It is my very great pleasure to be part of the launch celebrations of ‘Echoes from Afar’ by Tamara Kinley which is published by Quercus books on 28th January 2016. ‘Echoes from Afar’ is available here in the UK, here in the US, from all good bookshops and directly from Quercus.
Not only do I have an extract from Tamara Kinley’s lovely book, but UK readers can win a copy at the bottom of this blog post.
Read an extract from the very beginning of ‘Echoes from Afar’:
Despite the passing of the years, he’d hoped that by some miracle he would see her there once more, so when she finally appeared, he wondered if it was the sheer force of his longing that had somehow conjured her up.
His breath caught and his pulse quickened as he sat forward in his wheelchair by the third-floor balcony windows, the glass of wine and cigarette forgotten as he tried to believe it was really her. Two decades had passed, and his eyes were not as reliable as they had once been. Could they be playing a cruel trick on him? Was his imagination running riot? Yet as she stood on the Pont Neuf and gazed down the swift-flowing Seine towards the distant Eiffel Tower and the rooftops of Paris, it was as if those years had been swept away and she had returned to him.
He eased further forward, confident she couldn’t see him in the rapidly darkening room, but still not trusting what his eyes were telling him. Her hair was longer than he remembered, flowing over her narrow shoulders in a tumble of silken curls, but her slender figure still retained the delicate grace that belied the fierce energy and determination she’d always possessed. And even in her relaxed state, there was an almost defiant tilt to her chin that he remembered so very well. Dressed in narrow slacks and a sweater, there were suitcases at her feet and she carried an artist’s portfolio, and a coat over her arm.
‘Belle?’ he breathed in wonder. ‘Can it really be you?’
As if she’d heard him, she turned from the river, her gaze sweeping beyond the bridge to the cobbled Quai de la Mégisserie, and the tall grey houses whose balconies and windows overlooked the Seine.
His breath caught again as her face was illuminated by a nearby street lamp, and her eyes seemed to find his momentarily before she looked away. The disappointment was sharp. It wasn’t Belle, couldn’t possibly be Belle. Too many years had passed, and this girl was younger than Belle had been on that fateful day when they’d met on the bridge. And yet there was something about her that held echoes of the past . . .
‘Are you all right, Patron?’
The light was switched on, startling him, and he blinked in its sudden glare. ‘Turn that off and come here,’ he ordered the young man as he turned once more towards the window. ‘See that girl? Go and find out who she is and where she’s come from. Now, quickly, before she leaves the bridge.’
The look was quizzical, the smile wry. ‘She’s a bit young, even for you, isn’t she, Patron?’ he drawled. His impatience made him sharp. ‘Just do as I ask, Max,’ he rasped. ‘I’ll explain later.’
As Max left the room, he turned once more towards the window. She was looking up now, her gaze drifting over the wrought-iron balconies, perhaps drawn by the sudden glare of light which had just as swiftly been extinguished. Her eyes seemed to hold him there for a second, and he could sense her unease as she broke the spell and hurriedly looked away.
He touched the glass in the window as if by doing so he could keep her there, but before Max had even reached the street, she’d picked up her cases, turned her back and was immediately lost amongst the stream of homeward-bound office workers and strolling tourists.
He slumped back into the chair, the moment lost, his pain raw. He closed his eyes to try to dispel some of his anguish, but all he could see was the young, vibrant Belle who had stood on the Pont Neuf so many years before, and the memories and deep regrets over what had happened to tear them apart now threatened to overwhelm him.
Just reading that extract and seeing the gorgeous images makes me want to dive right in!
About Tamara Kinley
Photo courtesy of Joanna Crittenden
Tamara McKinley is the author of more than eleven novels. She was born in Tasmania, but now lives in Sussex and Cornwall and writes full time. Her novels are both contemporary and historical. Tamara also writes under the name Ellie Dean.
Win a copy of ‘Echoes from Afar’ (UK entrants only) here
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