This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
First things first. The Drowning of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes is not romantic comedy. It's a modern fairy tale with swearing, gritty realism and characters who are, by their own admission, a bit wonky. It focuses on adolescence and the pain that comes with it. It is, however, about love. It's powerful, emotional and beautifully written.
Laurel, a school girl, is working and earning money at The Oracle, an old Edwardian bathhouse. The Oracle is a place where people go to get healed by the three water healers; Madame Pythia, Martin Savage and Silver.
Laurel's mum encourages her daughter to apply for the job at the bathhouse. Laurel is used as an unpaid babysitter to her younger brothers and now as the breadwinner, making £2.50 an hour. Her mother had to give up school when she was pregnant with Laurel and likes her Diamond White and ciggies. There is no father figure around. So when someone shows Laurel kindness, no matter how small, it is worthy enough for Laurel to mention. She would get smarties from Silver and, from Ada Harvey, one of the people requesting healing, she would often get a fairy cake or a scone.
People who bake often like to foist their homemade goods on to other people. I know, because I'm one of them. It is their way of showing affection. A way of showing they care. Nourishment to feed the body and soul wrapped up in a piece of kitchen paper.
By baking a scone, a baked good that has all the comfort of bread, but with a dash of sugar to inject that delicious treat, Ada Harvey, with her "old face" and kindness, has touched Laurel. And Laurel devours that scone as though she's not eaten properly for a week. (And to be fair, she probably hasn't.)
I like my scones with strawberry jam and cream, or when cream is lacking, covered with a centimetre of butter. But there is no clotted cream or creamy butter for Laurel – I think Laurel might have her scone smeared with just a touch of margarine. But I don't think she cares if it's plain.
The recipe I use for scones is taken from Vanessa Kimbell's Prepped. It is the easiest scone recipe I've come across and gives fabulous results. In the recipe she mentions buttermilk. If you don't have any just pop a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice or vinegar into normal milk. It will make it slightly lumpy. (And if you don't have lemon juice and vinegar, regular milk will be fine.)
The recipe is in her book but is also on Vanessa's blog here.
My husband is travelling this week with work. He wasn't much looking forward to it so I sent him on his way with a scone. Wrapped up in kitchen roll.