Sunday, June 28, 2015

The A-Z of Black Eyed Boy. M is for ... Mrs Bishop.

Mrs Bishop. Everyone who has read Black Eyed Boy has loved this warm-hearted, benevolent character. She is Emily’s neighbour and she arrives in the story quickly.

Here are a couple of Amazon book reviews that mention the sweet old lady:

“A final note must be reserved for Emily's caring and insightful neighbour Mrs Bishop. I loved her so much! What a wonderful, warm periphery character and a reminder to all readers and writers of the importance of a varied cast to add depth to a novel.

“There is also a wonderful array of background characters, my personal fav, being Mrs Bishop.

I have to agree. There is just so much to love about her. I thought about all of the most compassionate and sincere people that I have ever met. Some people have a way of making you feel instantly better and at ease. It might be a gentle touch. It might be a nodding glance of sympathy, or a small but kindly act. Mrs Bishop offers all of these things to Emily; a young girl experiencing some of the most difficult and harrowing moments that life can throw at an individual. She comes to need Mrs Bishop and that’s a hard thing for Emily to even admit to herself as she has always been stubbornly independent.

One of the aspects of Mrs Bishop that I love the most is the language that she uses. She frequently refers to Emily as ‘poppet’, ‘petal’ and ‘dear’. Being from Yorkshire (we tend to use ‘love’ and ‘duck’ here), I find this way of speaking rather endearing and comforting. There is an immediate high level of friendliness and familiarity.

I also admire the way that she is determined to look after Emily, despite the young girl constantly attempting to refuse her care. There is always a cup of tea on the go and some food cooking whether she likes it or not.

There is a lot more to this loveable and comical (she has a wonderful sense of humour) woman than meets the eye though, and Emily knows this. There is a secret and Mrs Bishop knows what it is. This is a huge part of the book. Emily knows that there is something else happening and she won’t stop until she figures out what it is. When the story opens up and Emily discovers the truth, Mrs Bishop has a large and important role to play.

I can promise a lot more of Mrs Bishop in the sequel, Green Eyed Girl. More news on that when I have it.

Here is an excerpt from Black Eyed Boy:

Mrs Bishop walked in with several shopping bags.
“I need to go home,” I said.
“At least have some breakfast first, just so I know you’ve eaten something, even if it’s just a slice of toast.” She was already busy, not taking no for an answer and pouring fruit juice into a tall glass.
“Thank you for last night,” I said.
“You can stay here whenever you like, my lovely. Would you like a nice fried egg?”
I was about to decline, but she cracked the egg and popped it into the frying pan before I had the chance. I smiled to myself and wished that I had taken the time to get to know her sooner. She was very sweet, and so very determined to take care of me. I must admit, the smell of the hot toast and the yolky egg stirred my appetite. I got up and helped her set the table. We ate in silence, but it was a comfortable silence. I watched the breeze outside swaying the treetops and the long grasses of the field.
“That was lovely,” I said, pushing away the now clean plate.
She stroked my long fringe out of my eyes and playfully nipped my cheek.
“You look better already, you’ve got a bit of colour back in your face. What are your plans for today?”

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