Take A Chance on Me by Beth Moran

Meet Patrick Cooper – desperately down on his luck, and head-over-heels in unrequited love with his best friend Bridget.

Meet Bridget’s sister, Emma Donovan – eternally single maker-of-cakes for many a happy couple, whilst never making it down the aisle herself.

Emma has four younger sisters, all of whom are married or getting married, and an Italian mother who can’t understand what is ‘wrong’ with her eldest daughter, who seems to be stranded on the shelf. Despairing of her own ability to find a suitable husband, Emma agrees to be part of a compatibility project to get married at first sight.

Meanwhile Cooper is struggling to get over his crush on Bridget and seems destined to stay firmly on the shelf too. Perhaps it’s time his fate was taken out of his hands…

Is happily-ever-after just about daring to take a chance, or do you need some extra magic to make love last?

MoMoBookDiary Review

This was an exciting fun read that kept me on my toes the whole time. It was a fun book and I found the author’s depiction of the characters spot on. The plot was fun and had a strong message in there too! A truly great read which I have already recommended to friends far and wide!

Thank you Beth Moran, Boldwood Books, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this original and unforgettable novel.

Beth Moran can be found on twitter @bethcmoran, on instagram @bethmoranauthor

THE LILAC HOUSE by Barbara Josselsohn

Lake Summers Book 1

BOOKOUTURE

DESCRIPTION

Can one summer house bring two broken hearts together?

Summer escapes to Lilac House have always been a source of comfort for Anna Harris. Though things will never be the same since her husband’s death, she knows that it is there, nestled in Lake Summers in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, that she and her children Zac and Evie can begin to build a new life.

The house is just as beautiful as Anna remembers, and caught up in the rhythm of small town life, helping her Aunt Hope run the little shop on Main Street, Anna begins to feel a sense of herself she hasn’t felt in years. Then she meets Aidan. Handsome, strong and quiet, he also knows what’s it’s like to lose someone. In each other they recognise something they’ve both been missing and they feel a spark.

But Aidan’s past holds a different set of complications. He’s hiding a secret about why he came to Lake Summers. And just as the Lilac House finally starts to feel like home, Anna learns something devastating about Greg’s death that makes her question everything…

The summer might have brought Anna and Aidan together, but can Anna finally let go of the past now she really has the chance for a new beginning?

A beautiful story about moving on and finding yourself, The Lilac House will restore your faith in love and teach you that it’s never too late the find the person who will change your life. For fans of Carolyn Brown, Jenny Hale and Mary Alice Monroe.

MOMO’S REVIEW

This is a lovely book. It is a sweet tale of second chances.

The author draws the setting beautifully. I’d love to visit Summers Lake with its quaint little shops and quirky residents.

Anna’s emotional journey feels so real as we walk with her on her path to the future…it is just lovely.

This review is being shared as part of the blog tour by Bookouture Annonymous!

My sincere thanks to BOOKOUTURE and NETGALLEY for the opportunity to read and review ‘The Lilac House’ by Barbara Josselsohn. 

All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway. 

All my reviews can be found on my blog momobookdiary.com

BOOK DETAILS

  • TITLE: The Lilac House
  • AUTHOR: Barbara Josselsohn
  • PUBLISHER: Bookouture
  • PUBLICATION DATE: 13 March 2020

REVIEW PUBLISHED (shared to the following sites on publication)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Barbara Josselsohn is novelist and journalist. Her articles and essays appear in a range of publications including New York Magazine, American Baby, The New York Times, Parents Magazine, and Writers’ Digest. Online, you can see her work on WorkingMother.com, NextAvenue.org, and GrownandFlown.com. She teaches novel writing and creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., and other venues.  

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

THE MAN I LOVED BEFORE by Anna Mansell

BOOKOUTURE

DESCRIPTION

‘Dear Ben, I can only write you this letter because I know you’ll never read it…’

When Jem writes to her ex Ben, it’s to explain everything. All the secrets she kept from him – from the little lies she’d sometimes tell about how new those shoes really were, or how many glasses of wine she’d had that evening… right up to The Big Thing that happened on the night that changed everything. But she never expects he will actually see what she’s written.

She is just writing because she thinks it will help to get the words out. Later, she resolves, she’ll burn the letter, and then the past will be in the past for good.

