Bernard Hall

Bernard Hall

Miss Perfect is set in the north of England in the space between the Falklands War and the miners’ strike when I was a social worker in a staunchly Labour local authority. [...] In resolving to write a fictional portrait of just such a woman I wanted to explore two questions: was love possible, might she find life beyond work? I needed to unpick the reasons behind her present state, how she reached this point where work had become her life. Part of my answer came in the back story I weaved around her after delving into a skeleton in my family history cupboard and extracting the experience of an ancestor who suffered an abusive childhood. These dark undertones in shades of grey are not gratuitous; they are there to help explain her present situation. From the Introduction

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“Lorraine unlocked the car doors and they climbed in. A nervous passenger at best, Miss Perfect could only hope that Lorraine’s driving might prove more sensible, more sedate, than some other aspects of her behaviour. A pretty little thing, she thought, looking at Lorraine. If only she would cover more of her body with work-day clothes, if only she used less make-up, more subdued colours. As it was she might be better employed behind the cheap cosmetics counter at Woolworths in the High Street. Yes, definitely more suited to shop work even if she was a qualified social worker with a degree from some university or other in Cape Town. ‘A typical shop girl,’ her father would have snorted. She redoubled her determination never to eat South African oranges.” Extract from Miss Perfect – included in the showcase

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