A Family Affair REVIEWS

A Family Affair reviews gives you some idea of what the book is about.

The cover of A Family Affair.

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 29th November, 2018.

Readers of Bernard Preston’s previous three books will not be disappointed with his latest work; despite the absence of a chiropractor.

The theme of The Bostonians, the first book in the trilogy, A Family Affair, revolves around some serious modern day issues; but his easy to read style makes for compelling reading. The author’s ability to make his characters engaging as they become entangled in difficult relationships, whilst retaining a light hearted theme, is commendable.

Another page turner from a natural storyteller.

Linda Harris


"A Family Affair tackles some tough subjects without apology.

As the book opens the reader is drawn into a web of deception and betrayal amidst convoluted family dynamics. The story unfolds to reveal dark secrets that have profoundly impacted the lives of the main characters, Santie and Janet.

As the author takes us back in time we gain an understanding of their young lives and the inevitable crossing of their paths. Dramatic events lead to significant life choices for both women and the stage is set for us to want to read on to see how things develop.

Throughout, there is a spiritual thread that explores the issues of faith. Deep, abiding faith is tested by earth-shattering events while questions are raised by wounded, angry people filled with doubt and scorn.

We are left asking ourselves how faith plays out in our own lives."

Ann Bennett


A compelling tale from the beginning. Blew through the story in two days. A story right in line with the latest Freedom, finally now backed by 14 countries and about the same number of USA states. Finally, slowly, we are accepting the right of all people to love without prejudice, not condemning or blackmailing. A story first drafted well ahead of its time.


Dominican Republic.

The author approaches a difficult subject with sensitivity and compassion. I found it a bit difficult to put down, I wanted to read through to the end to see how the story would unfold.



Walloping good read for anyone who wants a fast paced weekend read that's relevant and poignant and stimulates the brain cells without taxing them to death.

Highly recommended. Characters are very real and the issues so relevant you'll not put it down. My only crit would be that the writers voice occasionally peeps over the horizon but not intrusively so, so read it and you'll not regret.


South Africa

Backcover Book I: The Bostonians.

A Family Affair is the heart-warming trilogy about family with a difference. It has two Moms, but no Dad.

Janet has a happy childhood; it is at her Diocesan School for Girls where she first tastes the forbidden fruit. But Santie’s mother dies and the child is sexually abused by her father. Whilst at the Police College a gate slams shut, wiping all memory of her abused childhood from her mind, but leaving her very conflicted.

After studying law, their friendship blossoms whilst doing their articles but Janet is raped by their boss at a beach party. Deciding to keep the child, Klein-Jan becomes the honey in the sandwich that sweetens and cements their relationship; until the toddler is kidnapped by his father.

Darkness ensues and Janet becomes very depressed. Eventually, in desperation their gynaecologist suggests that they have another child. But how do two women conceive a baby?

Book II: Peter’s Children

Enter Peter Thomas; is it possible for a man to be hoodwinked into siring four children and be none the wiser?

Book III: The Return

Concealed in Holland from Interpol by his father, Klein-Jan now aged twenty undertakes a journey to discover his roots.

Set in South Africa, A Family Affair is both a lighthearted and easy read, but also takes an inside look at serious issues; women in love, rape and abortion. AIDS and the profound love of a grandmother also come into the equation; it was from her home that KJ was kidnapped.

It is rather more than a Mills and Boon, I think you will find. Sample a few free chapters of Bernard Preston at the A Family Affair home page from the navigation bar above.

Buy A Family Affair for your Kindle or smartphone. Only 99c


Clearly, despite serious doubts on the part of most straight people, homosexuality is clearly not going to go away.

Will it become like divorce? Only a few decades ago, divorcees were excommunicated, refused re-marriage in the church and now there are divorcees in leading Christians positions?

Useful links

  1. Bernard Preston
  2. A Family Affair
  3. A Family Affair REVIEWS

A puff of white smoke means it's the first married Pope in a thousand years

The trilogy continues. Santie goes to Italy to locate her family, discovering a half brother. Only Georgiou is different; he's a secretly married cardinal. He is elected to the highest office in Christendom.