Because Jem is doing fine now. She’s busy: working, spending time with her best friend, and looking after her mother, who’s in remission from cancer. She’s even dating again and has just met a guy who she thinks she could actually fall for. At long last, Jem is really, definitely somewhere close to happy.

But her mum finds the letter and thinks she’s doing Jem a favour when she posts it to Ben. And Jem’s new, carefully rebuilt life begins to unravel in ways she could never have imagined. Then, when her mother gets ill again, she finds herself asking who has the key to her future. The man she’s falling in love with now? Or the man she loved before?

A heartbreaking, beautifully honest novel that will stay with readers long after they finish it. Perfect for fans of Diane Chamberlain, Amanda Prowse, and Susan Lewis.

MOMO’S REVIEW

This is such a wonderful book. It is an emotional rollercoaster which at times had me laughing and other times reaching for my tissues.

You fall into this story and immediately feel you are reading a story straight from the heart. Enthralling!

This review is being shared as part of the blog tour by Bookouture Annonymous!

My sincere thanks to BOOKOUTURE and NETGALLEY for the opportunity to read and review ‘THE MAN I LOVED BEFORE’ by ANNA MANSELL. 

All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway. 

All my reviews can be found on my blog momobookdiary.com

BOOK DETAILS

  • TITLE: The Man I Loved Before
  • AUTHOR: Anna Mansell
  • PUBLISHER: Bookouture
  • PUBLICATION DATE: 10 March 2020

REVIEW PUBLISHED (shared to the following sites on publication)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Mansell

Anna had a brush with ‘fame’ as a magician’s assistant back in 1977. She later decided that being sawn in half by her magical performing father, at barely 6 months old, was too submissive a role. She vowed to channel the trauma into something much more pro-actively creative. Having failed at acting, singing and professional murder mystery parties (she was ALWAYS the one to die!), she fell to something much more solitary: writing. 

Anna lives on a dairy farm in Cornwall with her two children, her husband, and her ex-racing greyhound, Olive Dog.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

PENGUIN BOOKS (UK)

DESCRIPTION

THE CAPTIVATING NEW NOVEL FROM THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF ONE DAY IN DECEMBER Two love stories. One Impossible Choice. 

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’ve been together for almost a decade, and Lydia thinks their love is indestructible. 

But she’s wrong. Because on her 27th birthday, Freddie dies in a tragic accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob til her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to live her life well. So, enlisting the help of his best friend and her sister Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world and starts to live – perhaps even to love – again.

But then something unbelievable happens, and Lydia gets another chance at her old life with Freddie. But what if there’s someone in her new life who wants her to stay?

A heart-breaking, uplifting story for fans of PS I Love You and Me Before You, this gorgeously romantic novel will make you laugh, cry and remind you of what a wonderful gift it is to love and to be loved.

MOMO’S REVIEW

I read, enjoyed, and loved Josie Silver’s debut novel ‘One Day in December’ and eagerly awaited the next book. This is it and it was worth waiting for!

As followers of my blog may know I don’t read the synopsis before the book and I am glad I didn’t with this one. I was shocked by the opening chapters and the tears were flowing for characters that I didn’t even know and had not bonded with – that’s what this author does with her words – be warned! Although Freddie dies at the start of the book we get to know him through the story and he is another lovely character from the mind of the lovely Josie Silver.

I felt completely drawn in and could’t put the book down. It was a book that I wanted to devour all at once, yet also didn’t want it to end. The writing is awesome – it is a gripping story which keeps you turning page after page. I highly recommend this book.

My sincere thanks to NETGALLEY and PENGUIN (UK) for the opportunity to read and review ‘THE TWO LIVES OF LYDIA BIRD’ by JOSIE SILVER ahead of publication day. 

All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway. 

All my reviews can be found on my blog momobookdiary.com

BOOK DETAILS

  • TITLE: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird
  • AUTHOR: Josie Silver
  • PUBLISHER: Penguin
  • PUBLICATION DATE: 5 March 2020

REVIEW PUBLISHED

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Josie Silver’s debut novel, One Day in December, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. Josie lives in a small town in the UK with her husband, their sons, and an ever-changing cast of animals.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

MORE THAN A MUM by CHARLENE ALLCOTT

TRANSWORLD DIGITAL (digital format)

DESCRIPTION

Mother: a woman considered in relation to her child or children.

Wife: a woman considered in relation to her spouse.

Shouldn’t there be more?

Alison has built her life around her family. Every day she packs lunches, rushes to work, and breaks up her daughter’s squabbles. She’s bored, restless and hungry for some excitement.

