Elaine Ramsay

On the surface, London’s hairdressing world in the 1960s is a world of glamour, wealth and celebrity. A world of excitement and opportunity. But all is not what it at first seems and the superficial gloss masks something deeper, more sinister. 

Christine is young and trusting. She wants to escape from her dreary, crushing, home life, and she longs for love or – at the very least – romance. Frank is rich, good-looking and famous. He’s a man of the world, with power and influence. The two of them are drawn to each other for very different reasons. Can Christine learn to recognise truth from lies? 

Violet Eyes is the story of Christine’s sacrifice and her gradual awakening.

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1955

"...'I’m Mr Franke,’ he said. ‘Tell me why you want to be a hairstylist.’ He smiled encouragingly.

Christine stared into her lap. The whole experience this morning had been overwhelming, and she scrabbled desperately to find something worthwhile to say. She focused on trying to remember the advice in Harriet Hornby Brown’s book, The Dos and Don't s in Polite Society, but nothing suitable came to mind.

Mr Franke sighed and continued. ‘It’s hard work, you know. Lots of standing. No glamour to it.’

She forced herself to look up and meet his gaze – look enthusiastic. ‘Oh yes, I know. I’m used to it. I’m not afraid of hard work.’

He nodded. ‘An apprenticeship lasts three years. Pay is minimal but you can make it up with your tips. They have to be earned, mind, people won’t tip if they’re not satisfied with the service.’ He waited.

‘I like to do things properly,’ Christine said. ‘I always want to do the best I can. People say I’m very thorough.’ She tried to cross her legs, then realised she couldn’t without the risk of revealing the hole in her stocking.

‘Good. I understand you’re fifteen? I usually like to speak to parents about indenture costs.’

Christine frowned.

‘Payment for the apprenticeship,’ he explained. ‘We charge one hundred pounds. You’ll find this is the same with all the best Mayfair salons, and Matthew Franke is one of the very best. Have you got any other interviews arranged?’ He leaned back and stroked a lapel of the mohair suit jacket.

Christine’s tongue explored the inside of her lip. ‘I’ve got an interview with Steiner next week and at a place called Vidal Sassoon, which has just opened. But I didn’t know about those costs. My mother’s not well… she can’t afford a hundred pounds.’ Why hadn’t she found out about the money? Mr Franke must think her an idiot. She bit down on her lip to stop the tears.

He crossed his legs and pinched the crease of his trousers along the length of his left thigh. She sensed his uncertainty. Was he going to terminate the interview? She caught sight of her reflection in a mirror hanging opposite. The wide velvet Alice band suited her; it kept the thick damp curls under control. She tried out an encouraging Elizabeth Taylor smile and looked up at him through long, dark blonde lashes.

He met her gaze. ‘We could discuss an alternative… a better-paid job perhaps, one that doesn’t require an indenture payment.’

She looked at him eagerly..."

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After working many years in hairdressing, Elaine Ramsay was welcomed into the Civil Service after obtaining a BA Degree & Certificate of Education. She is an active creative writer in East Midlands writing groups and been shortlisted and highly commended in Writers’ Forum. Her first novel, The Pit (Matador, 2013) is an environmentally themed story in the style of Watership DownViolet Eyes is her second novel.

A little bit more about me…

I was born and raised in Ruislip, worked in London and retired to Market Harborough Leicestershire. I have two wonderful children, four fabulous grandchildren, a soulmate husband, and Barney our cocker spaniel would probably win a Crufts medal for loving steadfast loyalty, if there was such a prize – which of course there should be.


Elaine Ramsay's Books

ISBN: 9781915122599

£9.99

Violet Eyes

Aug. 28, 2022

On the surface, London’s hairdressing world in the 1960’s is a world of glamour, wealth and celebrity. A world of excitement and opportunity. But all is not what it at first seems and the superficial gloss masks something deeper, more sinister.

Christine is young and trusting. She wants to escape from her dreary, crushing, home life, and she longs for love or – at the very least – romance. Frank is rich, good-looking and famous. He is a man of the world, with power and influence. The two of them are drawn to each other for very different reasons.

Can Christine learn to recognise truth from lies?

Violet Eyes is the story of Christine’s sacrifice and her gradual awakening.

 

After working many years in hairdressing, Elaine Ramsay was welcomed into the Civil Service after obtaining a BA Degree & Certificate of Education. She is an active creative writer in East Midlands writing groups and been shortlisted and highly commended in Writers’ Forum. Her first novel, The Pit (Matador, 2013) is an environmentally themed story in the style of Watership DownViolet Eyes is her second novel.