Friday 24 June 2016

#Blogival - Extract: A Father's Betrayal by Gabriella Gillespie

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Continuing with the Clink Street #Blogival, today, I have an exclusive extract from A Father's Betrayal by Gabriella Gillespie to share with you.

Telling the story of a murdered mother, being sold as a child bride, and 17 years of living with an abusive husband, A Father's Betrayal is an unflinching memoir from Gabriella Gillespie. Brutally honest, it doesn't shy away from the truth, yet in doing so Gabriella's voice epitomises hope and inspiration for women around the world.

A Father's Betrayal by Gabriella Gillespie book cover


“Ouch!” I screamed, as Yas smacked me in the face, “I’m telling Dad on you!”

“Go ahead, he was the one who told me to do it,” she replied.

Yas and I had been sitting on the floor in our living room watching TV. I was around five years old and Yas, my older sister, around six and half. I’d picked up a bad habit of making funny movements with my face without realising I was doing it, stretching my nose and mouth in a downwards position. I ran out of the living room screeching as loud as possible to get Mum’s attention, and towards the kitchen where Mum was, straight into her arms.

“Muna, baby, what’s wrong with you?” she asked as she picked me up and cuddled me while wiping away my tears.

“Yas punched me in the face,” I lied.

“No I did not!” Yas came storming in. “You’re such a liar! I just gave you a little slap to stop you from making those stupid faces, and anyway Dad told me to do it!”

“Dad told you to do what?” Mum asked. She wasn’t happy with Yas for hitting me, but hearing Dad told her to do it made her angry. “He said if you catch your sister pulling those silly faces again give her a slap!” Yas replied.

“No, Yas, that’s not the way to stop her from doing it, so I’m telling you to apologize to your sister and do not hit her again.” Yas was always the stubborn one.

“No way, that’s not fair! Dad told me to do it so get him to apologize when he gets back; it’s not my fault, why do I always get the blame?” Yas stormed out of the kitchen and upstairs, stomping her feet as she went along so we would get the message that she was upset; the next thing we heard was the bedroom door slam.

“Don’t worry baby, I will talk to your Dad, but you really need to stop making those faces, they spoil your pretty face!” Mum kissed me and told me to go upstairs and make up with my sister.

I went upstairs into the bedroom that I shared with Yas. I sat next to her on her bed but she shoved me with her feet. “Get off my bed!” she sulked.

“Sorry for telling Mum on you, Yas, but you hurt me,” I replied.

“Yeah I know Moo, and I’m sorry, but if you keep pulling that stupid face you’re going to end up staying like that forever, so if I see you doing it again I’m going to smack you! Anyway you know Mum and Dad are going to argue now, don’t you?”

There were four of us sisters. Ablah was around nine and a half years old and Issy, whose real name was Ismahan, was about eight, then there was Yasmin who we called Yas, and me, Muna, who they called Moo. Yas also called me Moo cow because she said I was a cow bag, and I had big eyes like a cow! She also said I talked a load of bull and had a wild imagination! That evening after dinner we all sat down to watch TV in the living room. As usual we girls would all sit on the floor in front of the TV. Yas sat to the side of me, her eyes glued to my face, and as soon as I pulled the face, smack! I let out a huge scream!

“I can’t believe you did that again!” Mum shouted at Yas.

“Dad told me to do it, didn’t you Dad?” was my sister’s calm reply, as she looked at Dad.

Dad was sat comfortably in his chair. “She needs to learn,” he mumbled. That set off an argument between Mum and Dad! Mum didn’t believe in smacking whereas Dad apparently didn’t have a problem with it. Mum sent us all to our rooms while they kept on arguing, the next morning everything seemed fine. Yas and I tiptoed downstairs as quietly as possible, we made it to the kitchen.

“Come on, bunk me up,” I whispered. Yas was still trying to bunk me up onto the kitchen top when mum came through the door!

“Caught red handed once again, you two!” she teased as she started to chase us around the kitchen. “You need to wait for your sisters. Ablah, Issy, come on, hurry up!” Mum shouted out.

As they were coming downstairs Mum reached up into the kitchen cupboard and took out a bottle of malt. As she turned around to get a spoon from the drawer she laughed when she saw I was already stood there with a spoon in my hand! “It’s a good job you love this stuff isn’t it?” she smiled.

Since we were babies Mum had propped us on the kitchen top every morning come rain or shine and given us each a spoonful of malt. She would always tell us, “This will help you grow to be tall and beautiful!” We loved it so much we would always beg for more.

