‘2023 marks Lesley Pearse’s 30th Anniversary as a published author.
Betrayal is her 31st novel‘
Betrayal by Lesley Pearse published with Michael Joseph July 6th and is described as a book that ‘will keep you gripped until the very end. A masterclass in storytelling.’ I am delighted to be joining the blog tour today in celebration of Lesley Pearse’s 31st novel (what an extraordinary achievement) with an extract to share with you all and further details about Betrayal.
[ About Betrayal ]
Eve should never have married Don Hathaway. Young and lovestruck, he’d given her two precious children – Olly and Tabitha – but he’s a bully. Worse than that, he is abusive. But, after one drunken rage too many, she realises if she doesn’t leave, she will die.
With no money, or family to run to, she bravely summons the courage to escape and is helped by a network of women who give her sanctuary. The path is not easy but driven by the need to give her children a future, she starts to rebuild her life. Don, however, is bitter. And getting away entirely proves impossible. Until the day Eve tries to teach him a lesson – and it all goes horribly wrong.
Now, shouldering a terrible burden that she dares not share, Eve sets up a business in her newly adopted town of Sidmouth, and her fortunes go from strength to strength. New business, new home, new love. But how long before the past catches up with her? And how will she reconcile the fact that in relentlessly pursuing a better life, she may have betrayed not only her own, but her children’s future happiness.
[ Extract ]
Chapter 1 – P.8 – 10
Don shoved the back door open, banging it hard into the wall. Eve knew by the ferocity of his entrance he was certain to pick a fight with her tonight.
She knew there was no chance of appeasing him. She’d tried every which way in the past and it always ended the same. He would hit her. Often till she was unconscious.
It was just after eleven. That meant he hadn’t found a willing candidate for more drinks after the pub and a kebab. That usually mellowed his mood.
Eve braced herself for the inevitable as he stomped into the kitchen, looking at her balefully. ‘Can I make you a bacon sandwich?’ she asked hopefully.
‘Fuck off, you silly cow,’ he snarled. ‘Do I look like I want a bacon sandwich?’
You look like a pig, she thought but didn’t dare say. ‘Is there something else you’d like to eat?’
She didn’t see the punch coming. For a big man Don could pounce as swiftly as a cat. As his fist connected with her cheek her head rattled with an explosion of pain.
‘Is food the only thing you can offer?’ he shouted at her, and the stink of his beer and cigarette breath made her stomach heave too.
He caught hold of her shoulders, head-butted her, punched her in the stomach so she fell to the floor and then kicked her again and again. She heard a faint crack and knew that, once again, her ribs had broken, but even as she wanted to scream out in agony, she felt the heaven-sent wooziness of unconsciousness.
She came to later to find herself lying in blood; she wasn’t sure which part of her was cut, as everything hurt. An attempt at getting up proved hopeless – her ribs and head hurt too much. Don had left the kitchen light on, and she wished she could manoeuvre herself to reach the cardigan she’d left on the kitchen chair because the heating had turned off and she was very cold. There was nothing for it but to lie in agony waiting for it to abate enough to try to get up. She would blank out the thought of all the other times she’d lain for hours in this very spot.
‘You should never have married him,’ she muttered as she lifted one hand to examine her face. Her left eye had already swollen so badly she couldn’t see out of it, and one of her teeth was bleeding but it didn’t feel as if it would fall out. The rest of the blood appeared to be from her shin, where Don had kicked it.
So many people had advised her against marrying Don, including her father. They had all witnessed various bouts of bad temper, but back then Eve always found a good reason for them. Besides, back in 1986 when they’d married, his anger had never been directed towards her.
Eve’s mother Sandra had died from breast cancer when she was ten, and her father Jack had become a dour, difficult man, so getting married and gaining a home of her own seemed a happy solution. Don was ten years older than Eve, a big dark-haired handsome man. He was a plumber and made a very good living. He even owned a house of his own. Granted it was only a two-up two-down in a scruffy road in Lewisham, and in bad repair, but Eve felt she could make it lovely.
They had only been back from their honeymoon in Spain for a week when he hit her for the first time.
‘I didn’t mean to hurt you,’ he said almost as soon as he’d attacked her, and he got a bag of ice to put on her already swelling eye. ‘I had a terrible day at work and when you began nagging me about decorating the lounge, I just saw red.’
She found herself apologizing for merely offering to paint and wallpaper it herself, something she was good at. She hadn’t considered that was nagging. But as he kissed her bruised face and told her he loved her, she forgave him.
With hindsight she should’ve walked out of the door right then.
[ Bio ]
Lesley Pearse was three years old when her mother died. With her father in the Royal Marines, Lesley and her older brother spent three years in orphanages before her father remarried and Lesley and her older brother were brought home again. They were joined by two other children who were later adopted by her father and stepmother, and a continuing stream of foster children. The impact of constant change and uncertainty in Lesley’s early years is reflected in the recurring themes in her books: how emotional damage inflicted on children impacts the rest of their lives. Lesley had an extra-ordinary childhood and skilfully marries the pain and unhappiness of her early experiences with a unique gift for storytelling.
Lesley left home at 15 and headed to London where she worked her way through many jobs – from corsetry sales in Cooks of St. Pauls (featured in Dead to Me), to musician’s muse (her second husband was a musician managed by Don Arden), to bunny girl to nanny; from gift shop owner to dressmaker – finally finding her true vocation when she became a published author age 49. Since then, Lesley has become an internationally bestselling author, with over 10 million copies of her books sold worldwide.
A true storyteller and a master of gripping storylines, there is no set formula for a Lesley Pearse novel although strong heroines and difficult circumstances are pervasive. Whether historical adventures such as Gypsy or Never Look Back or the passionately emotive Trust Me, Lesley is inspired by stories of courage and adversity and often gives voice to women lost in history. She is passionate about her research and her stories have taken her far and wide; from Alaska to the Crimea. Lesley now lives in Torquay, Devon where she loves to spend time walking on the beach with her grandchildren. A fantastic speaker and committed and passionate fundraiser for the NSPCC, Lesley is a much sought-after guest at literary lunches, library events and festivals up and down the country.
Twitter ~ @LesleyPearse