Friday 21 October 2022

Wayward Daughter by Brenda Squires BLOG TOUR #WaywardDaughter @Brenda_Squires @RandomTTours #BookExtract


Two determined people. Artists. Will they heal or break each other? Set in London and Paris in the vibrant Twenties Wayward daughter, pursues the passions and pitfalls of the West End singer, Mo, and the artist, Derek. 

Mo is a born singer and longs to perform, but her East End family is set against it. When she meets and falls in love with Derek, an artist, her fortunes change and her future looks brighter. They have a passionate affair. He introduces her to the art scene in Paris and London. She becomes the free spirit she knows herself to be. She starts out on her singing career. But Derek is not what he seems. Driven to express himself through art, he is led down many paths, often away from her. So more often than not she must find her own way in the competitive West End world of stage and cabaret. Her determination to succeed is matched only by her deep-seated need for love, security and roots.

Wayward Daughter is a story of love, ambition, betrayal and grief. It is about wanting it all – about youthful dreams of artistic success that get trampled by life. It is also about the power of grief to transform us.

Wayward Daughter by Brenda Squires is recently published. As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today. 

Extract from Wayward Daughter by Brenda Squires


Morwenna rifled through the wardrobe till she found the frock, faded now with age but still velvety. She fingered the fraying material, yanked it down and wriggled into the gown. Enormous on her growing body, it trailed on the ground and wrapped itself round her ankles. Almost toppling she twirled round and peered at herself in the pitted mirror. She wondered what it would be like to be a real singer.

Tonight she was allowed into the saloon bar. By nine the place was full. Morwenna circulated, collecting glasses. Froth ran down the sides of them, which made her hands sticky. ‘Got her early on the job then,’ said Fred, one of the regulars. ‘Right looker she’s going to be. Break a few ‘earts I wouldn’t doubt.’ She clattered between bar and tables, scared in case one of the glasses slithered out of her grasp and smashed. The music started. People gathered round the piano. ‘Can she sing too?’ asked Fred. ‘The spit of Maisy, ain’t she?’

Pa, whom the regulars called Bert, was standing behind the bar, holding forth. Morwenna picked up bits of their talk.
‘All over by Christmas’ he said. Now look at it.’
‘Too right. But we got to keep going...’
‘You know what I think?’ Bert leaned forward. ‘They got better guns than us.
They’re better dug in.’
‘Come off it. That’s just Bolshie talk...’
‘Can she sing too, this little ’un?’ the man puffed on his pipe, turning towards

‘Nothing too much for our Morwenna,’ said Bert drawing a pint of Guinness and
letting it stand. Morwenna went scooting from one table to the next, light as dandelion floss.
‘I can dance. I can sing. I can do just any fing!’ she said, bold as you like, and the group laughed and applauded.
‘Cheer us up then, girly,’ said another. ‘We can do with it right now.’

Morwenna set down the tray. She gave a little curtsey then swirled around, pulling out the edges of her skirts. ‘If you were the only girl...’ she sang. Up went her little white hand and with the other she made a sweeping motion. Her voice was high, clear and bright among the chinking glasses and chatter. ‘And I were the only boy!’ She stopped. The words had flown out of her head. She swirled again then gave a flourish with her hand. Those around her clapped in delight, drawing glances from those further down the bar. ‘’Ere girlie, ’ere’s a penny. You done well.’

More pennies were thrown onto the table beside her. She flushed with pleasure. Ma was staring at her. She looked annoyed. The drinkers turned back to their glasses. ‘The glasses, I said.’ Ma pointed to the tray. Morwenna lifted it and wove her way through the bodies, which left a heavy, lingering smell of beer, tobacco and sweat.

Pa saw her coming and took the tray from her. ‘That’s my girl.’

Ma was banging ashtrays onto the counter in anger as she wiped them clean. ‘Don’t be putting fancy ideas in ’er ’ead. God knows where it will lead.’ Bert moved away, whistling, to serve three punters at the bar. ‘Go to bed now.’ said Ma. ‘Quit prancing around, do you ’ear?’

Morwenna gave her mother a timid smile. ‘Thanks for letting me ’elp out.’
‘Up you go,’ said Ma, not reflecting her smile.
Morwenna went up the stairs leading to the rooms above the bar. Halfway up, she

glanced back over the balding heads, clouds of smoke and the quivering glow of light from the gas mantles. Her heart beat faster. In her hand she was clutching several pennies. Her mother, though, was looking more upset than ever. She seemed to hate it whenever Morwenna sang. 

Brenda grew up in London and Surrey and now lives in a restored Victorian Mansion in the deep countryside of West Wales, which she loves. 

Her background was in education, community work and psychotherapy but she has always had a passion to write. At first it was a background hum but it became ever louder, until irresistible. 

She was delighted and surprised when her first novel, Landsker, won the Romantic Novelists’ New Writers Award. 

Her second book: The love of Geli Raubal draws on her experience as a student of German and the exciting time she spent in a divided Berlin. 

In the current trilogy: The Eatons she is tracing the ups and downs of a passionate relationship between two artists: a singer and a painter. 

She has always been intrigued by creativity: where it comes from, where it leads. 

Besides writing she has taken up painting recently and finds that the two art forms feed into each other. 

She likes learning foreign languages, walking in wild countryside and being by the sea. 

She helps run an arts and community centre in Pembrokeshire.


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