This is a novel I completed a year ago, which felt like a labour of love. It’s a coming of age story, set in the Caribbean at a time of political awakening and socio-economic change. It tells the story of one girl’s journey to womanhood, at a time of deep social division but also during a time of fledgling recognition, of change being an inevitability, however tumultuous that change may have been viewed to be. It’s a story of becoming, a point of turbulent departure with the past, of seeking out a voice and learning to articulate those new independent opinions in novel, be it uncompromising ways. ‘Becoming Bessy’ is also however a story of love and hope in a love that, despite being sorely tested, endures to the end.
You can check-out ‘Becoming Bessy’ on Amazon. It’s available in paperback and eBook format, and the blurb and links are below … but I hope you’ll first enjoy this sample Sunday excerpt.
Peace & Love XX
Excerpt from ‘Becoming Bessy’:
“Why yuh father call yuh ‘Cudjoe’ fuh?” Vern asked him.
They’d just made love a second time, and were dripping with sweat, still lying naked in bed, recovering, with just a sheet draped at the waist.
“After ‘Captain Cudjo’, the most famous Maroon leader who
ever lived,” George replied, with a proud glint in his eye. “Muh father admired dem Maroons up in Jamaica, livin’ outside dee system. A law unto themselves. Free. Cudjo resisted dem British fuh years and years, you know? Carved out a free community of he own up dey in dem mountains.” George’s eyes fell to the dip in-between Vern’s breasts as he spoke, trailing a finger to illustrate his words, watching her nipples pebble tight in response as he stroked from valley to peak.
George loved to tell her things about his father.
His father had been a fisherman by trade, the only livelihood that suited him. He was ‘born free’ he used to tell George, inhabiting a world outside of the white man. At least Vern knew where George got his defiant streak from. The man was stubborn about many things.
Vern shifted up to get out of bed. No matter how much she wanted to, she couldn’t get into this any further. They’d already talked about everything under the sun, and time had been slipping away.
“I goin’ see yuh.”
“Hey, where yuh goin’?”
“Home. I got work to do,” she said, not meeting his gaze. She knew he’d succeeded in switching back on her fire.
“You gonna bake muh some sweetbread dis afternoon?” he teased. He wasn’t through with her yet. He had much he wanted to tell. So many plans for them. So many seeds that still needed planting. So much time he wanted to spend watching those seeds grow big and strong like the giant Baobab tree down in town.
Vern sucked her teeth, reaching for her camisole. “You like nuff sport nuh?”
“From you, yes ma’am!” he said, tugging gently on her arm and pulling her back down to join him, until she was cradled once more in his arms, flesh to flesh. He loved Vern. He loved her clear mind, her frisky nature, her body, the sweet loving they shared together, and … he especially loved her food. He drew his calm from watching her bake. Her movements around the kitchen aroused him just as much as the smell of her fresh bread did.
Vern relented, feeling his mouth kiss her temple, his nose inhaling the strands of her hair.
‘Too damn much, is what this man is … too damn much.’ she mused. (‘Becoming Bessy’ © 2018 L. S. Bergman)
There is a thin veil’, that’s what Mama used to say,
‘like the rarest of silk, separating the seen from the unseen,
the living from the dead, us from our ancestors.’
And, no matter what form this veil takes, it is there all the same, like mist on a lake at dawn or the wafting of holy smoke in dem people’s church.
All you need do is hold on to it,
and get to turnin’ some good outta all that bad.
This story is testimony to that kind of faith.
A story of becoming.
One woman’s journey from the edges of Empire to the mother country and back again.
A story of struggle, of loss, of nation-building and ultimately
… a story of redemptive love.
“Who would’ve thought it would end this way?
Mama’s voice whispered in my head.”
“Don’t forget to write it down, Bessy.
Less people forget.
So dat long after we dead and gone,
passed to dat other side,
dis story gonna take on wings of its own … and fly.”
Set at the end of the nineteenth century, in the fictional island of Castells in the West Indies,
‘Becoming Bessy’ is a post-emancipation diasporic story of a girl’s journey to womanhood
at a time of Empire and early nation-building.
Available in eBook and Paperback: