Love’s Portrait – A Walking Tour

5. Mr Brown’s

  1. IMG_20200202_124254_resized_20200420_085607165

We could not miss out this next stop. For there is only one place to go for a breakfast hangover cure in the fictional world of Love’s Portrait and that is Mr Brown’s café, inspired by the real-life Mr Brown’s.

An extract from chapter sixteen

Molly held up a defensive hand. “Don’t judge me. When I have a hangover, the only thing that seems to help is a full monty breakfast roll from Mr. Brown’s around the corner. It literally has everything. I figured if I needed one, then you probably did too. Oh, I made an executive decision and went brown sauce and runny yolk. Good morning.”

“Thank God for you.” Georgina meant every word. “I’ll make you a strong coffee to go with it. I’ve already had two. I frankly feel like death warmed up.”

Molly beamed a smile in reply. She took off her hat and her hair fell loose at her shoulders and back. “Yep. I get that. I’m dosed up on paracetamol.” Molly gingerly lowered her sunglasses. “And still everything’s a bit too bright and a bit too loud.”

6. Church of St Mary de Castro, Castle View

  1. IMG_20200202_135109_resized_20200420_090044031

The mood became contemplative when we arrived at our next port of call the graveyard of St Mary de Castro.

Love’s Portrait was conceived from an earlier writing project ‘Women’s Writing in the Midlands 1750-1850’, which explored the work of brave female Abolitionists Elizabeth Heyrick and Susanna Watts. The significant contribution of women to the Abolitionist movement has been largely overshadowed by a patriarchal history. I began to ask myself what happens if your life’s achievements went unrecorded. And then imagine if your love went unacknowledged too, hidden from history. What then? The tragic character of Edith Hewitt was my answer to these questions.

In Love’s Portrait, I described Edith’s gravestone as marking just her name and dates of birth and death, leaving out the meaningful details of her existence. Susanna Watts is buried in St Mary de Castro. I had not at the point of writing seen the grave of Susanna Watts, and there was a sober, chilling sensation as we realised standing in front of Susanna’s grave that it was exactly as I had described Edith’s. A reminder, that the most powerful part of fiction is its truth.

IMG_20200202_134244_resized_20200420_090045240
Susanna Watts is buried in St Mary de Castro, Leicester.

An extract from chapter twenty-one

Georgina turned to Molly and said with a quiet disbelief, “She was only twenty-six. She died so young.”

Molly looked at her with a face shadowed with sadness, the smile that always greeted Georgina and that lit her heart with joy now heartbreakingly absent.

“Yes,” Molly said. “And the inscription on her gravestone is so cruelly brief, isn’t it? I mean, there’s no mention that Edith was a campaigner. No words of affection from her family or any loved one. Nothing. With such omissions and such silence they condemned her to be lost forever.”

Georgina moved to Molly and slipped her hand in hers and said, “She’s found now. You’ve found her.”

They stood silently looking at the grave with their unspoken thoughts, cast against the background rustle of the wind in the surrounding trees, blending in uneasy harmony with the sound of the city.

One thought on “Love’s Portrait – A Walking Tour

  1. Brilliant outing Anna and it all really brought the book more alive than ever. Thank you

Comments are closed.