Perhaps the charismatic Frank could be what she’s missing. But is Frank all he makes out to be? And what if a new, glamorous life isn’t quite what she needs?

MOMO’S REVIEW

I am excited to be involved in the blog tour for this witty, emotional lovely book. First glance at the cover and I knew I’d be hooked! The blurb caught my interest and as soon as I opened it up and started reading it was clear I was right – this was going to be a great read.

More Than A Mum is a beautifully written book which shines a spotlight on relationships – within the family and those friends we choose to surround ourselves with. This is an emotionally fuelled book – heartbreak and heartwarming, funny and fresh – it truly is a delight to read. It will make you think and leads to pondering questions, decisions and where you go from here…

I don’t have children but I do enjoy stories like this – where the mundane daily living is rocked, questions asked leading to decisions that need to be made.

The author has told an emotionally genuine tale whilst still being a funny and joyful read.

I found this book captivating, witty and an easy read and would happily recommend it. Don’t take my word for it, have a look at the other bloggers involved in this blog tour (see image below).

I would like to thank damppebbles for the opportunity to read and review and be part of this #blogtour for ‘MORE THAN A MUM’ by CHARLENE ALLCOTT.  

This review is being published today as part of the blog-tour by damppebbles.

All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway. 
All my reviews can be found on my blog momobookdiary.com

BOOK DETAILS

  • TITLE: More Than A Mum
  • AUTHOR: Charlene Allcott
  • PUBLISHER: (ebook) Transworld Digital (paperback) Corgi Paperback
  • PUBLICATION DATE: (ebook) 20 February 2020 (paperback) 5 March 2020
  • LENGTH: 356 pages

REVIEW PUBLISHED / BUY LINKS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charlene Allcott was born and raised in London and now lives in Brighton with her five-year-old son. Charlene Allcott works part-time with young people in a residential care home. She writes a parenting blog at moderatemum.co.uk. MORE THAN A MUM is her second novel.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

damppebbles.com – crime book blog

ABOUT DAMPPEBLES BLOG TOURS

Let #damppebblesblogtours organise your next blog tour. For more information please see damppebbles.com or for a no obligation quote please email damppebbles@gmail.com 

I organise tours for all genres but I specialise in crime and thriller fiction as that’s where my passion lies. I have been a crime and thriller blogger for nearly 4 years now over at damppebbles.com where I share my love of reading.

Many believe only brand new releases are eligible to be taken on tour. I believe that publishing your book is only the start and have organised tours for books which have been previously available for a number of years.

You have nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain: damppebbles@gmail.com

#bookbloggers #Authors #indiepublishers #bookpromotion#writingcommmunity #blogtour 

THE FLATSHARE by Beth O’Leary

quercus books

DESCRIPTION

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. 

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

MOMO’S REVIEW

This is a brilliantly fun story.

I read it in record time, pausing only to switch on the light when it became too dark to read easily. The characters are mostly fun and friendly. The writing is witty, fun and the insights into the relationship between Leon and Tiffy – WOW just WOW!

It is a fun, quick, easy read story that captivates the reader. Highly recommended.

BOOK DETAILS

  • TITLE: The Flatshare
  • AUTHOR: Beth O’Leary
  • PUBLISHER: Quercus (Quercus Books)
  • PUBLICATION DATE: 18 April 2019
  • LENGTH: 336 pages

REVIEW PUBLISHED

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Introducing Beth O’Leary

Introducing Beth O’Leary
Beth studied English at university before she started working in children’s book publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being in reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work. She is now writing novels full time, and if she’s not at her desk, you’ll usually find her curled up somewhere with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

THE SOUTHERN BELLES by Katie Simpkins

The Brighton Belles Series Book 1

Fusion Press

DESCRIPTION

NOT JUST ANY OLD RICHES TO RAGS STORY

Heiresses, Evelyn, Georgia and Olivia Belle, nicknamed The Southern Belles by the tabloid press, have everything they’ve ever wanted. Then, suddenly, on Evelyn’s 30th birthday, their father dies in a tragic road traffic accident, leaving a massive hole in his business’ finances. With the world’s media, and the National Crime Agency looking on, their family home, cars and all other assets are sold at auction, leaving the sisters penniless, homeless and jobless.

