ShortBookandScribes #BlogTour #Extract from The Drowned Village by Kathleen McGurl @KathMcGurl @HarperCollinsUK
I’m so pleased to be sharing an extract with you today from The Drowned Village by Kath McGurl as part of the blog tour. My thanks to Lily Capewell from Harper Collins for the place on the tour. This book sounds right up my street and I so wish I could have read it for the tour.
Beneath the surface lie forgotten secrets…
A village destroyed
It’s the summer of 1935 and eleven-year-old Stella Walker is preparing to leave her home forever. Forced to evacuate to make way for a new reservoir, the village of Brackendale Green will soon be lost. But before the water has even reached them, a dreadful event threatens to tear Stella’s family apart.
An uncovered secret
Present day, and a fierce summer has dried up the lake and revealed the remnants of the deserted village. Now an old woman, Stella begs her granddaughter Laura to make the journey she can’t. She’s sure the village still holds answers for her but, with only days until the floodwaters start to rise again, Laura is in a race against time to solve the mysteries of Stella’s almost forgotten past.
Haunting and evocative, The Drowned Village reaches across the decades in an unforgettable tale of love, loss and family.
It was the same dream. All these years, always the same dream. It was cold, snowing, and she was wearing only a thin cardigan over a cotton frock. On her feet were flimsy plimsolls. The sky was white, all colour had been sucked out of the countryside, everything was monochrome. There was mud underfoot, squelching, pulling at her shoes, threatening to claim them and never give them back. On either side of her were the walls of the houses – only half height now, reaching to her waist or shoulder at most. All the roofs were gone, doors and window shutters hung off their hinges, everywhere was rubble, the sad remains of a once happy life.
And then came the water. Icy cold, nibbling first at her toes, then sloshing around her ankles, and up to her knees. She was wading through it, struggling onwards, reaching out in front of her with both hands, stretching, leaning, grasping – but always it was just out of reach. No matter how hard she tried, she could not quite touch it, and always the water was rising higher and higher, the cold of it turning her feet and hands to stone.
Ahead, in the distance, was her father’s face. Torn with anguish, saying – no, shouting – something at her. She couldn’t hear his words; they were drowned by the sounds of rushing water, rising tides, a burst dam, a wall of water engulfing everything around her. She knew she had to reach it – that was what he wanted. If only she could get hold of it; but still, it was tantalisingly beyond her reach.
Now the water was up to her chest, her neck, and she was trying to swim but something was pulling her under, into the icy depths, and still she couldn’t reach the thing she had come here for. Her chest was tight, burning with the effort to breathe as the cold engulfed her and panic rose within her.
As always, just as the water washed over her head, filling her lungs and blurring her vision, she awoke, sweating, her heart racing, and her fingers – old and gnarled now, not the smooth youthful hands of her dream – still stretching out to try to touch the battered old tea caddy . . .
Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband and elderly tabby cat. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.
When not writing or working at her full-time job in IT, she likes to go out running. She also adores mountains and is never happier than when striding across the Lake District fells, following a route from a Wainwright guidebook.