I love historical fiction so I’m thrilled to be part of the launch celebrations for Always In My Heart by Pam Weaver. Not only do I have an extract to share, but I also have an answer to a question I posed to Pam!
Always In My Heart was published by Pan on 15th June and is available for purchase in e-book and paperback through the publisher links here.
Always In My Heart
1939. When war is declared, twins Shirley and Tom are evacuated to the coastal town of Worthing. Almost fourteen, they are very close to their mother, but leaving London is the only way to keep them safe. Shirley is the bright one of the pair, whereas Tom is sometimes slow to understand the world around him. But Shirley helps him get by and is his best friend and ally.
The twins are taken in by a local farmer, but their new home quickly proves to be far from a rural dream. Tom is forced to do back-breaking work and sleep under the stairs each night. The farmer’s wife is heavily pregnant, and seems to live in fear of him. She’s refusing all midwives, so it will be up to Shirley, with no experience in the matter, to help her deliver her baby.
Their new teacher at the local school notices that something is not right with the children, but the farmer keeps the twins from seeing anyone, even their own mother. As the cold weather sets in and Tom falls ill, will Shirley be able to find a way out for them both?
An Extract from Always In My Heart
Shirley and her brother Tom are on a school trip
Before long, someone spotted the sea and the excitement in the coach reached its peak.
‘I wish we had time to go round the shops when we get there,’ Helen whispered. ‘I wanted to buy a lipstick.’
Ann’s eyes grew wide. ‘Will your mum let you wear lipstick?’
‘Of course not,’ said Helen. ‘I’d only put it on when she’s not around.’
‘They’re very expensive,’ Shirley remarked.
‘Well, I’ve seen them in Woolworths for one and eleven,’ said Helen with a defiant shrug of her shoulder. Shirley was suddenly tempted to buy one herself. Everybody said she looked more like seventeen than fifteen. If she wore lipstick, she might even get into the pictures to see an X-film on her own. They said Edward G. Robinson was very good. She’d always wanted to see him.
‘Why don’t we go to Woolworths?’ she said, feeling deliciously naughty. ‘If we get caught, we could always pretend we got lost trying to find the toilets.’ The three of them looked at each other with sparkling eyes as they savoured the idea of their own wickedness.
Ann took in a breath. ‘Go on, then. Let’s do it.’
‘Can I come too?’ Tom’s voice boomed through the coach and several people turned round. Shirley jumped. Her brother been so quiet since they’d all got back in the coach she’d almost forgotten he was there. Helen and Ann sat up straight and gazed out of their window, doing their best to pretend they didn’t know what he was talking about.
‘Shh,’ Shirley said, elbowing him as she looked around nervously. ‘And no, you can’t.’
Tom was puzzled. ‘Why not? I’d like to go to Woolworths. I could get a lipstick too. Mum said I should stay with you all the time.’
Listening to the stifled giggles all around her, Shirley felt her heart sink. Now she was torn. She desperately wanted to be with her friends, but it would be no fun at all with Tom tagging along, and besides, he was bound to give the game away.
‘Let me come, Shirl. Please. I want to go to Woolworths.’
‘All right, all right,’ said Shirley. ‘Just keep your voice down, will you?’ He stayed silent for about thirty seconds and then said in a voice just as loud as before, ‘Why do I have to keep my voice down? Is it a secret, Shirl?’
‘We’re not taking him, Shirley,’ Helen hissed when Shirley glanced at her, and rolled her eyes.
Shirley looked at them helplessly, but Helen and Ann just glared at her and she knew then that she wouldn’t be going to buy lipsticks with them. Now she was annoyed with Tom. His crass behaviour had spoiled something that promised to be a little bit exciting, but at the same time, she knew she wouldn’t be angry for long. Her brother couldn’t help the way he was.
‘I’m not going anywhere without you, Tom,’ she said. ‘All right?’ He nodded cheerfully.
‘All right, Shirl.’ When she turned her attention back to her friends.
Helen and Ann had their heads together and were whispering. Shirley felt her stomach tighten with disappointment. She loved her brother, but because of him, she was often left out of things. Helen and Ann were busy planning, and once again Shirley wasn’t included.
A Guest Response by Pam Weaver
I’m thrilled that I was also able to ask Pam what home means to her and this is what she told me:
What is home?
Home is where I can undo my bra and relax in front of the telly. It’s where I can leave the messy kitchen until I’m ready to clear up. It’s where my husband is and the place where my kids and grandkids love to come for Sunday lunch. Home is where my friends have shared their joys and sorrows at my kitchen table over a cup of tea.
As Dorothy once said, ‘There’s no place like home.’
(You’re absolutely right Pam!)
About Pam Weaver
Pam Weaver is a bestselling author of saga novels set in Worthing, including There’s Always Tomorrow, Better Days Will Come, Pack Up Your Troubles, For Better For Worse, Blue Moon and Love Walked Right In. Pam’s inspiration comes from her love of people and their stories and her passion for the town where her novels are set. She is married with two grown-up daughters and lives in Worthing.