Shunned by their celebrity friends, the Belle sisters must learn to fend for themselves for the first time in their lives. Evelyn, the eldest, knows how dire their situation is, and asks their father’s solicitor, who has kindly paid for their first two months’ rent on a rat-infested bedsit in Brighton, to look into their Father’s case, while they hunt for jobs to make ends meet, which inadvertently leads to them meeting new guys, falling in love, and learning along the way that the world doesn’t owe them a favour, and that money doesn’t buy you happiness.

MOMO’S REVIEW

This book is not generally my type of read – I have no interest in the celebrity lifestyle – but there was something about the cover that made me want to read the story. I am so glad I did. Brilliantly strong characters, sprinkling of love, heartache, and some fun surprises.

The story is told from the perspective of a grandmother reading to her granddaughter who is in bed with flu. I really liked this different angle and enjoyed these moments to pause and reflect on the story so far.

The author has cleverly shown the path each sister takes to build their new lives and how they deal with the heartbreak that most of their friends want nothing to do with them now they have no money are having to go out and find work. One aspect that I really enjoyed was the one ex-friend who gets pleasure from making life even more difficult for them – it fitted into the main storyline and felt very true to how life would be.

It’s like a mixed up fairytale – instead of the girl next door and the handsome prince this story takes the princesses and turns them into girls next door and it does it with heartwarming style, heartbreaking reality and a sprinkling of glittering romance.

The ending felt a bit rushed in my opinion and could have done with a bit more…..something… I can’t wait to read the next in the Brighton Belle series.

I would like to thank damppebbles for the opportunity to read and review and be part of this #blogtour for ‘THE SOUTHERN BELLES’ by KATIE SIMPKINS.  

This review is being published today as part of the blog-tour by damppebbles.

All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway. 
All my reviews can be found on my blog momobookdiary . com

BOOK DETAILS

  • TITLE: The Southern Belles
  • AUTHOR: Katie Simpkins
  • PUBLISHER: Fusion Press
  • PUBLICATION DATE: 24 July 2019 – ebook and paperback format
  • LENGTH: 447 pages

REVIEW PUBLISHED / BUY LINKS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Duncan Brockwell – who writes as Katie Simpkins

Katie Simpkins is the pseudonym for 42 year old dental technician Duncan Brockwell, from a town near Brighton, called Burgess Hill. Duncan works at Elite Dental Studios in his hometown during the day, and writes in his spare time. He is the author of The Southern Belles, his debut novel.

Since writing The Belles, he has completed a further four novels, the first sequel to the Belles, The Varndean Vixens, two crime dramas, Blood Bunker and Blood Lust, a horror novel, Hellingly, set in an abandoned mental asylum, and is currently writing his first action / adventure called Trailblazer, set in the American Midwest in 1976, about an aging country singer who is being pursued  by the mob, the FBI and a nutty sheriff, while on tour with his band and getting to know his estranged daughter, Nancy.

He is also attempting to write a comedy TV series script for The Southern Belles for a producer at Voyage Media.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

damppebbles.com – crime book blog

CHRISTMAS AT FROZEN FALLS by Kiley Dunbar

a cosy, heart-warming romcom to curl up with

HERA BOOKS

DESCRIPTION

Sylvie Magnusson is going to be lonely this Christmas. Instead of jetting off for her honeymoon, she’s freezing at home in Cheshire. Guess that’s what happens when your fiancé dumps you a week before your wedding…

Sylvie’s best friend, Nari, plans a trip to see the Northern Lights and get Sylvie’s mojo back. But as their Lapland getaway approaches, Sylvie realises that Frozen Falls is the hometown of Stellan Virtanen, her dreamy Finnish ex-boyfriend, the one that got away.

When they meet, Stellan’s still gorgeous – and her heart is warmed when he shows her the romantic delights of Lapland (as well as some adorable Husky puppies). But when she returns to England, can she really leave Stellan behind? Or will she find that her heart belongs in the frozen North?

MOMO’S REVIEW

This is more than a heart-warming story, I’d go as far as saying it had me over-heating on some pages.

Kiley Dunbar whisks readers off to the Frozen Falls resort in Finnish Lapland. I highly recommend this wonderfully upbeat tale of lovely characters.

I took a day out from Christmas preparations and binge read the whole book. Delightful!

