Defining Moments is a 93,000 word bittersweet coming of (middle) age story of Baby Boomer, Lisa Grant. Despite having forged a successful journalistic career, she still bears the scars of her dysfunctional childhood, in Lisa case, the fear of falling in love. As her fortieth birthday looms, the once ardent feminist is teetering towards a mid-life crisis. Broke and predictably alone, she is not sure how liberated she wants to be anymore.
THE DEFINING MOMENTS IN THE LIFE OF LISA GRANT
Born in 1959, gums clamped around a silver spoon, she learns from a very early age that money doesn’t buy the most important thing in life… love. Growing up as an only child in an affluent household in an era without mobile phones, social media, and grossly mismatched parents.
Her narcissist and mostly absent mother, Elizabeth, with an ego the size of Belgravia, harbours a dark secret from her past. When Lisa is six, Elizabeth divorces doting dad, Fergus, after finding out about his love affair with fellow polo player, Thomas. Elizabeth remarries a much older American, Arthur Goldsworthy for the size of his bank account and Lisa’sfaith in adults is restored, as Arthur becomes a strong influence in her life.
At seventeen, Lisa tells her mother where she can stuff her out-dated idea of sending her to finishing school to be moulded into marriageable material and marrying for money.
At eighteen, she discovers that Elizabeth has lied to her, for twelve years, about Fergus not wanting anything to do with her. She attempts to sever all ties with Elizabeth, rekindling her relationship with her father before forging ahead with her career.
At twenty-two, she says “No,” to Jack Wilde, the only person she ever allowed herself to love. Why didn’t she tell him that loving someone scared her shitless, as did marriage? She should have explained what her problem was, then asked him to rephrase his question so they could have drifted off into the sunset together as soul mates for life.
At thirty-seven, she makes another irrational decision, giving up her high-flying career after her mother accidentally burnt down the family home.
Terrified of morphing into a grumpy, lonely old woman, she makes plans to turn her life around, starting with a trip down therapy lane, as she finishes writing the novel she started in her twenties.
They Always Look at the Mother First is a spoof about her life, loosely described as fiction. With the maturity of a quadragenarian, she eyeballs the ghosts from her past, analyzing her life from her birth. After years’ worth of lies, deceit and Elizabeth’s ultimate betrayal, she has tried to make herself less available mother, but still can’t cut the cord.
Disillusioned with life at forty, she makes the decision to leave the UK and go in search of a new life in The Algarve to work at her father’s vineyard. After her car breaks down in Portsmouth, she bumps into an unreliable old flame, Rory, who provides a welcome distraction as they take their time driving through Spain and Portugal together.
Settling into uncertain co-habiting bliss, with Rory, she is caught unawares when Jack arrives unannounced and she realizes she is still in love with him.
After watching the Millennium sunrise with Jack, her life is opening up to new beginnings but fate intervenes. She is devastated to learn that Arthur has died and returns to the UK.
Elizabeth incensed to learn that Arthur has made Lisa his sole benefactor and despite two potential soul mates having reappeared on her horizon, she knows from past experience that money won’t buy her love.
Letting heart rule her head, she donates her inherited fortune to deserving causes before finding her happily ever after in Portugal with soul mate, Jack. Having found happiness in her own life, she harnesses her journalistic skills to uncover her mother’s secret.
Elizabeth’s father was the only son of a duke and her mother the gamekeeper’s daughter. Her parents, very much in love, married in secret. Shortly after Elizabeth was born, both her parents were killed in a tragic accident. The Duke wanted nothing to do with Elizabeth and she was raised by a series of nannies and governesses in his spinster sister’s opulent, but loveless, household.
Scarred by her own experience, Elizabeth allowed history to repeat itself when she denied her own daughter the most important of all human needs… love. Lisa realises she can never sever their umbilical tie and is hopeful her mother can rid herself from the shackles of her loveless childhood and open her heart to the love that has been there all along, just as she has done.