We’re delighted to be on tour today sharing the prologue from Wartime at Liberty’s by Fiona Ford, the third story in the Liberty Girls saga.
We’ll be sharing Alice-Jane’s thoughts soon – don’t miss it!
Wartime at Liberty’s by Fiona Ford is published by Arrow and is available to purchase in digital, paperback and audiobook formats.
Flo Canning’s heart is beyond repair following the news that she has been dreading since the outbreak of war. As Flo throws herself into the role of fabric manager at Liberty’s, old and new friends alike help pull her from a whirl of despair.
Between work and home life there’s plenty to keep Flo occupied. Not least new deputy store manager, Henry Masters, whose arrival has consequences that Flo and her workmates could never have foreseen.
But there is more tragedy still to come, and Flo and her friends will need each other more than ever if they are to survive the uncertainty ahead.
The sight of him standing at the top of Hampstead Heath took her breath away. He had always been her past, her present and her promise of tomorrow. But now, as Florence Canning watched her husband Neil’s blue-green eyes glower with anger, she wasn’t sure she recognised the man
standing before her.
‘You have given up singing like I asked you to, haven’t you, Flo?’ he said, his voice so quiet that Flo struggled to hear him.
‘Yes, of course I have,’ she responded. ‘You know that.’
‘So why don’t I believe you?’ he said. ‘Flo, let me ask you one last time: are you still singing?’
Flo gulped as she gazed into his face. Catching the clench of his jaw and the tightness in his neck, she knew that it was time to tell him the truth. She might have had her reasons for lying to him, and for continuing to sing when he had expressly told her not to, but she couldn’t carry it off any longer.
‘Yes, I am still singing,’ she admitted.
Neil’s cheeks pinked with fury. ‘So why lie to me?’ Flo felt a grim sense of dread. She wondered that herself now. Why hadn’t she written to him and come clean? Why hadn’t she put her foot down and told him that music ran through her blood? It always had and it always would. She and her Aunt Aggie, who had brought her up as if she were her own mother, had always sung everywhere together.
Regardless of whether she was singing at school, at church or with her aunt at home, Flo felt a joy like no other when she lost herself in the music. She used to love accompanying her aunt when she went to perform as after-dinner entertainment, and seeing the change that came over Aggie when she sang. When she died a couple of months earlier, Flo had found relief from her overwhelming sadness by taking over Aggie’s old singing evening at the local pub.
‘I couldn’t give it up, Neil,’ she said with searing honesty, ‘it made me feel connected to Aggie. She was never happier than when she was singing for an appreciative audience and that’s how I feel too. It’s been hard for me since she died. You’re gone and now so is she. There’s an ache in my heart that can only be healed when I sing . . .’
Her voice trailed off as Neil shook his head in sadness. He looked past her shoulder and out on to the heath beyond. Flo followed his gaze, trying to understand what he was thinking. He looked as if he had listened to her, taken her words seriously, but she wasn’t sure.
Extracted from Wartime at Liberty’s by Fiona Ford, out in paperback and eBook on 30th April.
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Fiona Ford is the author of the Liberty Girls series, which is set in London during the Second World War. Fiona spent many years as a journalist writing for women’s weekly and monthly magazines. She has written two novels under the pseudonym, Fiona Harrison, as well as two sagas in her own name in the Spark Girls series. Fiona lives in Berkshire with her partner. Twitter @Fionajourno Facebook