“Despite large secrets and larger financial woes, one family’s superior love, kindness and understanding pulls them through the hardest of times, from generation to generation. An Inheritance is a poignant heart-warmer of a novella-in-flash and is a useful lesson in the importance of kindness in this life.”
An Inheritance is very readable and very intriguing.
SHORTLISTED for SABOTEUR AWARDS 2020 BEST NOVELLA!
A sample flash from the pamphlet can be found below.
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Profit and Loss
Thomas takes the cameo brooch.
“The mount is gold,” the customer says. “It was a present from my husband on our wedding day.”
Thomas reads the inscription on the back: 14th May 1930. Not even two years ago. “It must be difficult for you to part with this Mrs Baldwin – even temporarily.”
“My John wouldn’t be happy about it, but…”
He nods and searches in the drawer for his eye glass, relieved that he has an excuse to look away. When Mrs Baldwin had first started coming into the shop, she’d been pretty. Now she’s emaciated, her eyes shrunken and her face pale. He sees so many customers with tuberculosis. At least she has something worth pawning – many don’t. Recently, he was tricked into giving a good price for a bundle of clothes, only to find that someone had hidden a cabbage inside to make the parcel heavier. The smell in the storeroom was ghastly. His father would never fall for such a trick, but Thomas, guessing at the customer’s desperation, was almost glad to be deceived.
Thomas picks up the eyeglass, does a quick calculation, offers a loan of five guineas.
Six months after Mrs Baldwin’s death, Thomas removes the brooch from the safe. He has taken care to follow the business’s guidelines to the letter. His father won’t tolerate special treatment or any display of compassion, even for a grieving husband burdened by doctor’s bills and funeral costs. The brooch must go up for sale today and a profit recorded.
He cleans the brooch, attaches a two-guinea price tag to it and places it on a velvet tray in a prominent place in the shop window. By lunchtime, two people have inspected it, but it doesn’t sell. By two pm, despite brisk trade and a lady promising to return within the hour, it still hasn’t sold. By four, concerned that his father will arrive soon to shut up the shop, Thomas moves the brooch out of the window, wraps it in tissue paper and puts it into his breast pocket.
With one eye on the door, he takes five guineas out of his wallet and places the money into the till. It’s more than he can comfortably spare, but he’ll find a use for the brooch one day. Neatly, he records the transaction in the ledger – sale price in one column, profit in the next – just as his father likes it.
“[…] although it is brief and almost deceptively simple, An Inheritance is also artful and profound. It’s easy to read – Simmons’ writing is unfussy, tender and engaging – but there’s a great deal going on under the surface. It’s a beautiful little book which has much to say about time and change and families, and about the treasures to be found in ordinary life.”
Becky Tipper, TSS Publishing, full review here
"Lifetimes pass in a twinkling in this novella-in-flash from Diane Simmons. Eighteen tightly woven short stories sew together moving glimpses into the love, betrayals and reconciliations of four generations over a span of seventy years from 1932 to 2002. [..] this is a celebration of people who take things in their stride."
Judy Darley, SkyLightRain, full review here.
“[…] what we have with An Inheritance is a gripping novella-in-flash that takes us on this journey at breakneck speed, as we flit through seventy years and four generations of family life – with all its love, grittiness, despair, hope, loss, grief and evolution.
“Diane Simmons delivers a story that is heartfelt, desperately hopeful and heartrending – the way Simmons is able to move the reader in so few words just showcases what a master she is of the flash fiction genre […]
“[…] An Inheritance is a fabulously woven collection that moves us to feel many emotions, whether we want to or not, and causes us to reflect or face our own familial differences or circumstances. Powerful and beautiful in all the right ways!”
Ross Jeffery, Storgy Magazine, full review here
“Diane Simmons expertly uses flash fiction pieces to capture the complexities one family experiences over four generations in her novella, An Inheritance (V. Press). Each fictional piece chronologically charts significant moments for the characters as they navigate their lives—both independently and as a family. The collection as a whole is a dramatic family saga that interweaves issues of class, familial obligations and legacy. […]
“Entertaining and powerful, Diane Simmons’ publication, An Inheritance, is a comprehensive collection of flash fiction stories that transcend place and time. […]”
Mikiko Fukuda, Sabotage Reviews, full review here