Gratitude – Christopher Beck
Published in June — pre-order your copies now
At 44, New York divorcee, Mel, is not ready to give up on God or the possibility of motherhood. Between running an actors’ agency in Hammersmith and rehearsing her role in a rock musical, she agrees to take care of her stepdaughter, Jess’s challenging four-year-old son, Billy, two afternoons a week. Writing: Playing Billy’s Mom on a strip of paper to place in her Gratitude jar, she prays that her good deed will have a pay off: her own fertility.
Meanwhile, prepped with hormone tablets and injection at the ready, she awaits the return of charismatic Royce, who has been filming in Hollywood. But all is not well with Royce. A strange incident on Venice Beach after dark has shifted his world. Can he really be cursed? Desperate, Mel reaches out to her friend, Anto. He’s gay, but wants to be a parent. Thwarted again, will surrogacy be the answer? Will Mel be locked into taking on more responsibility for Billy as Jess spirals into depression following the loss of her father? Or can Mel make a life with the new man in her life, refugee Hassan, suffering from PTSD and raising his disabled eight-year-old son alone?
Or will life take an unexpected turn? As Mel’s faith moves towards Buddhism under Anto’s influence and a friend steps in to help with a problem deeper than infertility that is gripping her life, will she be able to answer the call when an unlooked for opportunity presents itself?
A deeply empathic, humane debut, Gratitude asks how we live now and how we make meaning in lives that rarely work to plan.
Christopher Beck realised a long-held ambition to write when, owing to health problems, he was forced to give up a career as a medical practitioner. In 2007 he won a regional play writing competition with The Lesson and had it performed at The Little Theatre, Wells. In 2010 he obtained an MA in Creative Writing at Southampton University. He had two short plays performed at the café, Nuffield Theatre, Southampton. He self-published a novel The Summertime Blues in 2015. Throughout his writing career there has been a steady output of poetry, some of which has been published. In 2021 his poem Still some way to go, Mother Rosa was short-listed for the Wells Literary Festival Poetry Competition. Other interests include music, playing classical guitar and sailing.