Excerpt tour for Find Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt...

The children trooped silently behind Harriet as she fumbled with the keys and then opened the door to number two. The smell of fresh paint and emptiness hit her like a smack in the face. It was the smell of fresh starts, and she didn’t want one.
She stepped inside, reaching for the lights. Although it was only four in the afternoon it was already getting dark, the skies heavy and low with gray clouds. Spring felt a long way off, despite the fact that it was mid-February, and the spattering of snowdrops interspersed with an early crocus or two that she’d seen on the drive in.
“This is it?” Mallory’s voice rang through the empty space, scornful and incredulous. William kicked at the skirting board, scuffing the pristine white paint. Chloe stuck her thumb in her mouth.
“Yes, this is it,” Harriet said, trying to pitch her tone somewhere between firm and bright. “It’s lovely, isn’t it?” And depressingly small, at least compared to their old house. Their real house. The downstairs was open plan, with a low counter separating the L-shaped living area from the kitchen, which had a tiny range compared to the Aga she’d left behind, and the bland blond wood units and black fake granite countertops made her miss her distressed oak cabinets and marble counters.
There was a woodstove and French windows overlooking a tiny scrap of garden, and built-in bookshelves that were nice enough, but… it was a far cry from what they’d had, the space and luxury and elegance. But, still. A house. A place to live. And they were together and healthy and she would do her damnedest to count what blessings she had left. Harriet took a deep breath.
“Let’s look at the upstairs.”
Silently the children followed her up the narrow stairs to a small landing with four doors leading off it to three bedrooms and a bathroom.
“William, this is yours,” Harriet said as she opened doors and started allocating rooms. “And Chloe and Mallory, this is yours—“
“Wait, what?” Mallory’s voice was an outraged screech. “I’m sharing a room… with Chloe?”
“There are only three bedrooms, Mallory,” Harriet said patiently. At least she hoped she sounded patient. “I told you before—“
“No. You didn’t.”
All right, maybe she hadn’t, because she was so tired and she’d wanted to avoid yet another confrontation. And everything with Mallory felt like a confrontation. Back at the Old Rectory, her daughter’s bedroom had been enormous with an ensuite bathroom and a walk-in closet that had its own window.
When Mallory had been younger she’d taken her duvet and curled up in the corner of her closet to read. Sometimes Harriet had joined her, snuggling under the duvet and reading from The Magic Faraway Tree. Those days seemed like a very long time ago. Harriet sighed.
“Plenty of children share bedrooms, Mallory. I know it’s different and difficult, but—“
“This sucks,” Mallory snapped, and stormed downstairs, the front door slamming behind her. Harriet’s body sagged. It did suck. She couldn’t argue with that. She couldn’t magic money out of thin air, either. This was their reality… until Richard found another high-flying job in finance. Which he would. He had to.

And as for them, their marriage… a pang hit her straight in the heart and she rubbed her chest. She’d been having anxiety attacks at night, when she’d climbed into bed, exhausted and yet wide-eyed. She’d lie there, staring at the ceiling, desperate to be asleep, as her heart raced and her palms went slick. It took a huge effort of will to try to calm herself down. She couldn’t think about her and Richard yet.
Blurb: Welcome to Willoughby Close… a charming cluster of cozy cottages, each with a story to tell and a happy ending to deliver…

Harriet Lang had the perfect life, so she's left reeling when everything is taken from her in one fell swoop. Suddenly, Harriet learns her beautiful farmhouse in the Cotswolds is double-mortgaged, her husband Richard’s been unceremoniously fired—and he’s become a little too close to his young, sexy assistant.

Harriet moves into Willoughby Close with her three children, trying to hold her head up high. With the help of her neighbor and newfound friend Ellie Matthews, Harriet starts to rebuild her life--but dipping a toe in the dating pool feels strange and meanwhile her children are struggling in different ways. She wonders if starting over is really possible...

Then Willoughby Close begins to weave its healing magic on both her and her children, and Harriet begins to see a way forward. She even starts to date sexy local vet Tom Roberts--but when Richard reappears in her life, wanting to make amends, Harriet must make the painful decision about how much of the past can be forgiven—and what kind of future she is fighting for.

About Kate Hewitt: Kate is the USA Today-bsetselling author of over 40 books of women's fiction and romance. She is the author of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, set in England's Lake District and published by Penguin. She is also, under the name Katharine Swartz, the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell. Other series include the Emigrants Trilogy, the Amherst Island Trilogy, and the Falling For The Freemans series.

She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women's fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in the English Cotswolds with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can read about her life at http://www.acumbrianlife.blogspot.co.uk.

No comments

Post a Comment