Genius 2017

 GEOFFREY RUSH AS EINSTEIN!

Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein in National Geographic’s ‘Genius’.

(photo credit: National Geographic/Dusan Martincek)

Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Flynn are portraying the famous scientist in his older and younger years!
Oscar winner Ron Howard is helming the ten episode GENIUS series on the famous physicist Albert Einstein which will describe how an imaginative, rebellious patent clerk, who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate, unlocked the mysteries of the atom and the universe. Each episode will explore Einstein’s extraordinary scientific achievements, along with his volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships. Emily Watson plays his first wife.

April 25th  US  National Geographic Channel

Johnny Flynn as a young Albert Einstein in National Geographic’s ‘Genius’.

(photo credit: National Geographic/Dusan Martincek)

The Promise 2015

Armenian War
War drama THE PROMISE out this May in Europe and USA starring Christian Bale, Tom Hollander, Oscar Isaac, Jean Reno, Rade Serbedzija and Shohreh Aghdashloo!
Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire , THE PROMISE follows a love triangle between Michael, a brilliant medical student, the beautiful and sophisticated Ana, and Chris – a renowned American journalist based in Paris.
This war brought us the first use of the word “genocide”.  It is the second most studied genocide after the holocaust.
Based on True Events circa 1915
Releases  US April 21,  UK April 28

Reserve and Reticence – Part Seven

Seven – Rectification

 

The next day, Beth was to find out that His Lordship had left the house. She had gone to bed right away the previous night, after the baron and Ben Merton had stepped outside. Ruby insisted on that since Beth’s face still showed a tinge of grey.

The smallpox situation had changed for the better in more than one way. All patients were recovering nicely, their fever gone and their rash reduced to mere pimples. The children were up and playing again. Little Johnny was suckling his mother’s breasts with enthusiasm again, to his parents’ delight.

Apart from astonishment over Fenton’s sudden departure and also, over the fact he had not told her, Beth actually felt relieved they were no longer under the same roof. She still had no inkling as to why he had moved in with her in the first place! Now, with Ruby and Ben living in, she was in a better position again to deal with people’s judgements. Yes, she felt relieved. Or so she told herself …

She also missed him already, and dearly so. Living with him for just these couple of days had made it very clear to Beth how much she loved Stephen Fenton. The way he cared for the children had surprised her endlessly every single day! The patience and gentleness he exerted stirred her heart and sent her spirits soaring sky-high!  She had learned a completely different side of him, one that made her adore him more each day. And then came that moment, when he had asked her – no, told her, in that high-handed way of his – to marry him. That moment had been the happiest of her life. She was convinced her heart would burst with joy, and it had been the hardest thing she had ever done, not to show it to him. He was not to know, at least, not before he told her he loved her too. And that, he had not done.

In her heart of hearts, Beth was convinced that Stephen did not love her, though he liked her well enough and certainly, that he wanted her as a lover. She longed for him, too, desperately so. His touch was like liquid fire, spreading through her entire body, setting her senses ablaze! Although Beth had never been with a man and was justifiably afraid of the unknown things that could befall her, she knew it would be pure delight with the man she loved – on condition that he would love her back. Never could she give herself to Stephen without having his love.