The young priest is overworking and is sent by his superior on a retreat. Only, giving mass at his best friend's chapel to a young woman he is instantly smitten; and so is she, though both live in denial.

Two years of great pain is mingled with equally consuming joy. It will be some years before Pope is published, but here's a chaser.

Cleo visits a friend

Cleo hurried through the village with a jar of honey in the bag slung over her shoulder to the wood and iron house at the upper end of the village; it was a warm day and the sweat was beginning to prick from her skin when she reached Aria’s home. She had to leap over a trench where a gang of men were laying a brand new blue plastic water pipe. She recognised the young man who lifted his hat with a smile, but didn’t know his name. He was new in the village, drawn by the work on offer at Cleo's fiance's factory. Peering down into the hole she could see why the villagers were always complaining about the water, or rather the lack thereof. The ancient iron pipe had rusted right though in places. There were grunts and shouts, and a few curses, from the men in the trench who hadn’t seen her.


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‘It’s a lucky man who’ll be marrying you in two weeks,’ cried one of the others. ‘Thank him for all the work he’s brought to the village.’ He was dressed in a dirty brown pair of overalls, and long black gumboots covered in mud in the trench.

‘Thank you,’ she replied sombrely. ‘I’ll tell him.’ Just across from the trench lay Aria’s home. The ornate gate, crafted three generations before by Dino’s grandfather gave a little squeak announcing her arrival.

She knocked at the front door, not waiting for a reply, and entered. She found her friend in her studio, peering over a large painting on an easel facing the light streaming in from the hills above the village. With a squeal, Aria flung a cloth across her work.

‘What is it?’ asked Clio.

‘Oh, nothing important. So, who are you today? Cristiana or Cleo? I saw your beau in church.’

‘He’s not my beau,’ retorted Cleo. ‘And I don’t know who I am. That’s why I’ve come to see you. See, I’ve brought the locket back.’

Taking it, Aria flicked the catch open. Nodding she said, ‘It’s a good likeness, is it not? Only he looks thinner. Love sick? Pining?’

‘Oh, Aria, don’t. It’s bad enough having to face Rocco; he’s in a fury.’

‘Come, let’s have coffee and talk. Look, the sky is starting to darken. Have your got one of the glasses for looking at the eclipse?’

Cleo shook her head. ‘It’s not a good omen is it?’

‘Oh, and are you superstitious? Luckily Dino brought home a five litre drum of water; they warned us there would be no water today.’ Opening the little tap, she filled the kettle for cappuccino.

‘No, I’m not really, but peering into other people’s eyes makes you realise there’s another world out there that we don’t see. Taking the locket, she peered long at the tiny miniature. Aria watched as the colours in her friend’s cheeks, and the sparkles in her eyes abruptly faded as Cleo took her head in her hands, the long black curls falling forwards. Her shoulders started to shake and tears dripped from between her fingers and falling onto her lap. Tiny squeals of pain erupted despite her best efforts.

Kneeling in front of her friend, Aria touched her arm. ‘Everything is in God’s hands, Cleo. We have been Brides for years now; you know that. God arranges everything, and works for good for those who love him; even the eclipses. Remember, not a swallow in the church falls that he doesn’t know about.’

‘But why did he bring such pain into my life. I want to ask him, “Why did he bring a priest into our village? A man I could love, but never have to keep?” Did I tell you we met on the forest road yesterday? First I told him I hated him, and then I kissed him like I’ve never kissed any man ever before! I’m so confused, Aria. My sister says you can only love once in your life like that.’

Fingering the locket, she said, ‘It’s so beautiful, Aria. You never told me how you painted it.’ Snapping it closed, she whispered, ‘Here, you’d better keep it now. If Rocco was ever to see this, he’d kill me.’

Placing the locket on a small table next to her chair, Aria stood up and went to the kitchen. Clio wiped her cheeks with a tiny handkerchief, embroidered by her grandmother, and kept neatly folded in her top drawer with a bag of dried thyme and rosemary. She could hear the sounds of the percolator and hot milk being frothed. Soon Aria appeared with a tray.

