My Radwinter series follow the lives of Thomas Radwinter and his family. In the latest novel his life is very settled despite having an unexpectedly large, but very happy family. In the course of the five books his world has changed beyond what he could have ever imagined, and he has changed too. In the third of the novels, ‘Raddy and Syl’ he begins to explore and investigate his own family – out of interest, but also to come to terms with the past. He had a terrible childhood, chaotic and frightening, but he has emerged strong and with a supportive wife and his ‘boys’ – there were three of them, Thomas the youngest, John, Paul and Marcus the eldest.
Now in ‘Raddy and Syl’ he finds the truth about the destructive relationship which caused him and his boys to have such a terrible childhood.
Here, Thomas is looking at a picture of Raddy – Edward Radwinter, and it’s the first time he has ever seen a photo of him:
I got out the photos that Marcus gave me ages ago. I’d put them in separate envelopes, and feeling nervous I got out the envelope on which I’d written E.M.R. and shook out the pictures in it.
There was a picture of Raddy looking as if he was in his late teens. I was astonished to see that in this picture he looked so like Paul’s eldest boy Django… he could have been his twin. Raddy here had an open smiling face, very dark hair, a handsome young man, stunning really… all the Radwinters are good-looking… I don’t look like them, chubby and gingery with hazel grey eyes.
I turned it over and looked again at the back.
‘Our Edward, 18 today, 1949’… it was sweet… it was loving… It must have been his mother Helen who‘d written it. I remember ages ago, Marcus saying something about him ’he wasn’t a bad man’… Did I think he was a bad man? What did I think of him? This was hard for me… very hard… I was having to go back to my earliest memories, memories I’d buried.
I can’t say I hated him, or didn’t like him, I just had a sense of fear, not of him, but of the things that happened… I didn’t hate him, but I didn’t love him either… I didn’t really feel anything…
I wondered if my Radwinter cousins had any photos. Due to the upheavals in our lives we four boys had very little of anything, very few souvenirs of our parents in any way.
I looked again at young Raddy… and I think I might have liked him if I’d known him then. He was leaning against a wall by a doorway, hands in the pockets of his baggy trousers, no doubt fashionable, a white shirt open at the neck with the sleeves rolled up… I squinted at the photo, then went through to the chilly front room and scanned the picture.
Back in the warmer back room I looked at the scan and enlarged it. He wasn’t wearing a belt but had a tie knotted round his waist to keep his trousers up! I laughed out loud and suddenly I had the strangest sensation… I can’t actually think of how to describe it… a sort of loosening of the anxieties that troubled me.
Something went wrong for Raddy, something went very wrong… he ended up in prison for driving a getaway car in an armed robbery…
I looked at this young man… what had happened to him? What had changed him?
If you are intrigued and would like to find out what happened to Raddy, and to his wife Syl, and to Thomas and his brothers, then here is a link to my book ‘Raddy and Syl’:
… and here is a link to the Radwinter set:
…and the blurb:
Thomas Radwinter continues his journey into his ancestor’s history; he has followed his paternal line of the Radwinters, “and what an interesting journey that was. I mean journey for me in a non-literal way, but it was an interesting journey for the Radwinters, literally”.
He traced his maternal ancestry, the Magicks, “I followed that side of our family… and it led me to some very dark places I can tell you”.
Now he has to find the history of those closest to him, “in my Radwinter story I found some amazing truths about myself. My childhood was difficult to say the least, and when I started to follow the Magick story, I had to begin to face my past, and confront some of my fears and nightmares. To finish my story I have to look at Sylvia Magick and her husband Edward Radwinter, the people who brought me up… sort of… I think of them now as Syl and Raddy, because it’s easier and less painful.”
During his search Thomas also seeks a woman who vanished seemingly into thin air from a car stopped at a road junction, and he tries to solve the mystery of Badruddin, the Moroccan an elderly female client brought back from a cruise…
Thomas little thinks that he may be risking his life to find these different truths.