A family affair is a heart-warming intimate story of women in love; it's an easy read but the issues raised are profoundly important today. Considerable scratching of the pate is likely.
The mature mind can consider and even flirt with ideas foreign to our understanding; we are not entirely anchored in the opinions formed in childhood.
This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 9th February, 2023.
A heart-warming, intimate trilogy of two women and their children.
Uninvited and unwanted, a profound dream found a fertile niche in my mind which was, and still is, seeking for answers about homosexuality. You probably are too; journey with me.
Whether it is Irving Stone’s epic “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” the saga of Michelangelo, “The Bostonians" by Henry James or even contemporary “Tipping the Velvet” by Sarah Waters, serious writers have not been shy to enter the forbidden domain. Of course Oscar Wilde, one of the most memorable of authors, was convicted and imprisoned for his “Unmanly Manhood” and remains today the epitome of homosexuality.
The target audience A FAMILY AFFAIR is, or at least should be, uppermost in the mind of any author before setting out on his or her book. Who was A Family Affair written for?
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 a trilogy, revolves around some serious modern day issues but his easy to grasp 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.
page-turner from a natural story-teller!
- Linda Harris
And yet it would be a shame to miss out on the delights of this roman fleuve or, extended series of novels; there's a thrill in buying three volumes to read one after the other.
Part one, The Bostonians, in its unedited form is free to read. Because it's full of grammatical errors, I will probably remove it in time.
But the fully-edited version costs only 99 cents. eBook writers look for a huge turnover, with small profit. Help me sell a million copies.
Seriously, if the whole subject of homosexuality is perplexing to you, and you enjoy the early chapters below, then in one minute you could have "The Bostonians" on your smartphone; no more boring queuing at the corner shop, or waiting weeks for your book to arrive.
First download the free Kindle app at Amazon if you are reading on your tablet or smartphone.
"The man who does not read has no advantage over he who cannot read."
- Mark Twain
A FAMILY AFFAIR is my search for meaning in difficult issues; yet it is easy, light-reading.
A Family Affair REVIEWS
For a book only one week on the market, I'm delighted to have these reviews:
Such has been A Family Affair. The subject matter, sexual abuse and lesbianism, were not issues close to my heart; this book was written after a vivid dream whilst searching for answers to a tragic event I once witnessed.
"The writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which he is not always master; an insight that at times strangely wills and works for itself."
- Charlotte Bronte
AT LAST, The Bostonians has been published.
Many thanks to you, the thousands of readers who have
read the free copy of A Family Affair, Book 1, available below and have
been waiting patiently for the rest of the series.
Now all three books are available on your Kindle, smartphone or tablet.
Book I: The Bostonians
Book II: Peter's Children
Book III: The Return
But first read a couple chapters, available a few lines down, for free. Is A Family Affair your cup of tea? Try a few pages; you may just be surprised. Then spend your 99c!
"Go figure," said one reader.
"I could buy Bats in my Belfry, Stones in my Clog and the whole trilogy of A Family Affair (five full length books) for under $9; less than one paperback by a famous author.
I've never heard of this guy Bernard Preston, his books probably suck, but heck it's only 0.99c for each of the "A Family Affair" novels. Is one tome from a famous author better than a sweet deal like that?"
Well I can certainly assure you my books don't suck. They may not be in the league of Jane Austin and Robert Ludlum, but for 0.99c? Have fun! It's worth a gamble.
And if you love AFA, please give it a tweet for a FB showing! Only when you find, long past the midnight hour, that it's a page-turner.
"Just finished reading Peter's Children, very good. Quite racy! Read it all on the kindle app on my phone."
Born into a privileged family, Janet thrived at St Catherine's, a private Diocesan school for girls, where she first savoured the forbidden fruit.
"The characters I have the least in common with are the ones I have the greatest success with. The further a role is from my own experience, the more I try to deepen it."
