Thursday, 18 February 2021

A spotlight & Extract for: Daughter of the Sea by Sylvia Broady


The midsummer night air in the room was humid and on the bed laid a young woman, bathed in perspiration and in her last stage of labour. The midwife wiped the young woman’s brow and then checked the birth channel. This baby seemed in no hurry to come into the world. ‘And who could blame it,’ the midwife muttered to herself. ‘Push,’ she urged the woman. And then a miracle happened. The baby slipped out of its mother’s protective womb into an uncertain world. Cutting the umbilical cord and cleaning the infant’s face, the midwife wrapped her in a clean cloth.

Placing the infant in the open arms of the mother, she said, her voice softening, ‘You have a daughter, love,’

She watched, seeing the glow of tenderness light up the young woman’s face as she gazed upon her daughter’s red, crinkly face.

Then she continued with her duties and to wait for the placenta to come. It came in pieces with a great gush of blood and soaking the young woman’s body and bed. Swiftly, the midwife took the baby from its mother’s arms and laid her to rest in the crib lined with white silk and covered her with the white woollen blanket. Against the pureness of her crib, the baby girl’s hair shone as auburn as her mother’s.

Focusing all her energy and attention back to the mother, she brought fresh clean towels to try to stem the flow of the woman’s life blood. But it was to no avail. She needed a doctor urgently. Hurrying downstairs and outside to the nearest house, she banged on the door.

An upstairs window opened and a sleepy eyed man stuck out his head and yelled, ‘where’s the fire?’

I need a doctor at once or yond woman might die.’

The man closed the window and was down the stairs and opening the door in a flash. The midwife pushed coins into his hand, saying, ‘Get the doctor and hurry.’

Back with her patient, she looked in horror at the lake of blood and reached for more towels. The woman’s translucent face was hot and feverish and the midwife bathed her face in cold water.

My baby,’ the woman whispered.

The midwife lifted the sleeping infant from the crib and held her close to her mother’s face. The young woman kissed her daughter’s cheek and in that instant, the baby opened its eyes to see her mother. The young woman’s eyelids flickered and she gave a faint sigh as she slipped gently away from this world leaving behind her new born infant. Their daughter.

The doctor came. He was old and grumbled and non-too pleased at being woken up from his sleep. If only he could retire. ‘Too late,’ he stated the obvious as he gave the young woman’s body a cursory examination. And then wrote out the death certificate.

The midwife told him who to make out his bill to and he raised an eyebrow at the mention of the man’s name, but he didn’t comment, he just said, ‘I’ll arrange for the undertakers to call.’

When he’d gone, she sat down on a chair feeling tired and in need of a cup of strong tea. The cry of the infant roused her and she knew she had no option but to take the child to the only person who would take her in. Her father. She bathed the child and put her into a nightgown and nappy and then wrapped her in a pure white shawl of finest wool and went out into the night.

By the time she reached the big house overlooking the Humber Estuary, dawn was breaking. She hurried up the steps of the silent house and rapped hard on the front door and waited with the sleeping child cradled in her arms. She listened to the sound of footfalls, heavy as they drew nearer, and then the door was flung open to reveal a fine figure of a man, despite clan in his night attire, of about thirty.

He stared at her and then he saw the bundle move in her arms. Stepping nearer to him, she thrust the bairn to him, saying, ‘Yond lass died giving birth to your daughter.’

He clasped the baby to his chest and tears wet his eyes as he looked down to gaze upon his sleeping daughter. Then he lifted up his head and said to the midwife, ‘Take care of…’ A choking sound erupted in his throat and he couldn’t speak.

I’ll take care of her, sir.’ For a few seconds they stared at each other.

Suddenly a woman’s voice called out from within. ‘Who’s there?’

The midwife turned and hurried away, knowing the man would pay for all the expenses occurred. Right now, he would have some explaining to do to his wife.

Daughter Of The Sea by Sylvia Broady

Well-paced … genuinely gripping’ Historical Novels Review

Jessica is grieving for her beloved father, trawler owner Jacob Kingdom, when a heated confrontation ends with her being cast out from the family home and the revelation of a shameful secret. She falls upon the kindness of strangers and meets a charismatic trawlerman, who is proud to walk out with Kingdom’s daughter.

But with her cold-hearted brother at the helm of the family business, there is discontent rising, and being Kingdom’s daughter begins to lose its charm. With Jessica desperate to prove herself worthy to the tight-knit community, does she have what it takes to weather the storm to come, or will her secret hold her back?

Amazon US               Amazon UK 

Sylvia Broady was born in Hull and has lived in the area all her life, although she loves to travel the world. It wasn’t until she started to frequent her local library after World War II that her relationship with literature truly began, and her memories of the war influence her writing as does her home town. She has had a varied career in childcare, the NHS and the EYC Library Services, but is now a full-time writer.