Audrey, recently widowed, is not saying why she left her comfortable home in the south of England to move into an old school boarding house on the edge of a moor. Tina, a young estate agent, is concerned for Audrey’s safety as she believes the folklore about a schoolboy who never went home. Property developers, annoyed at losing a site ripe for demolition, make plans to encourage Audrey to sell. Malcolm, a charming widower, brings a welcome light into Audrey’s life until it shines into a very dark corner…
Introducing a new character to a reader whilst still progressing the story requires great skill. There was a time when authors would stop the plot to describe a character but readers are way too impatient these days. Character descriptions have to be included almost subliminally and I think that Romola Farr introduces us to Tina Small particularly well. (Merlin Ward, Wildmoor Press)
Tina Small hated carrying clients in her white VW Golf, but it was part of the job. She was usually good at relaxed chit-chat but on this occasion she had something to hide and the elegant woman sitting beside her as they drove through the former mill town was tugging at her usually immune, estate agent’s conscience. How had she let this happen? She should have sent a taxi. She had broken her own golden rule and allowed Audrey Willatt to penetrate her tough enamelled veneer. Never like a client, her boss had warned her, and she never had, until now.
‘Has the sale of the boarding house provoked much local interest?’ Audrey asked, breaking the long silence.
Tina felt the blood rushing up her neck and spilling out across her cheeks. Thankfully, she had applied plenty of make-up so, with luck, her client wouldn’t notice. Blushing was for losers and she had worked hard to train her brain not to do it. At one point she’d gone to a hypnotist but, ultimately, it was Tina’s determination that had won through – until now. Her body felt hot as blood, pumped by guilt, flooded into surface veins, undoing years of hard work. She was a blusher and always would be. Fortunately, her hot ears were hidden by her blonde hair, but she could not hide her discordant breathing.
Her mother had suffered from panic attacks for years. Was this one? She had to get a grip. She knew she was smart, too smart to go to university.
‘Why should I waste my life and money going to a school for grown-ups when I can get on with my career right now?’ she had told her disappointed parents.
Now, twenty-one and with three years’ working for what she had helped become the area’s leading sales and lettings agency, she was experiencing her first major trauma.
Thank you, Romola Farr and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
“I started my working life in the theatre and was very lucky to find myself on the West End stage in a hit play at the age of 16. My career and life nearly ended there as I was knocked down by a car on the way home one Saturday night. I recovered and went on to be quite a successful photographic model. Later, when that part of my career did die, I turned to writing and made quite a good living writing screenplays, making films, and writing advertising copy for a marketing company. A few years ago I entered a short-story competition and fell in love with prose and knew I had to tell my own story within a fictional framework. At the moment I am hiding behind a nom de plume.”
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