As Jaques’s mother clings to life, he and his brother Toby wait for the inevitable.
‘Not long now,’ the Doctor says grimly.
As they deal with all the business of death, Jaques reflects on his relationship with the mother he loved.
She was fun, amusing, witty – she knew how to be happy.
She was a good companion, and she was his friend.
But as the family come to terms with their grief, they discover secrets from the past that threaten to change everything.
Can the family manage to salvage Christina’s memory and the family ties that hold them together?
And is everyone in the family being honest?
Christina Randall’s sudden death shatters her family. As they react in their various and sometimes shocking ways Jaques, her eldest son, an actor and narrator of the book, finds that his own grief is enough without having to take her place as the person everyone confides in and trusts to fix their troubles.
To distract himself, Jaques helps an Australian historian who is researching the 1967 disappearance of one of his mother’s childhood pen-friends. As the action moves from England to South Australia and back Jaques discovers a new love and the long shadows of old secrets. He has to keep family ties intact, but not everyone is being honest. Is there more than one mystery? And who is in danger?
With humour and unforgettable characters, Meredith Whitford uses her experiences as an adopted child, a writer, a publisher and a synaesthete to weave a heartfelt, gripping novel of the many different kinds of love.
I am thrilled to have Meredith Whitford as the guest on my blog today talking about the locations of this compelling story.
Missing Christina: Meredith Whitford
Missing Christina starts in New York City, with the narrator, Jaques Randall, hurrying to his mother’s deathbed. Why New York? Because it fitted the story, and I have fond memories of my two visits there. By chance, I was there on 8 December, the anniversary of John Lennon’s death, and went to Strawberry Fields, and passed the Dakota. Into the book that went. (Despite one early reader asking who John Lennon was.)
Later, the narrator goes home to England, and for a while the novel is almost a comedy of manners as his family tries to cope with his mother’s death. Why England? Because my characters insisted. And no, I’ve never seen Downton Abbey. (Another early reader’s question.) Later the plot widens out and Jaques gets involved in helping an Australian historian with the mystery of a girl his mother used to know.
Now the action moves to South Australia, and in fact to Glenelg, the seaside suburb where I live and which is the oldest part of the State. It may always be summer in Home and Away, but my poor English narrator arrives here in winter, three degrees Celsius, fog and rain. (Much like today.) And here in Adelaide, Jaques finds… well, it’s in the novel.
But he does also pay a short visit across St Vincent’s Gulf to Port Lincoln. Tuna town. Again, why not Port Lincoln? A small part of the plot required it.
And then it’s back to England, where the mysteries that pervade the story resolve, and Jaques… well, no spoilers, you’ll have to read the book.
Meredith Whitford, a child of adoption herself, gives a heart-breaking insight into the psychological harm the issue of adoption can inflict. Meredith has published two successful historical novels, Treason and Shakespeare’s Will, and in 2014 a biography, Churchill’s Rebels: Jessica Mitford and Esmond Romilly. She is an editor and manuscript assessor, director of Between Us Manuscript Assessment Service. She lives in South Australia and has a BA in English, History, and Classics from the University of Adelaide, and a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Flinders University.
My thanks go to Meredith Whitford for this terrific post about her heartfelt book #MissingChristina I do hope you take the opportunity to read – and enjoy – it.
Also, thanks to Kelly at #LoveBooksgrouptours for inviting me on board this wonderful Blog Tour and, with Endeavour Media, providing an eBook of Missing Christina. I have not received any payment in relation to my participation in this Blog Tour nor any future review that may appear on my blog.
Would you like to read more about Missing Christina by Meredith Whitford? Then take a journey around the locations on the #BlogTour……
Missing Christina is available in paperback and as an e-book from online and selected physical bookstores.
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