CHALFORD writer, Sarah Edghill, is publishing her debut novel next week, and she believes the issues it raises will resonate with many people.
A Thousand Tiny Disappointments tells the story of Martha, whose mother dies unexpectedly, leaving a will in which she bequeaths her house to a stranger.
Martha is left with a huge moral dilemma: should she carry out her mother’s last wishes, or destroy the evidence so no one will ever know?
Sarah, from Brownshill near Chalford, worked as a features journalist for many years, writing for magazines and newspapers.
“I’ve interviewed amazing people, who’ve saved lives, scaled mountains and swum oceans,” she said.
“Writing about their incredible stories taught me a great deal about humanity.
“But I was more intrigued talking to people who would describe themselves as ordinary, but who’d done extraordinary things.
“They weren’t rich or famous and didn’t have a particular talent.
“They were parents who cared for sick children, or siblings who supported each other during a crisis, or friends who went the extra mile for each other.
“The stories they had to tell were often more compelling because of what they’d been through – and how it affected their lives – it could have happened to any of us.”
When Sarah started writing fiction, she drew on what she’d learnt from her hundreds of journalism articles.
“I love writing about people who are being pulled in different directions and juggling too many balls, meaning they sometimes behave badly and make the wrong decisions – decisions which will have consequences.”
Sarah hopes readers will relate to many of the themes tackled by A Thousand Tiny Disappointments – the dynamics of mother/daughter relationships, sibling rivalry, dealing with disability, and – perhaps most divisive of all – inheritance.
This is a subject that’s rarely out of the news – relatives fighting each other for equal shares of an estate, or appalled when a family fortune is donated to charity – and cases about celebrities and their millions, make enticing headlines.
Most recently 007 star, Daniel Craig, kicked up a storm on social media when he announced he found the subject of inheritance ‘distasteful’ and insisted he won’t be leaving the bulk of his fortune to his children.
These feelings were shared by author and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou, who left the bulk of her estate to a charitable foundation, with the rest going to her son and grandson, who ended up suing each other.
George Michael’s former partner made a claim against his will, after initially receiving nothing, while an inheritance dispute involving Prince’s siblings has remained unresolved since his death in 2016.
But there are more inheritance disputes than ever before involving ordinary people.
This is possibly because of rocketing property values – meaning there’s more at stake – and also because of the increasingly complex structure of families, with second marriages creating extended step families with a claim on someone’s money.
But although most disputes are either abandoned or settled before they get to court, they can be devastating for those involved and have a lasting impact on people’s lives.
A Thousand Tiny Disappointments is published on Tuesday, September 21 by Bloodhound books and is available through Amazon as an e-book or paperback.