 

~~~~

 

Ruby and Beth were serving dinner to a table full of hungry children, when Ben stepped inside, accompanied by Dr Forrester. The baron’s personal physician was a short, wiry man in his early sixties with a balding head of sparse grey hair and watery grey eyes. He sported a goatee beard that had retained its natural dark colour which made it look like as if it were a fake and had been glued onto the doctor’s chin.

“Good evening, Miss Williams. His Lordship sent me to examine the children and report back to him about their welfare. I have just returned from London where I consulted with some colleagues of mine from the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge. Now, I would like to take a good look at your patients, if you would allow me.”

Thus, the children were examined, one by one, which took a good bit of time. When the doctor was finished, he smiled cheerfully and gave his opinion on the matter.

“Miss Williams, I had an inkling that this disease might not be the smallpox but the chicken pox. Now that I saw for myself, I am positive. It is, for a fact, only chicken pox. You might want to know that His Lordship’s friend, Mr Masterton, was the one that contracted it in Egypt and infected His Lordship’s cousin, Miss Hannah Faraday. She is now better but she has been very ill, these last two weeks, and Mr Masterton, too, had a high fever for several days. They both have conquered it, though.”

Beth’s spirits lifted endlessly at that! Chicken pox was not nearly so dangerous as smallpox, and relatively mild when children contracted it.

“I was not aware of the fact that adults could also be infected, doctor. I thought it to be a childhood disease.”

“It is, Miss Williams, it certainly is, and once a child has gone through it, he or she acquires a long-life immunity to it. Yet, when the disease develops in an adult, it can be quite dangerous, even life-threatening. I take it you had chicken pox as a child?”

“Yes, quite so, doctor. I was also inoculated with small pox.”

“Perfect, you should be safe for either of them.”

 

~~~~

 

The day after Dr Forrester’s visit, all Beth’s little patients had gone home safe Lily and Oliver. It seemed the chicken pox was over, finally! Beth was grateful she had her former charges still with her.

“I want to live here with you, Miss Williams,” Oliver assured her. “It is so much more fun here, especially since I have made some new friends, being sick and all.”

“Yes, me too,” Lily chimed in. “Is school going to start soon again, Miss Williams? I already miss Lizzie and Jane!”

“In a few days, Little Miss Impatience! Give me time to clean up the classrooms first! In the mean time, you must return to your father’s house. I know for sure he and your grandmother miss you both terribly.”

“Then, why is she always scolding us when we do something she does not like?” Oliver put in.

“It is you who behaves badly, Oliver, not I!” Lily retorted. “Grandmama says she does not understand how a well-behaving girl like me could end up with such a scoundrel for a brother!”

They were all laughing, when the door opened, and Stephen Fenton walked in, dressed to perfection and so incredibly handsome Beth’s heart did a summersault.

“Papa!” The twins dashed toward him and it was all he could do to keep his footing when they hugged him.

“Hello, my darling brats! I have come to take you home, so go get your stuff so that my coachman can stow it away in the carriage.”

Fenton smiled when they pounded upstairs to do as he asked.

“You will allow me to send some maids and footmen to help you clean up, I hope?” he asked when they were alone.

“I will welcome the help, my lord, and I am much obliged to you. If we have conquered the disease, we could only have managed thanks to you.”

“No, Miss Williams, that is not true. You and you alone have wrought this and brought it to a good end. This community owes you and so do I.”

Beth acknowledged this with a smile of her own, suddenly feeling ridiculously happy. Seeing Stephen seemed to have this effect on her, lately. When he spoke again, the earnest tone of his voice sobered her.

“Miss Williams …” He stopped, then rubbed a hand through his face and exclaimed: “Blast it, you will always be Beth to me, so I might as well call you so!”

He took her hand in his and, with his other hand, lifted her chin. Fiery blue eyes bore into hers and Beth shivered.

“Beth, will you please do me the honour of becoming my wife?”

She was thoroughly taken aback, so much so that she blurted out the one reply that came into her head. “Why?”

Stephen’s answer came in a voice husky with emotion.

“Because I love you and I cannot live without you, dearest girl.”

Sophie and the Rising Sun

SOPHIE AND THE RISING SUN is set in the autumn of 1941 in Salty Creek, a fishing village in South Carolina, following interracial lovers swept up in the tides of history. As World War II rages in Europe a wounded stranger, Mr. Ohta, appears in the town under mysterious circumstances. Sophie, a native of Salty Creek, quickly becomes transfixed by Mr. Ohta and a friendship born of their mutual love of art blossoms into a delicate and forbidden courtship. As their secret relationship evolves the war escalates tragically. When Pearl Harbor is bombed, a surge of misguided patriotism, bigotry and violence sweeps through the town, threatening Mr. Ohta’s life. A trio of women, each with her own secrets – Sophie, along with the town matriarch and her housekeeper – rejects law and propriety, risking their lives with their actions.

