12 May 2019

A Long Shadow by Caroline Kington Book Spotlight and Giveaway! @carolinekington @raresources

A Long Shadow

When farmer Dan Maddicott is found shot dead in one of his fields, he leaves behind a young family and a farm deep in debt. Although the coroner records accidental death, village rumours suggest he has taken his own life so that the insurance payout can save his family from ruin.

Dan’s wife, Kate, refuses to believe the gossip and is determined to prove to herself, and her children, that his death was an accident. But could it have been murder? Kate discovers a set of old diaries containing secrets that may reveal how Dan really died.
Set against the backdrop of the farming crisis of the turn of the millennium, Caroline Kington’s absorbing family drama also tells the secret history of another resident of the farm, decades before, whose tragic tale will come to have major repercussions in the present day.

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Readers can order the book from the Lightning Books website at 50% off (with free UK p&p) if you enter this code at checkout – BLOGTOURSHAD

Author Bio  

Caroline Kington spent most of her working life in theatre and television, as a director, producer and founder of the fringe theatre company Antidote Theatre.  

Since the death of her husband Miles Kington, the columnist and broadcaster, she has posthumously published three of his books: a humorous memoir of his illness, called How Shall I Tell the Dog?; a collection of his columns and other writings, The Best By Miles; and a collection of his celebrated ‘Franglais’ columns that had not appeared in book form before, Le Bumper Book of Franglais. 

In her own right, she is the author of the Summerstoke trilogy of rural comedies. She insists that no character in the series is based on anybody from the small village near Bath where she has lived for many years. Nobody believes her. 

Her novel A Long Shadow had its origins in a feature she made for Channel 4 News at the turn of this century about the pressures on farmers as a result of BSE and foot-and-mouth disease.

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A Long Shadow is a multi-layered saga, set against the backdrop of the English countryside. Watersmeet, a prosperous West Country farm, belongs to the Maddicott family.

At the wedding of his cousin, Mary, in 1990, Dan Maddicott meets Kate. They marry and have two children, but their happiness and prosperity are compromised by the struggles of those close to them, and then by the arrival of BSE and foot-and-mouth disease.

Then Dan is found dead. Was it suicide? All the circumstances point to that conclusion. Kate faces two seemingly impossible tasks: how to prove it was an accident and how, when faced with many obstacles and prejudices, to take control of the farm herself.

The past casts a long shadow over the Maddicotts and a series of potentially fatal incidents occur, which appear to target Kate, for no obvious reason.

 There are many inter-weaving threads to this haunting story, spanning a period of fifty years and which finally pull together to complete the conundrum.

Kate 2001
Everyone had gone, the inquest and verdict having been exhaustively dissected. Kate Maddicott sat alone at her kitchen table, her arms resting on the scrubbed wood, her hands cradling the mug of tea her mother had pressed on her before she had, oh so tactfully, oh so thoughtfully, slipped out to head off the children. Tactful. Thoughtful.

Rattling around her brain, faster and faster, like stones in an empty vessel, the words acquired a greater and greater resonance. Everyone was being so tactful, so thoughtful. Even Ted, even Ted. Direct, plain-speaking Ted… from the very first moment he’d brought her the news, he… everyone… groped for the right words.

Antiseptic, soothing: the right words. Words that wouldn’t cause too much collateral damage, but words that hurt, hurt so badly, hurt without ending - impossible to be otherwise. The right thing to say… Nothing was right. Tactful, thoughtful – at best, at best, oh… just so inadequate… A tune came floating from nowhere –

“So ta-ctful, so thought-ful dum dum…. So ta-a-actful are they-ey to–oo-oo meee.” She stopped abruptly. What was she doing? What was she thinking? What was she feeling? ‘Nothing! ‘ She shouted aloud to the empty kitchen. ‘I’m feeling …. nothing. Dan’s dead and I’m feeling nothing. Nothing! I‘ve no feeling left. I’m dead, too.’

The electric clock ticked on quietly, unhurriedly; the Aga pop-popped and gurgled deep in its belly, as it always did; and the walls, that long ago she and Dan had painted a soft yellow, glowed like a slice of lemon meringue pie in the late afternoon sun.

Quietly, inexorably, the warm, welcoming kitchen had an effect on her. It impinged on the numbness that had gripped her; filled the empty vessels of her body and her mind with what felt like cold, grey clay, banishing all feeling. She put her head on her arms and wept. At first the grieving was a gut-wrenching animal sorrow, without shape or thought, but as she continued to weep, like fingers tracing over fresh wounds, she relived the agonies of the last few weeks. Images, graphic and painful in their detail, painted her darkness. Ted’s face, agonised, his mouth forming and re-forming, trying to frame words that didn’t want to be articulated...

 ‘Girlie, I don’t know how to tell you this…it’s Dan. He’s dead. It was an accident. It must have been…’ What had she said? She couldn’t remember what she’d said. She had walked across the farmyard to greet Ted with some trivial quip about a date he’d had the night before. It was a beautiful morning and the seductive murmurings of the collar doves filled the air. At the sight of his face, everything froze.

Sound stopped, senses stopped, the colour of the world bleached away. ‘It was an accident, it must have been.’ Dr Johnson, a little while later as he sat with her at the kitchen table, his fingers nervelessly pulling at the cap of his pen, trying to keep his distress under wraps. He had been present at Dan’s birth and then helped Kate give birth to Ben and to Rosie.

‘It was an accident. Daddy’s had a terrible accident.’ She couldn’t stop the awful hurt. She couldn’t kiss this pain away. At eight and six they were old enough to sense the enormity of their loss but not know how to deal with it.

In Kate’s dreams, Ben’s stricken look jostled alongside Dan’s mutilated and bloodied face. They hadn’t let her see the body. She had rushed with Ted to the edge of Sparrow Woods where they had found him, but an ambulance and a police car were already there and at the insistence of someone, she couldn’t remember who any more, she was led away and Ted went with Dan, to formally identify him, they said.

How had it happened? How? Why? ‘Why?’ Always she came back to the same point. If it was an accident, how did it happen? And if it wasn’t, why should Dan do such a thing? Why?

Giveaway to Win 5 x PB copies of A Long Shadow (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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