About the book
Spend Christmas with the nurses of St Angelus Hospital.
Christmas is coming, but will the doctors and nurses of St Angelus get a chance to enjoy it?
Sister Emily Haycock and her husband are anxiously counting the days until the signing of final adoption papers for their precious baby Louis. But someone has got it in for them and Emily is about to get caught out in a dangerous lie.
Nurse Victoria Baker is heavily pregnant. But as the snow begins to fall, has she made a big mistake about her dates and put the life of her unborn baby at risk?
And who is the figure obsessively watching St Angelus from the shadows? Or the mystery woman who turns up one dark, windy evening, begging for a room?
In Snow Angels only one thing is certain. Christmas will be anything but peaceful.
‘Who the hell is it?’ he called.
His paying guests each had a key so this must be someone looking for a room. No one knocked on his door for any other reason, unless it was the postman, the milkman or Biddy Kennedy, on her way home from work, and it was too late for any of them. The wind rattled at the windowpanes with such ferocity it felt as though the room itself shook. This was not the weather or the night to be disturbing the routine of Malcolm Coffey, a stickler for everything being done by the book. The only thing he looked forward to, or dreamt about during the day, was his supper – and he often wondered, as he ate, what kind of pie his late wife would have turned out. He had served throughout the war, only to return home to find that he had lost his wife with his newly delivered son in her arms as a result of the bomb that had landed on the maternity hospital during the May Blitz nine months after his leave. He also found himself an orphan too, both his parents having lost their lives by a bomb that hit close to the dockers’ steps only two days later. The regimental major had withheld the second news from the dispatches to his posting for over a week, to give him time to absorb the shock of the first.
Malcolm had been serving in North Africa at the time and all leave was denied. Only his parents had been afforded a funeral due to their bodies being identifiable – a funeral he had not been able to attend, but Biddy Kennedy had. His wife and son lay in a concrete grave on what was once the delivery suite of the maternity hospital, both beyond identification and removal. Today, the hospital rebuilt, life came forth over death.
‘Biddy? Is that you?’ Malcolm called not expecting a reply, reluctant to rise and leave his pie.
‘Malcolm, I promised your mam, I would keep an eye on you,’ Biddy would say when she called in for a cup of tea. Biddy worked as a housekeeper at the St Angelus hospital, a plum job in the school of nursing, working for Sister Emily Horton; and one of the pleasures in Malcolm’s life was to hear all about the antics of the probationer nurses and how they ran Biddy around in circles. Over two thousand bombs had been dropped the week his family died; nearly seven thousand homes had been completely destroyed. Fire had ripped through the dock’s side streets. ‘Think of me as your mam, if you ever need one, I’m here. You aren’t alone, Malcolm,’ Biddy would say.
Malcolm had been at school with her own children and not one of them had remained In Liverpool or even in contact with Biddy. He enjoyed her visits. She had transferred from being his mother’s friend to his – and more than that, much more. Melly had her own opinions about Biddy. ‘That woman mourns her kids,’ she would say. ‘Not one of the buggers bothers to write to her. Still working her socks off and all those kids, not one of them tips up a penny, a crying shame it is. You want to watch out – she might have her eye on this place, if anything happens to you.’
Thanks so much to Vicky in Head of Zeus for including me on this blog tour. I really hope you all enjoyed the extract.
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