Today I am joining the blog tour for And Then She Shines: A Collection of Novelettes by Helen Libby. Many thanks Helen for allowing me to share an extract from one of these novelettes, Finding Ella. Thanks also to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour.
Five women, five different issues, five ‘feel-good’ reads.
And Then She Shines brings together brings together four previously published novelettes, along with Helen Libby’s new story, Cassie’s Choice.
Can you keep a secret? All the clothes Ruby’s bought may have filled her wardrobe, but they haven’t helped her to feel fulfilled. She’s been holding back on her dream of travelling for years. And now Ruby’s in debt. A LOT of debt. She’s so ashamed. She doesn’t want anyone to know, not even her boyfriend, David. He’s so careful with money – he wouldn’t understand. Ruby’s trying to change. She wants financial stability AND a good relationship. Will she be able to resolve her debt before David discovers her secret?
Stay or go? Anna’s a romantic. She loves musical theatre, but her life is a far cry from her favourite shows. When her boyfriend Joe tells her he doesn’t love her anymore, she doesn’t know what to do. Anna just wants to be loved, but Joe suffers from depression, and they’ve both been unhappy for a long time. A last minute trip to Paris gives Anna some time to reflect, and shows her whether life can ever really be like a musical.
“People who love me leave me.” Laura makes a New Year’s resolution – to find her birth mother. She needs answers. What she doesn’t need is a relationship, so when things start getting serious between her and Rob, she does her best to hold back. Only Rob won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, and Laura is torn. Will Laura find her birth mother? And will love find a way?
He knows everything about her. The only thing she knows about him is that he’s her husband. Can she fall in love with him for a second time? Ella’s lost her memory – the last ten years of her life. Her friends and family want her to slot back into place, only it’s not that easy. Will Ella’s memory return? Does she need to remember her husband in order to love him again? Join Ella on her journey of self-discovery.
“Something is missing from my life, and I can’t pinpoint what it is. Could it be a baby? Maybe.”
What if you think you want a child, but your partner doesn’t? It’s time for Cassie to make her mind up. Does she want a baby, or not? If she does, is she willing to leave her beloved husband, Alex, in order to start again? Can you miss something you’ve never had? Does Cassie need a baby in order to feel fulfilled? So many questions, and she’s running out of time.
This extract is taken from the first chapter of Finding Ella.
I remember my husband, I remember my husband, I remember my husband. It’s my daily mantra, because as each day passes and I still don’t remember Luke, hope dims a little more. I rub my head as if to coax out ten years’ worth of missing memories. I’m scared I’m stuck this way, in my head a twenty-four-year-old administrator with a boyfriend called Oliver; to the world a thirty-four-year-old writer with a husband called Luke. My doctor says my memory could return at any moment, but Luke’s face each morning when he realises I still don’t remember him makes me feel like a failure.
I scrutinise myself again in the hand-held mirror a nurse gave me. Wavy shoulder-length hair, which starts off brunette and gradually changes to blonde at the ends. Is this some trend?
I have shadows under my eyes which make them look the colour of a tarnished penny, when they’re usually brighter than that. Still the same chickenpox scar on my jawline, and a newly acquired cut on my forehead.
It’s only after seeing my reflection that I’ve accepted what everyone is telling me, that it’s 2018. It’s been five days since I hit my head after tripping on some stairs in a multistorey car park (of which I remember precisely nothing), and it’s been decided that I’m now fit to go home, which quite frankly scares the shit out of me. Okay, so the cuts and bruises are healing, but mentally – emotionally – I’m not ready.
I’m going to have to live with a man who I don’t know. No one else seems to think there’s anything wrong with this, not Luke, nor my mum, not the neurologist, nor the nurse I’ve got quite friendly with. They all say going home is a good thing, whilst the only thing I want to do is see Olly.
I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t sitting by my bedside when I first woke up. Mum later told me that we broke up almost ten years ago, and to be honest I wasn’t all that surprised. We were more like roommates towards the end. I’d love to see him again – another familiar face – but I daren’t tell anyone that. I don’t think it would go down very well.
So go “home” I must and the only way I can get through it is by pretending I’m playing a part. Luke’s on his way to pick me up. Mum, Tom (Luke’s friend), and Megan (my best friend, apparently) will be waiting at the house. It doesn’t matter that Mum’s the only one I remember, it will delay the moment I have to be on my own with Luke.
Luke seems nice enough – he’s been very patient, but I feel so awkward with him. What are we going to talk about? The weather? Politics? Popular culture? Just like we have the past few days, but which freaked me out because so much has changed. In my 2008 world Gordon Brown is Prime Minister, not Theresa May; Prince Harry has had to end his stint in Afghanistan early and isn’t married to an actress; Donald Trump is still a businessman rather than the US President (how did that happen?). And as for Brexit – what?
Luke brought in some photographs, but I didn’t want to look at them; it was too weird. ‘That’s not me,’ I kept wanting to say when I saw myself in the clichéd white meringue wedding dress. I did take some comfort from the fact that I – we – looked happy in those photos.
I remember my husband, I remember my husband, I remember my husband. I will remember my husband, won’t I?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Originally from North Wales, Helen currently lives in Shropshire with her husband and their dog. Helen worked for many years in the public sector and has an administrative background. She writes both fiction and non-fiction. As well as being an indie author, Helen is a self-publishing consultant, offering editorial, self-publishing, and writing services. To find out more, please go to: http://www.helen-edwards.co.uk
Make sure you visit the other blogs taking part in the tour to find out more about this collection of novelettes.