Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The Elephant Girl by Henriette Gyland - Book Tour

The Elephant Girl

I think I saw you …

It’s been twenty years, and Helen Stephens has come home to stay. And to get revenge on the person who murdered her mother. If only she knew who it was … But nothing is ever black or white, and when she rents a room in a house full of ex-offenders, the events of that fateful day blur even further, leading her to question her resolve and her memory.

Jason Moody, who runs the half-way house, has his own shame. When he uncovers her intent, he begins to suspect that someone close to him could be involved …

A coincidence? Or is there something else going on?

Purchase Links

UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Henriette-Gyland/e/B00AVZQQZW

US - https://www.amazon.com/Henriette-Gyland/e/B00AVZQQZW

This is a scene from the Prologue seen from the viewpoint of the main character aged five years old. Her mother has woken her in the early hours and explained that they need to meet with someone, and here they are sitting in the car near a park waiting for this unnamed person. Her mother was rushed and forgot to give the child her usual medication, and Helen who suffers from epilepsy experiences the kind of tiredness which she knows is the forerunner to an absence seizure.


Helen yawns. She’s feeling sleepy, but it’s not the real sort of sleepy like when it’s bedtime. It’s the kind of sleepy that Mummy says she has to be a good girl and take her medicine for. The doctor calls it a medical condition, and Helen knows the name for it. It’s a long word which rolls off her tongue when she says it.


Plepsy, plopsy, flopsy, she chants silently. Flopsy is the name of her pet rabbit, who lives in a cage in the garden, and who eats carrots and apples and his own poo. She smiles. He sleeps a lot too, even when you hold him, and that’s why she called him Flopsy.

The dog is back. Fighting back the drowsiness, Helen watches it running playfully from tree to tree. She wishes that she didn’t feel so tired, then perhaps she could’ve played in the leaves too instead of sitting in the car, which is boring, boring, boring, but she can’t because they have to meet someone. Who, she asked, but Mummy wouldn’t say.

A little light flashes inside her head, and she blinks and rubs her eyes. This is what happens if she doesn’t take her medicine, she sees lights and colours that aren’t really there, and she worries because she doesn’t think Mummy gave it to her this morning. Mummy was in a strange mood, dressing her roughly without a word, no breakfast and no teeth-brushing. Helen didn’t dare remind her of the medicine.

Mummy’s big shopping bag is lying on the back seat next to Helen’s car seat. It’s a cream cloth bag edged with red ribbon and red carry handles, and it has a picture on the front of an Indian prince riding an elephant. Mummy has a lot of handbags – and lots of nice clothes too – but Helen loves this bag best because it’s embroidered with gold beads and red sequins.

She lifts the top of the bag and peers inside. Perhaps Mummy put the medicine in there. Secretly she hopes not because she doesn’t like taking it. She only really likes Calpol. The epilepsy medicine is a red liquid which tastes horrible, and she has to wash it down with something. Water is best; orange juice just makes it taste even more yucky. But the medicine isn’t in there, and instead the bag is stuffed full of boring-looking papers and computer discs. She sighs and looks out of the window again.

Her gaze falls on a car on the other side of the road. She can’t remember if it was there when she and Mummy got here, but she’s sure she’s seen it before. She looks at it more closely. It’s a small blue car with a dent in the door. She cranes her neck, straining against the seat belt which is attached to a clip on the side of her car seat, but she’s firmly stuck.

A lady is sitting in the blue car, and even though she’s wearing a large coat and a thick scarf around her neck, Helen recognises her. This lady used to be Mummy’s friend, but not anymore. Now she sometimes stands outside the house where they live, and when Helen points her out, Mummy runs out into the street and shouts go away, leave us alone. Helen feels sorry for the lady who looks like she’s lost something precious, but she doesn’t like to say anything. Sometimes Mummy can be a bit scary, a bit like Auntie Letitia, actually. Helen likes Auntie Ruth better, even if she cries a lot when she thinks no one is watching.

Helen lifts her hand and waves, but the lady tugs up the collar of her coat then slides down in her seat as if she wants to sleep, and Helen can only see the top of her head. She considers telling Mummy about it, but Mummy is busy talking on her mobile phone. She’s keeping her voice down, and Helen can’t make out what she’s saying. She knows she’s not allowed to interrupt, and she doesn’t really want Mummy to go chasing after the lady anyway, leaving her alone in the car, so she keeps quiet.

Blue streaks of light blink in her head, and everything around her turns a hazy sort of purple, like smoke. Helen knows what’s happening to her. It’s called fitting, and it means that her head goes funny. She doesn’t like the fitting; before it starts, it makes her tremble all over, and it’s always horrible afterwards. But there’s nothing she can do. Helpless in her car seat she gets that sick blue feeling of being all alone which she knows so well. Terrified, she tries to call out to Mummy, but the words don’t seem to come out of her mouth …


Author Bio –

Originally from Denmark, Henriette Gyland (who also writes as Ella Gyland) has lived in London for many years, surrounded by her family, cats, books and the Scandinavian hygge she tries to create everywhere she goes. As a linguist she loves playing with words and language, and she's addicted to story-telling. She also believes strongly in social responsibility and sustainable living.

Social Media Links –

Website: https://henriettegyland.wordpress.com/

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/EllaGyland

Twitter: @henrigyland

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/henrigylandwrites/


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