Mum-of-three Louisa thought she only had her never-ending to-do list to worry about, but the arrival of a ghost from the recent past puts her in an untenable position. Can she navigate the difficult situation she’s in without their friendship becoming common knowledge or will it cause long-term damage to her marriage?
When a family member begins to suspect there’s more to her relationship with the new sous-chef than meets the eye, Louisa needs to think on her feet or she’ll dig herself into a deeper hole. But the cost of keeping her secret, not only from her husband, comes at a high price, one which tugs at her conscience.
With everyday niggles already causing a further rift between Louisa and husband Ronnie, will she manage to keep her family on track whilst her life spirals out of control? And when tragedy strikes, will Ronnie step up when she needs him most?
F is for Family
The Just One Day series has at its core the thread of family and how the lives of family members, immediate and extended, can be interwoven with ours.
I’ve always loved the idea of Italian families, even before I could speak Italian, and how they always sat around the table in big groups: the children, the parents, the grandparents, the aunties, the uncles, having lunch or dinner together, celebrating birthdays, christenings, Christmas, Easter and other special events together.
That has changed a little in the past generation or so, as it has here in the UK. Some families still meet for Sunday lunch, or have Christmas or New Year’s dinner together, or come together to celebrate particularly significant birthdays, but with relatives living in different countries or part of the country, it has become more difficult. That makes it all the sweeter when families can get together – as long as they get along, but you can bet in any family, there’s always someone who gets on another’s nerves. There’s no family without friction!
Mobile phones are great, and have made it easier than ever for families to remain in contact, but it’s no substitute for the real thing, although I’m sure being constantly in contact by phone, text, Whatsapp or Facetime has been used many times as a reason for not having to make the effort to meet up en masse for the big occasions.
But family has at its heart the notion of people who have known you for a long time, possibly all your life, and who have many shared memories with you, perhaps of those very same gatherings, perhaps like Louisa, in the Just One Day series, of the many family holidays they took, and which she and her two sisters continue to take together with their own families, now that they are adults.
Being able to be one hundred per cent yourself, the child inside the adult you’ve become, when surrounded by those who grew up with you and know you best is a wonderful feeling. I am now good friends with people who used to babysit me and change my nappy! And yes, that is a little surreal sometimes!
And family doesn’t need per se to be only the people born into the same biological family as you. Let’s face it, some people loathe their siblings, and are constantly at loggerheads! And some people, unfortunately, no longer have certain family members with them. But they can still find a sense of family, a sense of belonging, a sense of finding their tribe in the friends they surround themselves with.
In Just One Day – Spring, Louisa will find out just what her family and friends mean to her, and gain a healthy respect for those acquaintances who step up in her hour of need.
People slot into our lives for long and short periods. New family members arrive and others, sadly, depart.
Family is what keeps everything ticking along – what helps the world spin on its axis. Louisa’s family is everything to her. It’s at the centre of almost every decision she makes.
Families have shared traditions, whether it’s a Friday movie night, October half-term spent in the Cotswolds – I’m dying to go there, never been! Or watching their favourite football team together of a Saturday.
Sometimes it takes a tragedy to remind us that our family, our tribe, our friends need us. But always remember, we need them just as much.
About the author
Susan Buchanan lives in Scotland with her husband, their two young children and a crazy Labrador called Benji. She has been reading since the age of four and had to get an adult library pass early as she had read the entire children’s section by the age of ten.
Susan writes contemporary fiction, often set in Scotland, usually featuring travel, food or Christmas. When not working, writing, or caring for her two delightful cherubs, Susan loves reading (obviously), the theatre, quiz shows and eating out – not necessarily in that order!
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