After reading the beautiful love story I was dreaming of visiting Lapland and spending a few nights in a cabin just like Sylvie stayed in so I asked may boyfriend if we could nip to Lapland….. in his perfect comedian response he told me the best he could do this week was a trip to Iceland as we still needed some Christmas food! 💞

I loved this book so much I have decided to leave the paperback on a Tram in Edinburgh for someone else to enjoy – so had to buy it again on kindle so I could re-read it again in the future! I will be leaving it on a Tram tomorrow – 19th December 2019.

BOOK DETAILS

  • TITLE: Christmas at Frozen Falls
  • AUTHOR: Kiley Dunbar
  • PUBLISHER: Canelo Hera
  • PUBLICATION DATE: 12 September 2019
  • OBTAINED: Purchased paperback and kindle ebook
  • BUY LINKS: Amazon (UK)

REVIEW PUBLISHED

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

THE WEEKENDER by Fay Keenan (review)

A heartwarming novel of finding love in the countryside (WILLOWBURY BOOK 1)

BOLDWOOD BOOKS

SYNOPSIS

When Charlie Thorpe met Holly Renton, they were not a match made in heaven…

Holly lives and works in the beautiful town of Willowbury in Somerset. An incorrigible optimist, she is determined to change the world for the better.

Charlie Thorpe on the other hand, is the ultimate pragmatist. As Willowbury’s new member of parliament, he has to be. While he’s determined to prove himself to the town, as far as Holly’s concerned, he’s just another politician on the make. 

But when their paths cross again, it’s clear they’ve got more in common than they think. Can Holly and Charlie overcome their differences and work together, or are they destined to be forever on opposite sides? And why does Holly have a funny feeling she has met Charlie before…

MOMO’S REVIEW

This was my first Fay Keenan book and I am happy to say I will be reading more from this lovely author who writes intelligently and with true passion. This is a romance and more. When I first read it featured a politician I was hesitant to read it due to the current political situation in the UK but I am glad I gave it a chance. It was a pleasant and enjoyable story.

The author gives us a story set in a charming little village with so many lovely characters and a sprinkling of seriousness too. I prefer a faster paced story but sometimes it is nice to slow down and read a heartwarming tale. Overall this was a sweet, sensitive and enjoyable read which will get you in the mood for romance.

My sincere thanks to Boldwood Books for an advanced readers copy and inviting me to join the blog tour of ‘The Weekender’ by Fay Keenan.
All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

BOOK DETAILS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fay Keenan was born in Surrey and raised in Hampshire, before finally settling in the West Country. When Fay is not chasing her children around or writing, she teaches English at a local secondary school. She lives with her husband, two daughters, a cat, two chickens and a Weimaraner called Bertie in a village in Somerset, a county which provides her with endless inspiration for her novels.

Fay’s new novel ‘The Weekender’, published by Boldwood Books, is released on 28th November and was inspired by an old photograph, a lifelong love of politics, the iconic town of Glastonbury and the campaign for cystic fibrosis drugs. When Holly meets Charlie, sparks will fly! Available in paperback, ebook and audio, this novel was a real passion project.

Fay’s bestselling ‘Little Somerby’ trilogy explores the lives and loves of the residents of an idyllic Somerset village. Sprinkled with a liberal dose of cider and sauce, these novels are perfect for curling up with! Published by Aria Fiction, they are available in paperback, audio and ebook.

Connect with Fay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the most up to date news!

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

  • Fay Keenan’s website: https://faykeenan.com
  • Fay Keenan on Boldwood Books website: Fay Keenan
  • Fay Keenan on Instagram: @faykeenan
  • Fay Keenan on Facebook /faykeenanauthor
  • Fay Keenan on Twitter: @faykeenan

Amazon link to The Weekender : https://amzn.to/2NpI9Ur

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER

Boldwood Books is a brand new, independent, global fiction publishing house.
Based on the principles of a true partnership with authors, consumers and team members Boldwood is seeking out the best stories from around the world, from both new and established writers, and bringing them, in all formats, to readers everywhere.
Founded by a team with over 50 years success in fiction publishing it promises to be innovative but experienced, fearless but responsible, and lots of fun!

Boldwood Books website: www.boldwoodbooks.com

Twitter @BoldwoodBooks
Facebook and Instagram @bookandtonic

BLOGGERS: If you are interested in getting involved with Boldwood Books then please email them at bloggers@boldwoodbooks.com

THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN SHARED AS FOLLOWS:

THE WEEKENDER by Fay Keenan (extract)

A heartwarming novel of finding love in the countryside (WILLOWBURY BOOK 1)

BOLDWOOD BOOKS

SYNOPSIS

When Charlie Thorpe met Holly Renton, they were not a match made in heaven…

Holly lives and works in the beautiful town of Willowbury in Somerset. An incorrigible optimist, she is determined to change the world for the better.

