The Rumblr is delighted to share an excerpt from Sarah Cornwell’s debut novel, What I Had Before I Had You:
The first time I see my sisters, I am fifteen years old. It is June and the ocean is just warm enough for swimming. I am floating on my back out past the farthest buoy. If I turn my head, I can see the beach, glutted with tourists, rising above and dipping below each wave swell. The world appears and vanishes, is and isn’t, is and isn’t. Sometimes the lifeguard is sitting, and sometimes he is standing up on his white wooden tower, shading his eyes. The closest swimmers are some forty yards off, a few old ladies doing the crawl, their crepe-paper elbows rising and falling. A wave breaks against my face and I sputter under the water, come up coughing.
Yards away from me bob two pale, red-headed girls. For a moment, we watch each other. Our shoulders work as we tread water out of rhythm. They are so familiar. They look like someone I once knew and have forgotten. Their noses are narrow and their mouths turn down at the corners. Their cheekbones make high pale planes that hold the sun. At first I think they are identical, but then I see that they are not—that one is made of sharper angles than the other, that the other has a slight pouty overbite. Their eyes are green and though their hair is dark with water, I can see that it is my mother’s hair.
Daughter of a psychic discovers long-thought-to-be-dead siblings, set on the Jersey Shore? YES, PLEASE DO GO ON.