Alone with Herself is a completed 80,000-word women’s fiction, inspirational novel, set primarily in Wales, about a young woman’s search for meaning and her struggle to balance competing needs for solitude and intimacy.
When Eve’s charismatic partner John accepts a promotion to New York, she decides not to follow him and travels instead to Swansea, on the south-west coast of Wales. She stays with her friend Greta, in a quaint village called the Mumbles, losing herself in long walks on the Gower and the ever-changing nature of Swansea bay. She turns her mind to questions that have puzzled her since childhood. Is there a wall at the end of the universe? Is every person ultimately alone or are we all deeply connected to life itself? And why was it only in solitude that she experiences peace and joy?
However, before she is established in her new-found sense of peace, Greta’s brother Sinclair arrives, bringing excitement and energy into her days. She struggles to resist his charms, as her need for intimacy over-rides her desire for solitude, but she ends up bruised and alone.
Greta, a contented middle-aged woman with a secret of her own, Diane, a pragmatic, reclusive artist and Harvey, a generous-hearted businessman with a second chance at life, all inspire Eve, but it is the liberating power of solitude, which she returns to again and again, that gives her the strength to forge a new direction in life and a glimpse of the happiness she desires.
Alone with Herself actively dispels the notion that happiness can be found in the arms of another human being and instead shows that until we become grounded in our own sense of joy, the arms of another can never provide us with more than just another lonely place to reside.
You can read an extract from the novel below.
Extract from Chapter 2 - Alone with Herself
"Eve wondered how it could possibly be enough, this endless parade of days and weeks, that framed a picture of domestic routines; kitchens, bedrooms and offices, smiles and kisses, falling on distant upturned faces. Moving through life, moving through the days, not realising that this was life, today in the kitchen cooking dinner, today in the bedroom making love, today in the office absorbed in a meeting or racing to meet a deadline. They waited until tomorrow for the intensity, assuming it would arrive, believing in the happiness that always lay glimmering in the distance, seemingly just within their reach. Then Friday arrived and the sense of freedom it brought, reminded them of all they wanted to be. The weekend seemed rich with possibilities, yet Saturday morning would often find them lying in bed, exhausted from the working week, the kitchen needed cleaning and there was washing to hang out to dry, maybe they would go out later. The passion and intensity lay just around the corner, just around the mound of ironing waiting to be done, or the newspaper that was so inviting.
On most days, Eve would find herself strangely hypnotised by the familiar conversations going on around her. Their connecting lines seemed the very fabric of life itself. Yet she knew that something vital was missing. Life was flowing within and around these connecting lines, defying definition.
She saw little children, clinging onto their mothers, tears soothed and small hands held, utterly content in the sense of safety the mother gave. Yet it was an illusion; the mother herself was spinning in a vast ocean of nothingness, there was nothing to hold onto. As a child, Eve had taken one long look at life; seen the vast corridor of the years that had stretched before her; childhood, career, marriage, children, old age, death, and she had known, that it would never be enough. Life could give her only the present moment, which fluttered brightly as a butterfly and died if it was pinned down. There was nothing solid to hold onto, all was ephemeral.
As a child, she had played games in her mind, rushing over vast distances to find the edge of the universe, racing towards the edge, challenging infinity to erect a wall and label it “the end of the universe”. Only there could be no end, her mind was unable to comprehend infinity because even the wall itself would have to go on forever.
She was totally insignificant, and yet she knew with absolute certainty, that she was not, and therein lay the paradox that humanity had wrestled with for millennia, but it was just as real and vital for her to understand today. She wanted to know for herself. How to reconcile the inexplicable vastness of life, the mind-numbing multitudes, with the sense that she was vitally important, that her successes and failures, loves and sorrows, actually mattered? It seemed impossible to answer."