When Grace Went Away by Meredith Appleyard
English | 2020 | General Fiction/Classics | ePUB | 3.5 MB
With a deft hand, Meredith Appleyard shows us the beating – and sometimes aching – heart of rural Australia. A poignant tale with characters that linger long after the last page.
She’s gone . . . . .
will her family pull together, or fall further apart?
That’s how financial analyst Grace Fairley describes her family in the small South Australian farming community of Miners Ridge – a family fractured by tragedy and kept that way by anger, resentment and petty jealousies.
As the eldest sibling, Grace tries to keep the family in touch, but now she’s accepted a promotion to the London office.
Time-zones and an enormous workload mean she’s forced to take a step back, although she finds time to stay in contact with Miners Ridge landscape gardener Aaron Halliday.
Sarah Fairley, Grace’s mother, fled Miners Ridge and her embittered husband eight years ago.
Now, in the absence of Grace, she finds herself pulled back to the small town where her estranged children and grandchildren live.
Drawn into the local community, and trying to rebuild family relationships, she uncovers a long-kept secret that could change her world . . . . .
Can Grace, Sarah and their family find a way to heal?
Who will have the courage to make the first move?
Water. She’d sit quietly and drink water for an hour and then she’d be okay to drive. Or she could sleep it off in the car until she sobered up enough to drive back to the farm, where she was staying. Imagining her father’s reaction if he caught her creeping into the house in the early hours, reeking of alcohol, she quickly put the kibosh on that idea.
On the occasions she went out on the town back home in Adelaide she booked an Uber. Maybe these days this one-horse town had a taxi service. Grace would ask the barman.
Squaring her shoulders, she drew herself up to her full height of 168 centimetres. Plus her heels. Shoulder bag clutched tightly to her side she ventured out. Putting one foot carefully in front of the other she advanced towards the bar, and was almost there when a firm hand clamped onto her shoulder.
‘Whoa there, girlfriend,’ came a gruff voice from behind. Grace stiffened.
She shrugged off the hand and spun around to face her accoster.
‘Just who do you think you are—’ The words died on her lips.
The female police officer was tall and built like a brick you-know-what. She had cropped, white-blonde hair that was at odds with her eyebrows—thick, black slashes above the palest of grey eyes. Grace fought back a giggle and hiccoughed instead.
‘I take it that’s your black BMW SUV out there in the car park?’
‘How did you know that?’
The officer scanned the bar slowly before returning her pale gaze to Grace. ‘I know who belongs to every other vehicle out there.’
‘I hope you weren’t thinking about driving it anytime soon. Here in Miners Ridge we take a dim view of people driving under the influence.’
Grace shook her head, regretting it immediately when her vision started to pulse. She needed a tall glass of water, some painkillers and a long lie down.
‘Is there someone who can take you home?’
‘Um,’ she said, eyes darting around, trying to focus on the dozen or so patrons perched at the bar. She didn’t recognise any of them. Why would she, after all these years? And where the hell was her brother?
The barman was watching, industriously polishing beer glasses. Cute and half her age, he’d kept refilling her wineglass, laughing and flirting with her in encouragement. She’d been flattered. Now she felt foolish.