This novel, now out print, was written by my wife's father in the 1980s, and published posthumously in 1990 by Wanda Publications (Word and Action- Dorset). ISBN: 0904939 33 2. As a tribute to him, we have scanned it into PDF format where it can be downloaded by clicking here.
"Man hands on misery to man" wrote Philip Larkin: but Edgar Seagroatt's story of one family's life between 1877 and 1921 has a theme that is much more subtle and compassionate than the poet's advice to " Get out as quickly as you can.. and don't have any kids yourself "
Summary: Not all the Victorian values are ones
we would admire today - as Annie Redstone, the hard-pressed heroine of this
novel, knows to her cost.
Neglected by her seafarer husband, who cannot face his role as a father, Annie fights desperate poverty to provide for their children by founding a successful business. Even then her troubles are not over.
For this is Victorian England, where a man has extensive rights over his wife's property, and is not expected to treat her as an equal. So Alfred Redstone sees little wrong in scrounging money from Annie when he has spent all his own on drink and loose women - or in backing his demands with threats and violence.
Annie survives the ordeal; Alfred, his family ties finally severed, faces a lonely old age as a tramp. But what of their son, Edward - has she been too protective? Will his father's reckless streak surface in him under the strains of his own marriage?
There are harsh realities to face in Edgar Seagroatt's novel, but underlying them is a faith in the basic goodness of human beings, when they are given a chance, coupled with a deep understanding of the strengths - and weaknesses - of families in coping with the trials of life.
(The central characters of Alfred & Annie Redstone are based on Edgar's grandparents, George Joseph & Anna Maria Seagroatt.)