A bite-sized extract from Defining Moments, Tessa Barrie’s first crack at writing a novel.  

Defining Moments is a bittersweet coming of (middle) age story about Baby Boomer, Lisa Grant, ex-columnist for Focal Point magazine, who struggles to sustain a long-term relationship because of the fallout from her dysfunctional childhood.  Broke and alone, her fortieth birthday looming, she faces up to the ghosts from her past, confronts the negative emotional hold her narcissist mother has over her and digs herself out of her self-dug rut.  

Defining Moment 2 – Elizabeth

 “I was among the last 400 girls arriving at Buckingham Palace to make our formal curtseys to the Queen.”

 Fiona MacCarthy

 September 1957

The Cambridge Buffet Express to King’s Cross was waiting to depart Littleport Station; impatiently puffing out a column of smoke and a whistle blew as Elizabeth Campbell stepped on to the platform. Her fingers trembled inside her leather gloves and she felt a little lightheaded as her heart fluttered underneath the bodice of her circle dress.

She bent her head, to place her smooth cheek against the dry, wrinkled jowls of her Great-Aunt Sarah. The first and last time they made physical contact.  Elizabeth snatched her head away; she hated the woman with a vengeance.  The feeling was mutual.

‘Go to the city and find yourself a husband, Elizabeth dear, and one with some money. The last thing any woman wants in this life is a beastly job and The Debutantes’ House is the very best place to mould you into marriageable material.’

Stepping aboard the First Class carriage, Elizabeth turned to wave goodbye to her aunt, but she had already left the platform.  A broad smile spread across her face and the words good riddance, you old battle-axe, I’m finally getting away from you, escaped her lips.