Thank you everyone. You are a fab lot. This is a first draft, unedited, so thanks in particular to @Kate for the nit-picky points which are most useful, though I had not requested them. And yes – September is a while away but I will probably jump straight there as far as Bethany is concerned. Anything in between is likely to be flashback to the scenario triggering the revenge, if I can work out how to do it without giving away the plot twist.
Interesting that nobody likes Bert appearing where he does. That’s fine. Good to know. He doesn’t matter, save as a device to show Bethany taking second place to a stranger mother can show off to.
@Raine – I’m glad you felt the nerves and dread were a little too strong, though I need to think more about how I handle that, especially in the early stages. As the story unfolds we discover Mum is a narcissist who has emotionally abused and manipulated Bethany from childhood on, so Bethany’s reaction to her Mum is not going to be that of a normal child.