Pouring the thick, black strong coffee into two tall glasses, Aria added the hot milk and a shake of cocoa and cinnamon, placing them on the table between them. Picking up the locket, she said, ‘I’ve never painted a picture for you before, but I had such a strong feeling about your Georgiou,’ squinting at her friend. ‘I was very lucky to find this old locket with piece of real ivory in it; it’s so slippery and smooth that I had to dot the paint to make it stick. It’s literally built up with millions of tiny little dots; they’re so small you can’t see them with the naked eye. If you make the paint too thick, it just peels off, so you build up layer upon layer until you get the deep colour you want. Normally each one takes months to do, but I worked on it every day so that it would be ready for you in a few weeks.’

‘But how do you see what you’re doing?’

‘I painted it by looking through a special magnifying glass that has a row of LED lights all around the edge on the underside of the magnifying glass.’ Aria passed it to her friend to look at the picture in the locket. ‘Then the light shines down on the ivory, but not up into your eyes.’

‘Your brushes must be very fine.’

‘They are; actually they are made specially for painting miniatures. It’s a dying art, I’m afraid, but there are a few of us who like to keep it alive.’ The two women looked at each other for a moment, and then Aria rose and turned on a small lamp. ‘Look, it’s almost completely dark now. Let’s go out and look. I’ve never seen an eclipse of the sun before.’ Taking it in turns to peer through the darkened glasses they stood in awe staring into the darkened sky. Seeing solar panels on Aria’s roof, she felt a very tiny glow somewhere near her bosom.

‘Yes, we too are pleased to have all this new technology, thanks to Rocco. But is he the man for you, Cleo?’ asked Aria, seeing her friend peering at the roof. The two women stood looking at each other for a moment and then Cleo held out the pot of honey. ‘I had to bring you something sweet, not that you need it. You’re the best friend I ever had, Aria.’

‘What is it,’ she asked, unscrewing the lid and sniffing. ‘Ah, honey. Where did you get it?’

‘I wish I could tell you it was from our own hive, but it’s from Mario, the bee man.’

Aria shrugged her shoulders. ‘Honey; it’s like love. Such sweetness, but lots of stings too.’ Peering again at the sun, fully eclipsed, she said, ‘I feel a darkness here in the pit of my stomach, Cleo, but there’s a ring of light; any minute something bright is going to start glowing in a corner. You must find that brightness, Cleo; you must find it. Seek and you will find.’

Just then baby Dino gave a cry from within the house. Startled, Aria darted inside, leaving Cleo to follow more leisurely. First, she poured half a cup of coffee and then distracted, peered out the window at the men digging in the trench; they were dragging out the old, rotten pipe. Light was again covering the Earth and she dared not peer at the sun. Turning again, she spied the easel, covered by a cloth, facing the window on the opposite side; the one that looked out on the mountain. Making sure Aria was nowhere to be seen, she tip toed over and tentatively pulled back the cloth. With a little cry, she clutched her mouth. It was far from finished, but there was no mistaking Cleo on Rajah, hooves in full gallop, with a look of triumph on her face. With his back to her, riding on the piebald, was another unmistakeable person; a priest in his black frock, the dog-collar clearly evident.

‘You shouldn’t have!’ said Aria from behind her. She passed Cleo the child and, grasping a tube of gold paint, moving with the incredible speed of an accomplished artist, painted a ring, a halo of pure gold around his head. It looked exactly like the annular eclipse they had just witnessed.

‘Thank you, Aria; it’s a sign for sure. I must go and help mother with the dinner. Can I ask you for one more thing?

‘Of course.’

Reaching up to the shelf, she chose her favourite icon of St Nicholas. Will you take him to the church, kiss him, and light a candle for me? Tonight, or early tomorrow?

‘Come, let’s go together. You bring the icon and I’ll carry Dino and we’ll slip into the church as you go past.’

Stepping carefully onto the plank over the trench, the men were putting away their tools for the day, they wended their way down the street at the top of the village, past the new supermarket and on to the church square. Everyone seemed to be outside, excitedly gesticulating at the last vestiges of the eclipse. Aria raised her hand in farewell and she opened the heavy old wooden door to the church; Cleo carried home with her the memory of Georgiou’s head eclipsed with a bright golden halo. What would the morrow hold? Dared she again take the road to the forest where she knew he would be out walking?

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa