Last year I began writing a serial fiction piece with The Great War as the backdrop for this story that crosses the generations. Set primarily in the modern day, two cousins research their family history and discover a discrepancy in the records. With an incomplete picture, the pair tries to piece together what really happened 100 years in the past.
After setting the story aside to collaborate with Kevin on Double Seduction, I am ready to pick up the tale where I left off. If you’d like to catch up, the first seven installments may be found here. However, if you just want a quick refresher, here’s a synopsis of the story so far.
Chapter one: Meredith Miles visits Bedford House Cemetery every year to lay flowers at the gravesite of her great-grandfather, Frederick Jennings. For many years, she brought her grandmother Anne, to the site to “visit” the father she never knew. Freddie had been killed in the First Battle of Ypres in April 1914, leaving his young wife at home, widowed and pregnant.
While laying flowers on the grave, Meredith is joined by a man about her age with a sheet of paper in his hands. David Jennings is there to visit, too. In his search to compile his family’s ancestry, he discovers that his great-grandfather, William, had a younger brother. William was also killed in The Great War and his body never recovered. Realizing she has a cousin she never knew about, Meredith offers to spend the afternoon with David, filling in the gaps where she can and showing him the Flanders region where both their ancestors lost their lives.
Chapter two: Meredith receives long delayed mail from David. He had written to attempt a visit and to pass on a family heirloom – a locket with the photographs of their great grandfathers inside. The mail misses her because she has moved from her London apartment to take a teaching position at St. Eanswith College in a small town on England’s Southeast coast. She has left the stress of the city and the university to get a fresh start after a painful breakup. Rob Powell has kept Meredith’s heart on a string. He won’t commit to her, yet he expects her to be there for him. She has finally decided to end it rather than to be constantly disappointed.
Chapter three: David makes plans to spend the Christmas holiday with Meredith in England.
Chapter four: David arrives in England. Meredith picks him up at the airport. She takes him for lunch and a drive along the coast. Then, after an enjoyable day in each other’s company, David and Meredith are surprised when Rob shows up at the house unexpectedly.
Chapter five: Rob is Meredith’s weakness. She allows him into her home and into her bed only to find him gone again before she rises. She tries to hide her sadness and shame from David but eventually she breaks down and he comforts her. David begins to feel very protective of his cousin.
Chapter six: The research begins. David has brought along a binder full of memorabilia passed down to him from his father and grandfather. Meredith has her gran’s scrapbook and photo albums. While poring over all the material, Meredith tells David the whole story about Rob and their breakup. We learn that David has been divorced for seven years. At the end of the chapter, Meredith finds a bit of information that changes everything and starts them on their journey of discovery.
Chapter seven: Meredith has discovered Ada Henry Jennings’ obituary. Ada was William’s wife, David’s great-grandmother, who died in 1918 – a victim of the Spanish flu epidemic. The obituary lists Ada as survived by a daughter, Gladys, as well as a son, Hayden. David has a great aunt – Gladys – and possibly second cousins he never knew about. Meredith and David decide to do further research. We find out that Hayden Jennings was a difficult man and didn’t get along well with his son Thomas, David’s father. We also learn that David’s parents –Thomas and Ellen– were killed in a car accident a few years ago.
So there you have it – the story so far. The new installment will be posted next Friday, May 20. I hope you all enjoy the story as it unfolds. And so you know, Jennings is my family name and Frederick Jennings is the name of my grandfather. The rest of the tale, however, is fiction. Thanks for reading!