Charlie Thorpe on the other hand, is the ultimate pragmatist. As Willowbury’s new member of parliament, he has to be. While he’s determined to prove himself to the town, as far as Holly’s concerned, he’s just another politician on the make. 

But when their paths cross again, it’s clear they’ve got more in common than they think. Can Holly and Charlie overcome their differences and work together, or are they destined to be forever on opposite sides? And why does Holly have a funny feeling she has met Charlie before…

EXTRACT

Chapter 1

‘White sage is all very well,’ Holly Renton reflected, ‘but the ashes are a bugger to get out of the carpet.’ Earlier that morning, before the shop had opened, Holly had carried out a ritual called smudging, which was meant to purify the energy in a building, promote positivity and remove negative energies. Picking up the dustpan and brush, she emptied the pungent remains of the dried herb bundle she’d ignited and then wafted around the windows and doors of the shop into the bin.

‘I know you recommend this all the time for other people’s houses, but why are you so bloody obsessed with doing it in the shop?’ Rachel, Holly’s sister, glanced down at where Holly was still brushing the rug under the mullioned front window of ComIncense, the shop specialising in herbal remedies and well-being aids that Holly ran in the sleepy but nonetheless New Age small town of Willowbury and smiled. Just beyond the shop’s counter, the door that led to Holly’s small back yard was open and Harry, Rachel’s three-year-old son and Holly’s nephew, was playing happily with a set of wooden animal-shaped blocks in their own lorry, which had come from a box of assorted toys that Holly kept specifically for the younger customers. Holly didn’t believe, unlike some of her business-owning neighbours, that children should be banned from places like hers, and since the early-spring weather was warm and pleasant, Harry had trundled out into the sunlight to play.

‘You’ve got to refresh places from time to time,’ Holly replied. ‘Especially when there’s been a lot of negative energy about, and since all of the scandal with Hugo Fitzgerald, I really felt like this place needed a spiritual cleanse!’

‘You can say that again,’ Rachel reached under the wooden apothecary’s dresser that displayed countless jars and pots of dried herbs and flowers, all purporting to be of some spiritual or physical benefit, to retrieve one of the toy llamas that Harry had thrown under it. ‘What a way to go…’

‘Oh, I don’t know,’ Holly replied, still sweeping. ‘At least, having had a massive coronary, he wouldn’t have known much about it.’

‘But what a waste of a good plate of scones and jam!’ Rachel grinned. ‘Mum told me that his constituency agent found him face down in them at his desk.’

‘I wouldn’t have fancied digging him out of them,’ Holly said. ‘But from the size of him, the heart attack was an accident waiting to happen. And gossip has it, he had his finger in a lot of pies, not just the odd plate of scones.’

‘Oh, you know how the rumour mill goes into overdrive when something like this happens.’ Rachel, who had more of a tendency to see the good in people than her sister did, dismissed Holly’s comments with a wave of her hand. ‘I mean, I’m not saying he wasn’t a prat, but nothing was ever proven about his financial misdemeanours. Although, I have to admit, since he couldn’t have given a stuff about Harry’s condition, and getting access to these new drugs, I’m hoping the new guy will be more receptive to the cause.’

‘It’s still bloody unfair that he gets to swan in here and take the seat after only the quietest by-election,’ Holly grumbled as she replaced the dustpan and brush on the shelf behind the counter. ‘I mean, the guy’s only a year older than me and he’s been parachuted into one of the safest seats in the country. Even if we have a change of government, he’s unlikely ever to lose his seat. What if he’s just as crap as Fitzgerald and couldn’t care less about us here in his constituency? We’re stuck with him until he chooses to retire.’

‘Give him a chance,’ Rachel said reasonably. ‘He might be good for this place.’

‘Have you made an appointment to see him yet?’ Holly asked, glancing down to where Harry was now building a tower of exotic wooden animals that was getting more and more precarious the higher it got.

