Can you leave the past in another country?
Written by Claire Wingfield, Saving Francesca Maier was published in March 2019 by Off The Press Books
Set in Berlin it is the first book in the This City series and it tells the story of a couple who take their teenage daughter to her father’s home country for the first time. Saving Francesca Maier explores the secrets every family hides and the choices we make in a volatile world.
I have an extract to share with you all today, which I do hope you will enjoy..
[ More about the Book ]
Francesca Maier knows little of her father’s home country or her parents’ life together before she was born. A summer in Berlin brings the past – and its secrets – alive. Adrift in a foreign city, she finds an unexpected friend in east Berliner Antonio – but what will he sacrifice to save her?
Saving Francesca Maier probes the secrets every family hides and the decisions we make in a volatile world.
[ Extract ]
Francesca doesn’t immediately know how to tell Richie that the canoe is sinking. It’s happening very slowly, a thimble of water at a time, and she is enjoying Richie’s easy chatter and her first taste of seclusion with a man who is not her father. Neither is she adept at breaking in when someone else is speaking, even in a matter of comparative urgency. So it is some minutes before a cloud passes and makes Richie think of the shore, and the lunch that awaits them there.
Richie tries to turn the canoe and gain the momentum that had brought them out into the lake. The canoe will not turn.
Francesca opens her mouth to speak. ‘There’s water—’
‘Hang on sweetheart, I’ll have us moving in a second.’
‘—In the boat. There’s water coming in.’
‘Just need to pull it round.’
‘We’re sinking. I should call for help.’ The words come out in a rush, and Francesca doesn’t know if he’s understood. She takes her phone from her pocket, unsure as to whether it will work here, pressing her father’s speed dial on number one. Richie sees her action, and puts a hand out to stop her. ‘It’s okay. I know what to do. Relax.’ His touch is warm on Francesca’s wrist.
They both watch as Francesca’s phone flies through the air, and lands in the lake with a small plop, Francesca grieving immediately for the numbers and messages she has lost.
‘What have you done?’ she howls, leaning precariously over the water. Why on earth would he knock her phone out of her hand, just when she was trying to help – trying, after all, to save them both from drowning? She glares down at the lake, angry at its indifference when just moments ago the water had seemed to cradle her, keeping her safe. Her breath comes in ragged gasps. If she doesn’t do something, she fears she might hyperventilate. Francesca takes three long, deep breaths to calm herself. When she looks up, Richie is smiling sorry into her eyes.
‘I’ll buy you a new one. Tomorrow. But we don’t need to be rescued. We can get out of this on our own. Together.’ There are deep etches by his eyes when he smiles. Despite her anger, Francesca would like to draw them.
Of course Richie can’t understand what it means for her to lose her phone in this instant. His school year isn’t electronically enshrined in a hundred messages and reminders, fragments of abbreviated flirting and poetry with the brevity and complexity of a haiku.
For more…Purchase Link ~ Saving Francesca Maier
[ Bio ]
Claire Wingfield lives in Scotland and writes novels and non-fiction as well as working as an editor and literary consultant, so her life is filled with books!
She is currently writing a follow-up to Saving Francesca Maier, which sees one of the German characters come to Edinburgh as an au pair, becoming embroiled in the secrets of the family she works for and caught up in their outrageous demands of her. The family is connected to Francesca’s mother Imogen, so we’ll also see how the rest of Francesca’s story unravels.
Readers can sign up to Claire’s author newsletter at www.clairewingfieldauthor.com
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Information on Claire’s editorial and literary services can be found at www.clairewingfield.co.uk