THE SECRET SCRIPTURE

STARRING AIDAN TURNER, THEO JAMES, JACK REYNOR, ERIC BANA
 THE SECRET SCRIPTURE which hits theatres this May with a stellar cast lead by Rooney Mara who plays a woman that keeps a diary of her extended stay at a mental hospital. Aidan Turner, Theo James and Jack Reynor play her lovers, Eric Bana is her doctor, with Vanessa Redgrave playing her older version.
UK release May 19.2017

Reserve and Reticence – Part Six

Six – Priorities

 

At that moment, someone banged on the kitchen door, and Beth heard a voice, shrill with horror and panic, calling out her name. Ruby’s voice …  In a frenzy, Beth tore open the door, pelted down the stairs, past an astonished Stephen and snapped open the kitchen door.

“Oh, Beth! I think little Johnny has caught the disease! Look! He is burning up with fever and he won’t suckle!”

She dumped a bundle into Beth’s arms and threw herself in the arms of her husband, who was as horrified as she. For a few moments, Beth just stood there on the threshold, her mind blank with sudden fear. She seemed to have forgotten all the necessary knowledge she would need to help Johnny, who was mewing pitifully. It was a sound that ripped through her heart. Oh, merciful God, this was Johnny! What was she to do?

Gentle hands took the baby from her and a voice, piercing through a lump in her ears, gave quiet commands. The baron …

“Ben, bring Ruby inside. Come, put her here, next to the stove. The warmth will soothe her. She appears to be in a shock. Now, help me. We have to fill the tub with tepid water. Take that big kettle, it’s warm …”

Holding onto the doorpost for support, Beth watched. Her knees were wobbling, all of a sudden. Her head was spinning and seemed to be filled with cotton wool as panic raged through her.

Meanwhile, Stephen undressed the little fellow’s limp little body and bathed him with the help of his father. Calm and detached, but with sure, steady gestures, the pair of them cooled Johnny’s body, rubbed it dry and made him drink Beth’s lavender tisane, which she kept at the ready in her medicine cabinet.

Fenton’s gestures were sure, steady and gentle as he wrapped the baby in a clean blanket and laid him in one of the laundry baskets, which he put on Ruby’s lap.

“Ruby, look. Little Johnny is asleep and, if you feel his brow, you will find his fever gone. Leave him here for a few days until we know if he is indeed affected.”

“But … my lord … I have to nurse him! I am breastfeeding him!”

“We can accommodate you and Ben in an upstairs room, if you are not afraid of catching the disease.”

Ben Merton nodded.

“Then that is what we will do, my lord. I can help with the work and Ruby too.”

“Well, Miss Williams, is that not fortunate? We will not be dealing alone with …”

Fenton, addressing Beth and turning to her, saw her swaying on her feet. He was just in time, catching her in his arms when she collapsed.

