Aleo: Slow and sustainable
Aleo: Slow and sustainable

Sarah Gill

The new trainer trends to know in 2024
The new trainer trends to know in 2024

Suzie Coen

My Life in Culture: Costume designer Clíodhna Hallissey
My Life in Culture: Costume designer Clíodhna Hallissey

Sarah Finnan

CMAT at Fairview Park review: A spiritual experience
CMAT at Fairview Park review: A spiritual experience

Sarah Finnan

This waterfront property along the Wild Atlantic Way is on the market for €895,000
This waterfront property along the Wild Atlantic Way is on the market for €895,000

Sarah Finnan

Real Weddings: Anouska and Eoin’s chic Dublin city wedding
Real Weddings: Anouska and Eoin’s chic Dublin city wedding

Shayna Sappington

How to harness the courage to change careers
How to harness the courage to change careers

Niamh Ennis

All the cool girls are wearing quilted jackets this summer
All the cool girls are wearing quilted jackets this summer

Sarah Finnan

This Dublin home has been given a makeover full of warm tones and inviting textures
This Dublin home has been given a makeover full of warm tones and inviting textures

Megan Burns

Irish Design Spotlight: Tory Long
Irish Design Spotlight: Tory Long

Sarah Finnan

Image / Living / Culture

Read and extract from Florence Gillan’s second novel ‘The Forfeit’


By Sarah Gill
13th Sep 2023
Read and extract from Florence Gillan’s second novel ‘The Forfeit’

‘The Stakes are so much higher – and more dangerous. Who will win the game this time?’

When Florence Gillan reached the age of 60, retirement and the death of two siblings spurred her to realise there is no longer plenty of time. It’s finite, and the time is now. There is no do-over with life; this is a now-or-never moment.

Publishing two books in the space of ten months — Let Them Lie and now The Forfeit — was a call to action for all retired people. Retirement isn’t a waiting room but a wake-up call to live before you die. Procrastination and self-doubt were two challenges she overcame.

The Forfeit follows Bree O Hagan who, after enduring a turbulent childhood, has managed to build a good life for herself and her daughter, Amy. The arrival of a letter threatens to derail everything she has created. Suddenly her world is invaded by a malignant voice from the past, a past she had kept hidden.

Keeping secrets involves deception, and now the secrets threaten to destroy her. She is forced into continuing a game which started in her childhood in Sligo and is now about to destroy all she holds dear. Bree has no choice but to be a puppet on a string once again. Terrified of facing the consequences of refusing to play for herself, but especially for her daughter. Who will win the game this time?

Read an extract from The Forfeit below…

Florence Gillan

She had opened a letter from a dead man. How was this possible? The white envelope had seemed so innocent when she’d noticed it on her doormat. An ordinary letter postmarked Dublin. When she’d torn it open, she’d been surprised to see it contained another much smaller envelope. She’d shook it out onto the table, and that was when her stomach flipped and her heart thumped painfully against the walls of her chest.

The small envelope, bordered in black, lay on the table. With trembling fingers, she turned it over, and there on the front was scrawled the name Brenna.

She slumped onto a kitchen chair, her blood pounding in her ears. It couldn’t be. She stared, mesmerised, at the small envelope. Afraid to open it. It had to be some weird coincidence. But no one except Rory had ever sent her tiny envelopes bordered in black, and he was dead. She continued to stare helplessly. All the memories she had pushed to the deepest recesses of her mind surged agitatedly to the surface. They mustn’t escape. She didn’t want to think about the past. She wouldn’t think about the past. She had spent thirty years building up a hard scab to hold it back.

She sat frozen in her seat, unable – no, unwilling to open the envelope. But she knew that she had to. It was nearly thirty years since she had last seen Rory. After her father got the transfer to Louth, she begged her mother not to invite her cousin to stay again. Her mother, seeing she was still traumatised after the events of the previous summer, hadn’t forced the issue. Bree didn’t know how she explained it to Rory’s mother, and never asked. Once they moved, she refused to speak about Rory again. Now here was the past preparing to devour her once more. But how? Rory was dead. Her mother had told her about his death, but she had never asked her for details. It was enough to know that he was gone – hopefully to hell. Her overwhelming feeling had been one of relief. He might invade her dreams, but she was safe from ever having to encounter him again. But now his menacing presence was reaching out to her as she stared at the little envelope.

‘The Forfeit’ by Florence Gillan is out now.