Sunday 3 July 2011
Guest Blog: Sylvia Broady - 'The Yearning Heart'
It is a heart breaking story of a young unmarried mother’s quest.
Set in the era of 1940s-1950s, in the East Yorkshire market town of Beverley.
Frances is seduced by her brother-in-law. Pregnant, she is banished to a lonely farm. She gives birth to twins, a boy and a girl, whom her mother heartlessly wrenches from her. And when told her baby daughter has died, Frances is overcome with grief.
After years of loneliness and yearning, Frances sets out, full of determination to be reunited with her son, Michael, and to tell him the truth of his birth. However, he has grown up believing Frances’s sister, Isabel, is his mother. Isabel whisks Michael away to Australia to live with her new husband.
Finally, after much conflict and heart searching, the reunion takes place, but not in the way Frances could have ever imagined.
Fran went to work, leaving her parents in shocked silence. She dare not think what their thoughts might be. She only knew that she had hurt them so terribly. Neither did she want to think about her sister’s husband.
The day seemed endless until at last she was able to return home. She took a deep breath, pushed open the kitchen door and went in. Her parents were there, waiting for her. Fran closed the door and stood erect, frightened, yet ready. For what, she wasn’t certain.
It was her mother who spoke first. ‘You’ll have to marry him and quick.’
Fran stared at her mother thinking: it wasn’t possible to marry her sister’s husband. But had her mother somehow made it possible? The very thought of Victor repulsed her.
‘I won’t’ she blurted definitely. ‘I hate him.’
At these words Agnes flew across the room and, grabbing hold of Fran by the arms, she shook her, screeching, ‘You’ll do as I say, my girl.’
Fran felt her body sway, like branches of a tree caught in a storm, as Agnes’s rage continued.
Suddenly, her father took control. He pulled Agnes off and gently led Fran to a chair. She sank on to it and, burying her face in her hands, she sobbed.
Agnes made to same something, but Will interjected, ‘Let her be, woman.’
At last her sobs ceased, but she kept her hands covering her face. No one spoke. Then Will touched her arm. ‘Cup of tea, luv?’
She felt grateful for her father’s compassion, but how long could it last? As she sipped the hot liquid, Fran glanced at Agnes who was seated across the kitchen table from her. She looked calmer now, but Fran knew she was itching to say something, so she held her gaze and waited.
‘I’ll go and see Bertha Moxon first thing in the morning and tell her what her Charlie has done to my innocent daughter. We’ll see what she has to say.’ Agnes green eyes flashed with the knowledge that no one got the better of her.
Will, nodded in agreement. ‘Now are we going to have owt to eat?’
Fran felt herself go feverishly hot, and then a chill ran through her body. She had to tell them. They thought Charlie was to blame. She forced her body to the edge of the chair and opened her mouth. But know sound came out. She coughed and cleared her throat. ‘It’s not,’ she whispered.
Agnes looked at her sharply. ‘What are you blathering about?’
Fran felt physically sick and her stomach heaved. She made a dash for the outside lavatory. She stayed outside as long as possible; wanting only to crawl into bed and sleep, forget. She heard the back door open, ‘Frances! Get in here, now,’ her mother commanded.
Wearily, Fran pulled herself to her feet and went indoors. She had to tell them before Isabel came home from work. Taking a deep breath, she said. ‘It’s not Charlie.’ Her parents looked at her simultaneously. ‘It’s Victor. He’s the father.’
‘Victor?’ questioned Agnes. Then her eyes filled with realization. ‘Not our Isabel’s Victor?
‘Yes.’ With that, Fran fled from the room.