Santie is our second protagonist. She leads an idyllic childhood with her Italian-born dancer mother and brawny rugby-playing father - until Francisca, her mother, very suddenly dies. Life takes a second terrible turn for the worse as Dad...
Ultimately, against all odds, Santie is elected to the highest court in the land. Many trials and tribulations await her, and a beautiful, tempestuous affair with her best friend. Janet.
"Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It's one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period."
- Nicholas Sparks, author.
"Whilst the last page of the first draft may be the most enjoyable moment in writing, the editing phase which follows hard on its heels is sheer hell! Period! Nevertheless, a very necessary part of the process."
- Bernard Preston.
As a tidbit, to whet your appetite so to speak, the first of the three
books, The Bostonians is available free of charge.
Are you too struggling with the question, is homosexuality wrong?
The Bible makes reference to men who give up natural relations for the unnatural, certainly eluding to homosexuality. Yet, in perhaps the greatest of paradoxes that homosexuality has spawned, the Church, by forbidding priests and nuns since the twelfth century to marry, unknowingly and unwittingly has contributed to the great unnatural within its very bosom.
The issue remains painfully unresolved, both within and without the Catholic Church. Anglicans too, my own denomination, struggle with homosexuality not only amongst the laity but also amongst its ordained bishops.
“All art is a media of questions. It raises questions and gets
people to think. Evangelicals typically want to tell people what to
believe: ‘bumper sticker Christianity’ reduced to a few words. The truth
is that life is about ambiguity. Good fiction accepts the world we live
in and enables us to grapple with it.”
- Nick Page
TESTING THE WATERS
It goes out without saying that before embarking on anything major in life, it's worth stopping and pondering. This is true for any of us, but particularly for the Christian. Is this book from the heart of God, or the seat of the Devil? You, dear reader, must be the judge.
When A Family Affair arrived, uninvited and undesired into my psyche, I confess to being shocked. It was not a subject of my choosing. So, I wrote a synopsis and sent it to four Christian women whose judgement I value and trust, expecting a thumbs down from all four. They come from the same conservative Christian tradition that do I.
All four said: WRITE IT! And so here it is, after nearly ten years of tribulation, A FAMILY AFFAIR. I hope and pray that this story stirs and brings you as much pleasure and discomfort, in equal measure, as I have had in writing it. I promise you no soothing of conscience or easing of spirit. Some of it you will find shocking.
A FAMILY AFFAIR IS a long book, the equivalent of three ordinary novels. Hence the trilogy, at a tenth of the price of a paperback:
BOOK I: The Bostonians
You can read the first online edition for free.
Book II: Peter's Children
Book III: The Return
Book IV: The Revealing
Book V: The Man who would be Pope.
I'm ruminating on the latter two. Santie has suppressed all memories of her incestuous father, Klok Veenstra. All she knows is that she hates him. But why? In a dream she is confronted by her demons.
Whilst on holiday in Italy to discover her roots, Santie discovers an unknown half brother, a cardinal in the Catholic Church. But a man with a difference: he has a wife and three children and is determined to rescue the Church from its horrible affliction. As Pope.
Chapter One, Jan Jansen is deliberately shocking. On the basis of this first chapter, some friends and critics have decided this book is not to their taste. But Jan Jansen is a minor character in the book, though it is he who shapes the future for many people.
His son, Klein Jan, conceived by rape, the lad's mother Janet Twycross, a junior staff member at Jansen, Thomas and Hansen; his blind mother, Ouma Jansen, from whom he kidnaps KJ. Only Santie is left to benefit, as Janet develops a deep mistrust of men.
If you are going to read chapter one, please at least move on to chapter two before putting the book aside. There are so many excellent books, I too read no more than twenty pages before deciding whether to read on. A FAMILY AFFAIR is certainly not everybody's cup of tea but don't stop after page one!
