sound and his heart stood still for, lying on the sand, were the cold death-stiffened bodies of two men.
There was no mistaking the inert bodies of James and David Franklin.
Lewis sank to his knees beside them. He hesitantly brushed his father’s hair from his forehead and grasped his hand. Both men’s eyes were open staring now at nothing. Lewis gently closed them out of respect before he buried his face in his hands, shaken with heaving sobs, and wept as though his heart would break.