Mum was called Mary Yafai and she was from Birmingham. Every morning she would take us to school without fail, and she always watched us go in and waved us goodbye. Then she would go off and see her friends, mum had lots of friends in the area, even though she wasn’t from the area that we were living in. We were living in Grafton Road, Newport, South Wales.

She was really beautiful and when she walked down the street heads would turn; she was tall and slim with long dark hair, and long legs that she liked to show off!

She had met Dad when she was really young. Dad was also a good looking guy with his Middle Eastern looks; he was Ali Abdulla Saleh Yafai, a Yemeni guy who had moved to England around 24 years earlier. I think they met when Mum was only around 15 because she married really young and she had Yas when she was only 16.

Ablah and Issy were not Mum’s biological daughters, although Mum loved them just as much. Mum insisted she bring them up when she found out they were in a care home because their real mum had given them up after she left Dad. Mum insisted she wanted us all to grow up together, she believed sisters shouldn’t be apart.

Yas and I never knew at first that our older sisters were not Mum’s daughters. We found out when I was around five and Mum and Dad had a huge argument and Mum took us to her parents’ house in Birmingham.

Dad refused to allow my older sisters to come with us, saying Mum wasn’t their real mother so had no rights to take them. We returned after a couple of days because neither Mum nor us could stand being away from our sisters.

Mum’s family hated Dad and were not supportive of her relationship with him. We visited them every once in a while, usually when our parents had an argument. Dad never came with us, he wasn’t welcomed in our grandparents’ home.

Dad worked away a lot; he had different part time jobs. He was a part time butcher and would deliver meat in a van he owned. He also worked in Llanwern steelworks in Newport Gwent and part time as a labourer up and down the country.

He had lots of friends from his home country; he would take us to their homes and would chat to them for hours in a language we couldn’t understand. He and his friends would say to us, “You need to learn Arabic, you will need to speak it one day!” We would run off laughing, blurting out, “Blah, blah, blah!”

Mum hated it when Dad took us to his friends’ houses and they would constantly argue over it. If she found out we had gone alone to play with other children and gone inside their houses without permission she would be furious with us!

Even though Mum and Dad argued a lot we girls were happy. We would hardly ever leave Mum’s side and she always loved to dress us up in the latest fashion. She and Dad had different ideas on what clothes we should wear, but Dad was never around so Mum got to dress us up just like she wanted, skirts instead of trousers like Dad wanted!

Mum loved having a house full of kids. At one time we had four other children living with us. There were two boys and two girls whose father was also Arabic. I think they lived with us because their Mum had left them and their Dad had a new girlfriend who didn’t look after them properly. Whatever the reason, they stayed with us for many months.

It was the day before Mum’s 26th birthday, on 2nd September 1971. Mum took us to school and told us she would see us that afternoon. My sisters and I were excited because we always did something special on someone’s birthday. After she dropped us off we were secretly planning what we could do or give her for her birthday; we decided to make her a card that evening.

It was Dad who picked us up in his meat van, something he had never done before. When Yas asked where Mum was he told us she had gone to stay with her parents and wouldn’t be back for a while.


A Father's Betrayal is available to buy now (paid link; commission earned).

If you enjoyed the extract you're in luck, as I've got a signed copy of the book to give away to one lucky reader! Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below - good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:
1. Giveaway closes on 3rd July 2016 at 11.59pm (GMT).
2. The prize consists of one signed copy of A Father's Betrayal by Gabriella Gillespie.
3. Upon confirmation of the winner's address, the prize will be sent to the winner by Authoright PR and Clink Street Publishing, NOT The Writing Greyhound.
4. This giveaway is open to residents of the UK, US and Northern Ireland aged 18 and over.
5. The winner will be randomly generated by Rafflecopter once the giveaway has ended.
6. The winner will be informed by email once the giveaway has ended.
7. The winner will have 72 hours to claim their prize. If the winner has not responded by this time, another winner will be announced.

I've got one more post to come as part of the Blogival, so look out for a review of Frank Lankaster's Tim Connor Hits Trouble coming on the 30th! In the meantime, don't forget to check out all the other fantastic Blogival content! 

Will you be reading A Father's Betrayal? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. i love anything book related!!

  2. Yes I love reading almost anything

  3. That was such a good excerpt from the book, you just know it will be a compelling read.

  4. Yes and the book looks brilliant.

  5. Yes, I love it! (@PeanutHog)

  6. Yep it's fantastic. Thanks for the competitions as well!

  7. This looks like a fab read! Love being introduced to new writers!

    1. That's great to hear Kim - you never know when you're going to discover a new author you love!

  8. yes I am, thanksyou for the giveaway I'd love to read this book x