A FEW INTERESTING NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
I attach Book 3 with my revisions. It is a good section of your book. It nicely unfolds the story of Janet and Santie’s growing relationship and explains a lot. What I get is that Santie is emotionally and maybe sexually drawn to Janet but that Janet is blissfully hetero-sexual? is that correct? That she clings to Santie because she cannot trust men. It will be interesting to see if their relationship ever becomes physically intimate, whether Santie reveals her true feelings for Janet, or whether (quiet poignantly I would think)she never does but they live together because on the surface, neither can trust men. Although in Book 1 you talk about Santie being the ‘father’ as though it is an accepted lesbian family thing, but maybe it could be stated just in a practical way in these terms because there is no male father in the family? I guess I will find out how come they end up with 4 kids and who the fathers are and how that all happens. Do they share the birth of these children or does Janet do all the ‘hard labour’? Seems like they ought to share that burden!
I think you do a decent job of the rape scene………….see, here is an example of where you choose not to be explicit and yet everyone knows what happened. So why do you have to talk about menstrual cycles and pimples?
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By the way, on the subject of ‘racy’ topics, you’ve asked and so I respond - teasing about boyfriends would be common. The thing about that part of the conversation is that it would depend on the family dynamics and whether talking about ‘having sex, or sleeping with’ a boyfriend/girlfriend, had been a common topic in a family unashamed about talking about such matters. By June’s blush and a later comment from Trek that he knew she wouldn’t be one to sleep with her boyfriend, one feels that it perhaps would have been not a usual way to talk in front of parents anyway………… it’s all about context and the reader needs to feel that the conversation is along the vein of many, not suddenly different in subject and tone than many previous Sunday breakfast conversations.
Janet and Santie manage to seduce Peter into siring four children, without him being any the wiser. Imagine his confusion when he discovers he has four teenage children!
Book 2 is all about June Twycross, Peter's first child, conceived actually when Janet rapes him use a date-rape drug. It's Janet again who goes out shopping for another child, and comes home with two sons: Trek Twycross and Carlo Veenstra. Figure that one out!
Storm Twycross is the baby, taking after Peter's mother, Sandra Thomas. Imagine the Thomas senior's delight at finding that in fact they have four grandchildren, Storm in particular a carbon copy of her colourful grandmother. A quiverful of them... until they discover the circumstances in which the children were conceived.
You WILL enjoy the Peter's Children, or your money back! All for .99c. A few sample chapters...
Klein-Jan begins to experience misgivings, knowing his father's untruthfulness. He decides to find out about his roots for himself.
Meantime, Santie and Janet's relationship is going through a difficult time...
Bev has an usual profession; blackmail. She's paid exorbitant amounts of money to entice high flying women into a honeytrap - and capturing the affair on film. Will the judge-to-be fall for it?
Santie, on the other hand, is Dean of the law faculty; she is supervising three PhD's for a black president waiting in the wings whilst a succession of South African presidents who follow the iconic Nelson Mandela first falter and then fall. Mbali Mhlongo's son is tragically killed by an articulated truck; his manifesto is massive government spending to create employment by rebuilding the rail services, and getting the heavies off the road.
But what will happen when Janet, Santie's partner, finds out about Bev?
"Christian fiction done well stimulates the imagination, asks questions and illuminates truth – a powerful communication triumvirate."
- Christianity, November 2008
There is a sequel to A Family Affair brewing but it is turning out again to be a very long book. First Santie follows Peter to Ireland, desperate to explain matters; she is devastated the her announcement that Carlo is his son had such a profoundly shocking affect on him. The whole truth is just one chapter from Book IV.
Santie goes to Italy to find her family, and meets her half brother, Cardinal Georgiou.
There is a difference. Georgiou is married with three children, and is elected to the highest office in the Church. When the white smoke appears, Catholics find they have the first married pope in a thousand years. Watch this space for a few snippets.
Enjoy the importance of being ernest. My first visit to Maastricht in the Netherlands was an evening not to be forgotten.
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