 

~~~~

 

Not more than a few seconds could have passed since she sank into blackness, Beth guessed, since she was still being held tightly against the baron’s solid chest when she regained consciousness. The three people in the kitchen were all talking but what they said was very different. Through a thick layer of cotton wool, Beth heard Ruby’s voice, shrill with panic.

“Oh, my goodness! My lord, she has fainted! Get her onto a chair, I beg you!”

Ben’s tenor chimed in with a hearty agreement, but it was first and foremost Stephen’s baritone that caught Beth’ attention while she fought to get control over her trembling knees and spinning head. Stephen’s voice, warm and soothing, right next to her ear.

“Lean on me, dear Miss Williams, I will get you to sit down. Here we are, just lower yourself down. Easy now! Put your head on your arms!”

Beth became aware of quite a few things occurring that same moment. Fenton’s arm was still around her shoulders, and his hard body touched hers in several places, suffusing her with warmth and beguiling her with a scent so totally male she nearly felt dizzy again. Her cheek was resting against his chest, and the strong, steady beat of his heart did nothing to calm her own heart rate. His voice, warm and sweet, was soothing her to the point of bringing tears of self-pity into her eyes. She also saw the way Ruby and Ben were looking at both her and the baron and she shivered. It was exactly how the town people would look at her – with appalled astonishment and with hurt. Hurt because they thought so much higher about her. Miss Williams, the vicar’s daughter, now sunken into the gutter status of a nobleman’s mistress.

“No,” she suddenly gasped. “I am fine, my lord. Just a slight indisposition. It has already passed.”

With all the willpower she could muster, Beth took a deep breath and turned toward Ruby.

“How is little Johnny, Ruby? Can I have a look at him?”

Fenton stared at Beth with a bit of disbelief. What was that? What had he done now to upset her so? Then he saw the look Merton gave him, cold rage blanching the man’s ruddy face.

Now, that, he could not let pass! Merton was one of his tenants, for God’s sake! Fenton gave the man a sign with his thumb, summoning him outside.

“Well, Merton? Care to explain why you are looking daggers at me?”

Oh, and why, Stephen mused, was he the one wanting to explain to a subordinate? Merton, however, stood his ground, as usual when dealing with his lord.

“My lord, I’m a man of plain speaking and I cannot condone your behaviour toward Miss Williams.”

Fenton studied the man closely while he was trying to establish a way of punishing him for his blatant impertinence. Yet, somehow, he understood that there must be a serious reason for it, not that Merton had not always been defiant in his dealings with his betters. Merton was a proud, straightforward man, with a strong conscience and a large sense of justice.

“And why is that, Merton? What have I done to Miss Williams that it raises your hackles so?”

Merton fixed him with a stare so stern that Fenton felt a slight uneasiness coming to life.

“My lord, begging your pardon, sir, but have you no consideration for the way your cohabitation is perceived in the village and the county? All the pious and the righteous are speaking shame about it. They are so convinced that Miss Williams is your mistress that they are going to ask you for another teacher when this disease is over. They do not want her to “foul their innocent children’s mind” any further, as they expressed it.”

If Merton had punched him in his gut, Fenton could not have been more surprised. Never had he considered his and Beth situation subjected to critic from villagers and country folk! He was their baron, for God’s sake! His actions were of no concern to the populace! But Beth … that was another matter altogether.

She was one of them, and people expected her to behave within the strictest bonds of propriety. With his high-handed ways of never asking anyone’s opinion or advice, Fenton had placed Beth in an intolerable and impossible position. Why had he not realised that long before? And of course, that was why she was so furious with him. And why she had thrown his marriage offer right back into his face.

The baron became once again aware of Merton and the scowl the man bestowed on him. Fenton’s temper rose to a pitch and for the space of a moment, he just wanted to engage in fisticuffs and punch him to a pulp! Merton must have seen the flare of anger in his eyes yet the blasted fellow did not even flinch. Instead, he drew himself up to his full 6 feet and straightened his back which made his huge shoulders look even more wide. Incredible! Even though the man knew full well Fenton could ruin his life and that of his family without even blinking an eye, Benjamin Merton stood up to him and in a quiet, righteous manner too.

“Tell me, Merton,” Fenton challenged him. “Why is it that you risk losing your livelihood in defying me, your lord and master, on behalf of my former vicar’s daughter?”

“She’s pure gold,” Merton told him. “She’s one of us, and if you hurt her, all of us feel her pain. Without the slightest hesitation, she risked her life to help and heal our children. In return, we cannot let her be compromised by anyone, my lord. Not even by you. If you want to throw me out of your farm, then do so, but Ruby and I are not letting Miss Beth down.”

Fenton withstood Merton’s glare with ease and even smiled at him.

“Well, man, you may rest assured I will try and rectify the matter to mine and Miss Williams’ satisfaction. I would appreciate if you and your wife would stay with Miss Williams and help her with the children. I will withdraw to “The Blue Boar” forthwith, just to ease your mind.”

And on that remark, Fenton turned on his heels and went back inside.

The lovely drawing I used in my story is by Mrs Joyce Mould.