Broken Flowers By Kate McQuaile
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.7 MB
Your mother. The one person you trust. What if you’re wrong?
Widowed Nan is on her way to her beloved son’s wedding. She should be excited, but she is dreading her return to Paradise Place – a small area of Notting Hill that she hasn’t dared set foot on for decades. Nan had arrived there as a young girl in the late seventies, desperate for freedom and a career as an artist. But, drawn into a dark obsession that spun out of control, Nan was forced to flee.
And while the only thing seemingly connecting her son’s wedding and her old secret life is Paradise Place, Nan quickly gets the impression that someone is watching her every move . . . someone she thought was dead.
Between lifting the poker and smashing it down on his head, there must have been a moment when I thought about what was going to happen, about the consequences of a heavy metal object making contact with flesh and bone. But if there was such a moment, I don’t remember it. Nor do I remember having had any sense of a line about to be crossed, a line separating innocence and murder. The fact is that I have no memory whatsoever of that single moment – if it ever existed.
I’ve been good at shutting the memory of that night out of my mind – or, at least, good at slamming some cerebral door against it when it has pushed too far forward.
But there have been times when I’ve allowed the guilt to wash over me like a tidal wave until I think I’m going to drown. And there will be in the future. Maybe I’ll see someone who reminds me of him, and for a fraction of a second my heart will pound faster and I’ll feel my stomach churn. Or I’ll hear a voice that sounds like his. And then there’s that much deeper thing I dare not acknowledge. It lies below the surface. It will always be there.
I’ve rebuilt my life, reinvented myself. I’ve lied and I’m still lying. I no longer know the difference between what’s true and what’s false, what’s real and unreal.
But I know that I have rebuilt my life on an illusion, a pack of lies I told myself. I invented a new truth because it was the only way I was able to survive.
I realise that now as I walk down the short, narrow passageway that leads to the house I left four decades ago. The house where I became a murderer. Number 4 Paradise Place.
Earlier that day . . .
I’m sick with nerves and with longing. I haven’t seen him for two years, two long years, and now I’m on my way to London to see him marry a woman I’ve never met. The conflicting emotions that threatened to drown me when I first drew the stiff white card out of the envelope are back. They batter my heart and my stomach as every swerve of the speeding train takes me closer to my son, my beautiful, angry son who walked out of my life on the day we buried his father.
He has found love, and I should be happy for him. But I’m overwhelmed by a sense of grief and loss at having been excluded from all the events of the past two years that have led to his present happiness.
I wish I had been part of his getting to know this woman.
Over the years, I had glimpses into his romantic life. Sometimes he brought girlfriends to stay for weekends, and I saw several come and go. I liked most of them, and some of them I liked very much. But they rarely lasted longer than a few months and Chris and I began to wonder if we would ever see him settled.
The wedding invitation stands to attention in my open handbag. My hand slips into the bag and into the torn envelope. My fingers feel their way across the embossed wording that I now know by heart, the names that are etched into my brain. Arnaud and Alice Thomas. Marie-Laure Thomas.