Friday, October 23, 2015

P is for Perilous

 An extract from Margaret's book, Perilous Waters

This is one of my very early books. Hero, Devlyn, had planned to teach Lenca to deep-sea dive. But the weather changed overnight, the sea was rough, so he suggested they go for a drive instead.

“Comfortable?” he enquired, and as she nodded, “Where would you like to go? Land’s End? Dartmoor? The choice is yours. Anywhere you like.”

“I don’t really mind,” said Lenca, suddenly nervous. She was not used to him treating her so gently; almost as though he genuinely cared, which was ridiculous.

“Then we’ll try Land’s End. We can always do Dartmoor another day.”

So he had further outings in view? Lenca was not so sure but said nothing. Silence was the wisest course in a case like this.

He drove through the village of Porthoustock – very grey and still on this dismal late August morning – stopping a few miles later in the square at St. Keverne. Lenca looked at him enquiringly. He had hardly spoken during the journey and she wondered whether he was having second thoughts.

“Some of your ancestors are buried in the churchyard here. Would you care to see? Or wait until Daniel’s well enough to bring you?”

“We’ll go now,” said Lenca in sudden interest. It would help build up a clearer picture of the family she had so recently discovered.

She was very conscious of his nearness as together they climbed the steps and when his hand touched hers, simultaneously reaching out to open the iron gate, a tingling sensation ran through her arm which she was at a loss to understand. She put it down to animosity – there was nothing else it could be – yet this morning he was a different person. If only he was like this all the time I might even like him, she mused.

But all thoughts fled as they walked along the path skirting the church. The atmosphere had subtly changed. An all-pervading peace surrounded them. The church stood grey and solemn, its spire reaching up towards the shaded emptiness that was the sky. Huge clumps of hydrangea in varying hues grew close to its walls, and all around them the headstones; some old and some new, some scarcely legible, others startling in their clarity.

Silently Devlyn led her to a far corner. Here Lenca saw the names that before her grandfather’s talk would have meant nothing. She stood for a few moments thinking about the tragedy of the Trevelyn family, until Devlyn caught her fingers. “Come,” he said, “time we were going.”


Today I would probably have written this scene quite differently. It’s not until I look back that I realise how my writing has changed over the years. Subtly and slowly. But that’s life. Nothing stays the same for ever.


  1. Great excerpt, Margaret, with the obvious tension between them, and an excellent description of the graveyard. I'm interested in how you would write it now!

    1. I do have the rights back, Paula. So perhaps one day...

  2. Me, too. I think this read beautifully.

    1. Thanks, Ana. I wonder how I would write it now? Only time will tell.

  3. I still think the writing is lovely.

  4. I liked this scene. I was right there with them because of your descriptions. And I loved the hint of the spark between them.

    But since you teased us, if you ever do rewrite it someday, you're going to need to share the new scene with us so we can compare! :)