The gorgeously indulgent, funny and touching new novel from the bestselling author When Ellie Kendall tragically loses her husband she feels her life is over. But eventually she's ready for a new start - at work, that is. She doesn't need a new man when she has a certain secret visitor to keep her company...Zack McLaren seems to have it all, but the girl he can't stop thinking about won't give him a second glance. If only she'd pay him the same attention she lavishes on his dog. Moving to North London, Ellie meets neighbour Roo who has a secret of her own. Can the girls sort out their lives? Guilt is a powerful emotion, but a lot can happen in a year in Primrose Hill...
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The author of many bestselling novels, most recently TAKE A CHANCE ON ME, Jill Mansell is a full-time writer. She lives in Bristol with her family.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
'Look, are you sure you don't fancy the cinema?' It was Friday, it was f ive o'clock, and Paula was clearing the debris from her off ice desk, cramming makeup back into her oversized handbag, along with her work shoes, a half-full bottle of Fanta, and a packet of Kettle chips to keep her going on the bus home. 'Because if you want to come along, honestly, that'd be great, we'd love to have you with us.'
Ellie was touched; it was like two balloons inviting a hedgehog along on their night out. Two newly-in-love balloons on their romantic night out, at that. It was thoughtful of Paula to make the offer but she wouldn't dream of taking her up on it. Paula and Dan had only been seeing each other for three weeks and Paula was doing her best to pretend she wasn't completely crazy about him, but it was obvious that she was besotted. It was yet another of the alleged 'secrets' she, Ellie, was supposed to be unaware of in order to spare both everyone else's feelings and her own.
'Thanks, but I'm f ine. I want to get to B&Q and pick up the wallpaper I ordered.' Did that sound boring? Oh well, never mind, dull but true.
Paula paused and gave her the sympathetic look she'd come to know so well. Then she said brightly, 'Well, that'll be nice, won't it? When it's done, I mean. Is this for the living room?'
Ellie nodded. There was black mold growing on the living room walls. Since scrubbing it off and painting over it hadn't worked, covering the whole lot with wallpaper appeared to be the next logical step.
'Well, look, if you want some help with that tomorrow, me and Dan could come over and give you a hand if you like. I mean, I've never done any wallpapering before, but it can't be too hard, can it?'
Eek, Paula had enough trouble putting her lipstick on straight.
'You're all right, I can manage it myself.' Grateful for the offer, Ellie slung her bag over her shoulder and gave her a hug. 'Anyway, I won't be doing any tomorrow. Tony's over for a few days and he's taking me out to lunch.'
'He is? Oh, that's great.' Relieved to have been let off the hook, Paula said with enthusiasm, 'You lucky thing!' Then she winced and clapped her hand over her mouth. 'God, sorry. I'm so stupid!'
It had happened dozens of times. Maybe hundreds. No matter how often Ellie told her to stop worrying about it and apologizing, Paula kept right on doing it. At work, everyone did; it was a kind of Pavlovian reaction they couldn't control.
'Anyway, I am lucky. We're meeting at the Ivy.'
'Meeting at the Ivy, eating at McDonald's.'
Paula's eyes widened. 'Really?'
So sweet, so well-meaning, so easy to tease. 'No, not really.' Ellie relented with a smile. 'We'll probably have lunch at the Ivy too.'
'Bloody... bloody... bloody useless sodding stuff...' By midnight Ellie was ready to murder the wallpaper. Hanging on to the stepladder and jabbing wildly at the top right-hand corner of the length she'd been battling to hang for the last forty minutes, she had no hands free to prevent the adjoining section from unpeeling itself and rolling down the wall.
'Right, that's it, I've had enough of you!' Letting out a shriek she launched herself at the f irst bit, missed, and gave the pasted wall a slap that made her palm sting. OK, now the wallpaper had made her so mad she was turning into Basil Fawlty. Time to stop. It wasn't her fault; she'd just been sold unhangable wallpaper or non-stick wallpaper or something. OK, let it all fall down if that's what it wanted to do. Leave it, just step away from the carnage and get a Kit Kat out of the fridge instead.
Returning from the kitchen, Ellie turned her back on the desperate scene-it had all unpeeled itself now-and threw herself down on the sofa. She unwrapped the Kit Kat and began f licking through the TV channels. Ooh, lovely, Sleepless in Seattle, how long had it been on?
Then Jamie came into the living room and joined her on the sofa. He was wearing his old jeans and the pink shirt he'd refused to put on for his school reunion. He wore it a lot these days. Ellie loved to see him in it and she'd been right about the color; it was great on him. She knew what suited Jamie better than he did.
'Great job with the wallpapering.' He grinned at her, sitting sideways with one leg hooked beneath the other and his bare foot inches from her knee.
'I know. I'm brilliant.' Ellie took in every detail of his face, the sparkling blue eyes, the sun-streaked blond hair, the golden tan.
'You should turn professional. People would pay a lot of money to have their homes decorated like this. You know what this is, don't you?' Jamie nodded seriously, indicating the bare walls, the crumpled, fallen-down paper. 'It's postmodern shabby chic.'
'If you'd bothered to give me a hand I might have had more luck,' said Ellie.
'Ah, but it's so much more fun watching you try to do it yourself.'
'You mean you're too lazy to help.'
He smiled sadly at her. 'Oh, sweetheart, I would if I could. You know that.'
Ellie felt the familiar prickle of heat behind her eyes. Of course she knew that. They'd worked so hard together to make this f lat their own. And she wasn't going to cry. 'OK, that's enough, you can go now. I'm going to watch this f ilm.'
He turned his head, gazed at the TV screen with suspicion. As well he might. 'Is it a slushy girlie f ilm?'
He knew her so well. Ellie nodded. 'Oh yes.'
Jamie held up his hands in horror; sci-f i and war movies were more his thing. 'I'll leave you to it. Bye, gorgeous.'
But the film wasn't able to hold her attention tonight. After ten minutes, unable to settle into it, Ellie switched off the TV. She could get Jamie back, but she wouldn't. It was starting to concern her, just slightly, that it wasn't quite normal to be doing what she'd been doing for the last year. Because Jamie wasn't here anymore. And he wasn't a ghost either. All she did was conjure up a mental image of him in her mind, talk to him, and have him talk back as if he were real. At school, her teachers had forever been telling her that she had a vivid imagination. Well, they'd been right. And now she was putting it to good use. Because imagining that Jamie was still around, she had discovered, was actually a really comforting thing to do. Like thumb-sucking or clutching a manky old security blanket, it just made her feel... better. At least, it did while she was actually doing it. Sometimes, afterwards, it made her feel worse, bereft and alone and sadder than ever. But most of the time it was good. If Jamie could appear as a real ghost... well, obviously that would be fantastic, but so far it hadn't happened; he hadn't obliged in that respect and she didn't believe in ghosts anyway. Besides, this way she could be in charge of his clothes. If she wanted Jamie to wear a dinner jacket or a tutu there wasn't a thing he could do about it besides complain bitterly.
Ellie wiped her eyes with the back of her hand; sometimes she didn't realize she'd been crying until the tears slid off her chin and dripped down her neck. She missed Jamie so much she sometimes wondered how she'd managed to carry on, but it had been f ifteen months now, and one way or another she had. Maybe she was going a bit batty, conjuring Jamie up and having imaginary conversations with him, but it was her coping mechanism and she wasn't ready to give it up yet.
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Descrizione libro Headline Review. Hardcover. Condizione libro: Brand New. 8.74x5.63x1.50 inches. In Stock. Codice libro della libreria zk0755355792
Descrizione libro Headline Review, 2011. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110755355792