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  • Writer's pictureFran Clark

Holding Paradise - 1st Chapter Reveal

Holding Paradise on a tablet plus candle light

I'm very excited to give you a a first look at Chapter 1 of Holding Paradise which will be published on Tuesday 27th February 2024.

This is a second edition of Holding Paradise which was originally published in 2014. Since then it's gone through rewrites, edits and updates that I hope makes for a far better version of the book.

I really hope you like the new version!

Holding Paradise by Fran Clark

Chapter 1

In every corner of the house there is a memory of Luke and Eva. When they left, I began to suffocate. I can’t eat, sleep or think straight without them. I really have no choice but to go. I place my toiletries bag onto my folded clothes, zip up the suitcase and I’m ready. The phone rings and breaks my train of thought. Only one person could be calling me this early.

My sister’s situation is as heart-breaking as mine and I feel guilty about not being here for her. I cross the room, pick up the phone and Maddy sounds furious.

‘You said you were going to call.’

I know Maddy and I’m really sorry. It’s just that something came up.’ I know I sound pathetic.

What does that mean?’

‘It means I won’t be around for a while.’

‘But Angelica, I need you.’

I won’t be gone long.’

Gone where exactly?’

‘To see Mum.’


‘Yes, I know. I can’t talk about it now Mads. I have to go.’

There’s silence on the other end. I’ve just added my sister to the list of people I’ve let down. We end the call with mumbled goodbyes and I pick up my suitcase. I make a silent promise that Maddy will be the first person I see when I return to London. I gently close the bedroom door and head downstairs to wait for the taxi.

‘You’re doing the right thing, love. Flying off on a day like this. Not getting any better according to the forecast.’

I barely acknowledge the cab driver. I just sit in the back seat as he puts my case in the boot, slams the door and we drive off.

The plane accelerates along the runway. I close my eyes, take a deep breath and start counting backwards from ten. In ten seconds we’ll be airborne, in a minute the knots in my stomach will ease, and in eight hours I’ll be with Mum.

I stare out of the window. Dank, miserable London, is far behind me now and the next twenty minutes are a blur.

‘Another cup of tea?’ The flight attendant looks at me with pity.

I’ve managed to secure a window seat and I’ve got the row to myself, but it’s hard to settle. Images of that night are still so vivid. I remember that just before I cried myself to sleep I had a strong feeling that Mum would be the one to help me find a way forward, help me to piece my life back together, my marriage, my family, my business. Everything.

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