From the outside, Harry looked like any other energetic three-year-old, but on the inside, it was a different story. Weeks after he’d been born, Rachel had been launched into a perpetually revolving carousel of physiotherapy, medications and experimental trials in an attempt to alleviate the chronic condition, cystic fibrosis, that would, in all likelihood, limit Harry’s life. The latest medication, which might make a huge difference to Harry’s life expectancy, was currently being held up because the government was still negotiating with the pharmaceutical company involved over a reasonable price to supply it to the National Health Service. How it was possible to put a cost on a life such as Harry’s was a source of increasing frustration and heartbreak for Rachel and the family.

‘Not yet,’ Rachel sighed. ‘If Hugo Fitzgerald couldn’t be arsed to do anything other than toe the party line, then why should this new guy be any better? Especially if he is a total rookie. I doubt he’ll stick his neck out for Harry.’

Noticing Rachel was, unusually for her, close to tears, Holly hurried around from behind the counter and gave her sister a hug. ‘Don’t let it get you down,’ she murmured. ‘I’ll always be right there with you, campaigning to get this little munchkin the treatment he deserves.’

‘I know,’ Rachel replied, giving Holly a shaky smile. ‘I’m fine, really. It’s just when he has a bad day, it reminds me of the challenges he’s facing, which will only get worse as he gets older. And knowing that the new medications could potentially make those challenges so much easier to face…’

‘We’ll get there,’ Holly said. ‘I’ll be with you every step of the way, like I always have been. And I still think it’s worth a punt with this new guy, you never know.’

‘I’ll try and get in to see him over the summer,’ Rachel replied, breaking the embrace from her sister and grabbing the last of the wooden animals to add to Harry’s tower of jungle wildlife. ‘Can I make a drink?’

‘Of course,’ Holly said. ‘I’ve got some organic fair-trade matcha tea in the kitchen.’

‘Is that the super-energising stuff?’ Rachel asked. ‘After being up with Harry last night, I could certainly do with a lift.’

‘Honestly, it’ll keep you going until midnight!’ Holly said. ‘Go on… you know you want to.’

‘All right,’ Rachel replied. ‘But if I end up buzzing around Willowbury like a wasp for the rest of the day, I’m blaming you.’

‘Fair enough. And make me a cup, too,’ Holly called as Rachel disappeared up the stairs to Holly’s flat above the shop. Popping the dustpan and brush behind the counter again, she continued the conversation, since Rachel had left the door to the flat open. ‘Perhaps I should give this new guy the benefit of the doubt,’ she said, adjusting the labels on the jars of dried herbs and plants on the dresser so they all pointed uniformly outwards. ‘After all, new blood could be a good thing.’

‘Perhaps we should be fair and reserve judgement until he’s been in the job a few months,’ Rachel said over the bubble of the kettle. ‘You never know, he could be just the tonic this place needs, politically.’

‘You always try to look on the bright side, don’t you?’

BOOK DETAILS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fay Keenan was born in Surrey and raised in Hampshire, before finally settling in the West Country. When Fay is not chasing her children around or writing, she teaches English at a local secondary school. She lives with her husband, two daughters, a cat, two chickens and a Weimaraner called Bertie in a village in Somerset, a county which provides her with endless inspiration for her novels.

Fay’s new novel ‘The Weekender’, published by Boldwood Books, is released on 28th November and was inspired by an old photograph, a lifelong love of politics, the iconic town of Glastonbury and the campaign for cystic fibrosis drugs. When Holly meets Charlie, sparks will fly! Available in paperback, ebook and audio, this novel was a real passion project.

Fay’s bestselling ‘Little Somerby’ trilogy explores the lives and loves of the residents of an idyllic Somerset village. Sprinkled with a liberal dose of cider and sauce, these novels are perfect for curling up with! Published by Aria Fiction, they are available in paperback, audio and ebook.

Connect with Fay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the most up to date news!

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

  • Fay Keenan’s website: https://faykeenan.com
  • Fay Keenan on Boldwood Books website: Fay Keenan
  • Fay Keenan on Instagram: @faykeenan
  • Fay Keenan on Facebook /faykeenanauthor
  • Fay Keenan on Twitter: @faykeenan

Amazon link to The Weekender : https://amzn.to/2NpI9Ur

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER

Boldwood Books is a brand new, independent, global fiction publishing house.
Based on the principles of a true partnership with authors, consumers and team members Boldwood is seeking out the best stories from around the world, from both new and established writers, and bringing them, in all formats, to readers everywhere.
Founded by a team with over 50 years success in fiction publishing it promises to be innovative but experienced, fearless but responsible, and lots of fun!

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