By Alison Boulton
Copyright Alison Boulton 2011. All rights reserved.
Published by Alison Boulton at Smashwords
For Dad, with love.
Thanks to Shelley, Vicky, Esther, Suzanne, Liz and Eve of the Alès-en-Cevennes book group for their insightful comments and for encouraging me to go ahead with the publication of Tom’s Daughters. To Mark Gallant for his invaluable editing of dates and numbers which immeasurably improved the final version. To Rob Wheatley for offering to wade through the small print and get the book onto the shelves (albeit electronic ones). And to my husband Chris Burns for bringing me cups of coffee and, above all, giving me the time to write.
Cynthia sat in her sunny kitchen cradling a mug of coffee. The sound of a woodpecker drumming on the trunk of the apple tree drifted in through an open window and with it the persistent, low drone of the M40 from the other side of the hill. She was oblivious to the noise; her head was bent over a sheet of thick writing paper embossed with the name and address of a partnership of Suffolk solicitors. She was intent, not so much on reading the letter, which she had already done several times, as in digesting its contents. She sipped her drink and her ash-blond hair, cut in a razor-sharp bob and carefully highlighted to bolster its faded natural colour, fell forwards, obscuring her view of the page. With an automatic gesture she tucked it behind her ears.