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A Prescription for Madness by Linda Fawke - Book Blitz

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A Prescription for Madness

When successful business-owner Kate Shaw realises she is pregnant, after a fling with a previous lover, she has life-changing decisions to make. She needs to be in control of her life. Pregnancy in her fifties was never part of the plan. It becomes her secret.
The risks of having a baby at her age are clear but she struggles with the idea of an abortion. No-one understands her increasingly erratic behaviour as the preoccupation takes over her life.
Her marriage is precarious; the relationship with her former lover uncertain.
Is this the way to madness?

This is a gripping story about dark choices, gnawing discontent and the uncertainties of love.

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A Prescription for Madness - Extract from Chapter 22.

Kate, pregnant at fifty-one, is agonising over whether or not she wants to keep her baby. She believes Jonathan, a previous lover, is the father and not her husband, Neil. Having recently visited her friend, Pauline, with her houseful of grandchildren, and having met Jonathan’s teenage children, plus Louise, the wild daughter of a neighbour, she is assembling her experiences in an attempt to reach a decision…

Kate looked at her Excel spreadsheet. Column one: ‘Reasons for termination’. Column two: ‘Reasons to continue pregnancy’. She felt the reassuring influence of a list; it helped her focus and make decisions. The first column was easy. “Life will continue as normal” was the obvious first point. Well, not exactly. She had thrown out Neil. She changed it to: “Work life will continue as normal”. Next she needed something about her mood. She felt unsettled and reckless. There was a compulsion to cram in as much as possible before the life-changing, imminent event. She debated what to call it and settled on “Restored mental state”.

There were points to do with her feelings towards children. She knew only superficial facts about babies. There was nothing endearing about the bawling and unwell infants she saw in her pharmacies, nothing that made her feel broody or want to hold them. The pleasant sounds she made were a well-rehearsed act. Once a tired and upset mother asked if there was anywhere she could change her baby’s nappy as there had just been an “explosion”. The stock room smelt disgusting for days afterwards.

She could not stand the noise and mess of youngsters – her visit to Pauline proved that. Teenagers tested her patience. They were either wilful and angry like Jonathan’s girls or overly demanding like Louise. Maybe it would be a boy? She could not imagine boys being any easier.

There was the problem of her mother. She would wriggle like a worm into all things infantile. She would pester her with calls and visits, advice and recommendations. There would be tears when Kate ignored her. How much better the distant, unemotional relationship they had maintained for years! The child would be surrounded by elderly women as it grew up. She winced to describe herself like that but knew it would become true. The first column was filling up.

Kate was feeling hot and clammy. Discomfort was sticking to her, down her back and under her arms. She needed to wash away the sweat and her mood. She looked down at her abdomen. Was it starting to expand?  She had maintained her shape with gym visits and careful diet all her adult life – this would ruin everything. At her age, getting her muscle tone back would be a challenge. And how would she find time for exercise with a baby to care for? What about sagging breasts? She involuntarily cupped them with both hands to feel their shape. They were getting larger and were sore. It all went on the list.

Fifty-one. Soon to be fifty-two. Too old in her eyes for pregnancy. Would she survive if the child suffered from a genetic disorder? She thought of the stories about Down’s Syndrome children Neil had told her. How the little ones were amazing, how the parents adored them. Could she see herself being one of those parents? What if there was a more serious genetic abnormality? She prided herself on her ability to manage whatever came her way – staff problems, financial decisions, business matters – but this was outside her world. Did she want to test herself with a disabled or ill baby? “No, no, no,” rang in her head like a sonorous church bell. And what if she ended up on her own? The words “single mother” produced a dull heaviness inside her.

Kate walked around to clear her head. She found herself in the study, now littered with Neil’s material for the exhibition. Bloody man! Always untidy, always taking up more than his share of the space. When he moves out, his mess will go with him. Wonderful!

 She picked up some papers from the floor, cursing, and went to look at the desk. There were several large photographs awaiting mounting. Beautiful ones, his best. They would be his centrepiece. One was of a young girl with her mother. The child had a camera in her hand and was showing it off; lying next to it was a crooked photograph taken by the youngster. They were a pair. She remembered Neil talking about the situation, how the child asked to use the camera and he let her. She wanted to photograph her mummy, a woman engulfed with explosive pride. A wave of animosity passed through Kate. She could not tolerate the smile, the love, the delight on the woman’s face. She could not bear it because it would never be her. Yes, she could look at the infant. She could accept her pleasure in the camera. But not the mother. No! She picked up a black marker pen and obliterated her smile. Satisfaction washed over her. She let out a long breath. Time to return to the list.


Author Bio –

Linda Fawke is an arts person who studied science but always wanted to write. Now retired, she indulges this passion, writing fiction and non-fiction, even occasional poetry, preferably late at night. She has now written two novels, 'A Taste of his own Medicine' and its sequel, 'A Prescription for Madness' using her background in pharmacy as the setting of both. These are easy books to read, suitable for Book Club discussions. ' A Prescription for Madness' is more serious than the first book, dealing with such issues as pregnancy in later life and Down's Syndrome.

She has been a winner of the Daily Telegraph 'Just Back' travel-writing competition and has published in various magazines including 'Mslexia', 'Litro' online, 'Scribble', 'The Oldie', 'Berkshire Life' and 'Living France'. She was a finalist in the 'Hysteria' short story competition.

Linda blogs at where her 'Random Writings' include a range of topics from travel to 'Things that pop into my head'.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @LindaFawke

Facebook: Linda Fawke

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  1. Many thanks for featuring an extract freom my novel on your blog. Really appreciate that.


Please try not to spam posts with the same comments over and over again. Authors like seeing thoughtful comments about their books, not the same old, "I like the cover" or "sounds good" comments. While that is nice, putting some real thought and effort in is appreciated. Thank you.