The Awakening Of Claudia Faraday written by Patsy Trench, publisher Prefab Publications, is available NOW in ebook, kindleunlimited and paperback format.
‘It got better, in time, though to be truthful it always felt more of a duty than a pleasure: a little like homework, satisfying when over, and done well, but never exactly enjoyable. But then nobody had ever suggested it could be otherwise.’
This was the view of Claudia Faraday, 1920s respectable wife and mother of three, on the subject of sex. That is until an unexpected turn of events shakes her out of her torpor and propels her back into the world revitalised and reawakened, where she discovers, as Marie Stopes might have said: Approached in the right way, even homework can be fun.
Purchase Link – https://mybook.to/ClaudiaF
I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting Patsy Trench’s novel: The Awakening of of Claudia Faraday. I have the pleasure of sharing an extract with you.
A young stranger has arrived at Claudia’s house unexpectedly.
So Claudia rang for tea, and as they sat together, the young man and the middle-aged woman, in the fading light of an early autumn day, she asked the stranger how he came to be acquainted with her husband.
‘I was working with him,’ he said. ‘In Africa. A great privilege.’
‘And what part of Africa would that be?’
‘Tanganyika, the Olduvai Gorge, you may have heard of it.’
Claudia nodded vaguely. ‘How is he?’
‘Excellent. Yes. You’ve not heard from him recently? No, he did confess as much. He gets very caught up with his work, very dedicated. Single-minded, you could say.’
‘He only made it to one of the three weddings,’ said Claudia.
‘Three daughters, three weddings, within a few months of each other. He made it to one but was unable to stay for the others.’
‘And what exactly did he confess?’ said Claudia, trying to keep the archness from her voice.
‘“He did confess as much.” Your words.’
‘Ah. He confessed he had a family.’
‘“Confessed he had a family”?’ Claudia’s eyebrows lifted imperceptibly. ‘And did he talk much about his family?’
‘I believe he said he’d been over, yes, he’d been over for a wedding earlier in the year, though he didn’t mention a daughter. A family wedding I gather, I didn’t really ask.’ He flashed her a disarming smile. ‘But I did promise to call in on you,’ he went on. ‘To give you news of him.’
‘Ah, not to see how I was.’
‘I beg your pardon?’
‘Never mind,’ said Claudia. She gave a small sigh.
‘I’m tiring you. Would you like me to go?’
‘You might as well stay for supper,’ she found herself saying.
‘That’s very kind of you,’ said the young man. ‘I accept.’
So he stayed for supper, and they spent the evening talking about Africa, and what it was like living in the wilds, far from civilisation. He described to Claudia in vivid detail the process and the aims of working on an archaeological dig and the excitement of new discoveries – or revelations, as he called them – that stood to alter one’s entire perceptions and understanding of ancient history; and above all to be working alongside a man of such inspirational spirit, such insight. He told the story of the day they came across a piece of blackened rock, no bigger than a child’s fist, which no one but the master thought to be of significance. So while the rest of the party slept, the master worked through the night, by the light of a failing torch, until his fingers were bleeding, and by dawn he had uncovered a portion of the skull of what some time later proved to be Homo Habilis. And while to some extent Claudia had heard it all before – indeed she had herself many years ago witnessed what it was like living under canvas, in the middle of nowhere – such was the young man’s passion and eloquence she felt she was hearing it for the first time.
‘So,’ he said finally, and fell silent. A moment passed and then he added, ‘And what about you?’
‘Me? What about me?’
‘It can’t be a lot of fun, here at home, a woman on her own, no husband.’
He was watching her out of the corner of his eye. She was not disposed to rise to the comment so she said something to the effect that she managed quite well, thank you, as did many other women with absentee husbands.
She wondered what her husband Gerald had made of this forthright, enthusiastic and forward young man, at which point a startling thought came into her head and she said, ‘Did my husband send you on a mission perhaps? To spy on me? See what I get up to while the cat’s away?’
‘Spy on you? Gracious.’ He pretended to look shocked for a moment. ‘What an intriguing thought. So I must unearth your secrets.’
She was about to tell him that that would take no time at all, but deciding a little mystery would do no harm she gave him her best Giaconda smile before realising, to her simultaneous alarm and amusement, that he might think she was flirting with him. So by way of a change of subject she asked her visitor where his adventures were to take him next, at which point the conversation took an unexpected turn.
‘India,’ was his instant and emphatic reply, and in particular a temple in a place whose name Claudia could not quite catch; where, he explained, were to be found sculptures representing the Hindu ‘Four Truths’, among which is Kama, or Desire. He had a specific interest in a set of erotic sculptures which were believed to date back to the eleventh century and which contained, in addition to representations of homosexuality and hermaphroditism, images of self-pleasuring, both male and female.
‘Self . . . ? Oh!’ said Claudia, in such a way, she later realised, that might have given the (mistaken) impression she wanted to hear more. So the young man hurtled on, relating what he knew of the culture of sexual congress through history and at what point it was believed that women, as well as men, had discovered the delights of self-pleasuring. It was his view that the ancients, in this respect at least, were ahead of their time – you only had to look at the Romans and the Greeks – indeed, ahead of our time. Imagine attempting to display such artefacts in modern society!
Quite what all this had to do with archaeology was unclear, and so Claudia sat, silent and perfectly still, until the clock struck ten; at which point the young man at last drew breath and said, ‘It’s ten o’clock, I must be on my way.’
‘Where do you have to get to?’ Claudia asked.
‘Well, you’ve missed the last train.’
‘Really?’ he exclaimed.
‘You will have to stay the night.’
Author Bio –
Patsy Trench lives a quiet and largely respectable life in north London. Claudia’s story shows a side of her normally shy and reserved nature that is little known, even to her friends and acquaintances. Her previous books, about her family’s history in Australia, are entertaining and informative accounts of that country’s early colonial beginnings. She began writing late, and in a previous life she was an actress, scriptwriter, playscout, founder of The Children’s Musical Theatre of London and lyricist. When not writing books she emerges from her shell to teach theatre and organise theatre trips for overseas students. She is the grateful mother of two clever and grown-up children, and she is addicted to rag rugging and, when current circumstances permit, fossicking on the Thames foreshore for ancient treasure.
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