When Julia’s husband leaves her, and their small son Matty, to live with another woman, her friends – especially Caroline and Vick – rally round to help. But when Julia starts a new relationship after a chance meeting, her friends are not quite as supportive.
Julia sees Brendan, the quietly spoken IT guy who comes round to fix her computer, as a loving and protective man and – as time passes – a potential father figure for Matty. Caroline and Vick, on the other hand, see him as jealous, controlling and potentially dangerous. He appears to be a man with a secret past.
What her friends don’t know is that Julia has secrets of her own and, if they get out, they will almost certainly shatter her fragile domestic bliss.
Landsliding is a compelling drama that turns your expectations on their head with a subtle twist to leave you wondering where your sympathies truly lie.
*****beginning of extract*****
We’ve watched as Julia and Brendan get together, to the dismay of her friends Caroline and Vick who think it’s all happening far too quickly. This is the first time in the novel that we hear Brendan’s point of view.
It was mid August, and Brendan had left another shirt in Julia’s flat. That made a total of four now hanging neatly in her wardrobe and he was cheered by the sight; it offered a pleasing sense of permanence, though his past had shown him that nothing could be taken for granted.
Having known her now for ten weeks, he found it hard to believe how safe, how comfortable he was in Julia’s company. Hopefully she felt the same way, he mused, nosing his Peugeot through streams of early evening traffic. The pavements gleamed moistly, reminding him of last Sunday when he, Matty and Aaron had been caught in a sudden shower after leaving the common.
He planned to make that outing a regular weekly event. Seeing Matty’s face light up when he first suggested it had made him feel triumphant; a success as a stand-in father. When the boy blurted out: ‘Can Aaron come too? Like he used to with Daddy …‘ and Julia showed no reaction, Brendan had tried to defuse any awkwardness by suggesting the boys took their bikes to the common.
In fact the three of them had chosen to walk there, Matty bouncing his football, and time flew past as they re-enacted a Spurs victory and searched for wild blackberries to take home to Julia. Arriving back at the flat, dazed by fresh air and activity, Brendan had for a moment wanted to weep with joy at the domestic perfection of it all. Julia, Sunday lunch, the two happy little boys; his sense of completeness was overwhelming.
Now nearly back in Wandsworth, he smiled at the memory of last night. Sex with Julia had turned out to be a revelation. At first he was reticent, embarrassed to admit his fears that he might prove disappointing or incapable of making love at all. His few miserable one-nighters since Gail’s departure had left him nervous about something which once seemed so natural. But Julia was shy, apprehensive about sex with a new partner, and Brendan found her diffidence a turn-on. He enjoyed being the more experienced; the one to lead the way.
Their relationship had moved on quickly, yet he didn’t feel they’d rushed things. It had been easy to fall into a pattern of staying some nights at Julia’s during the week and now he spent part of every weekend there too. He revelled in doing simple tasks for her: carrying heavy shopping, removing large spiders, or tackling maintenance jobs in the flat. One Monday when Julia was hit by a sudden sickness bug, he’d taken Matty to school and picked him up from football practice.
Since Harry’s departure, Julia had explained when they first met in June, Matty’s personality had become more subdued. But with a new male figure to talk to about his beloved Spurs, to pick him up from Cubs and chess, and, now, to take him to the common on Sundays, the boy was blossoming. He rarely mentioned his father and occasionally Brendan dared wonder if perhaps Matty could be starting to forget about Harry altogether.
Everything, or nearly everything, was perfect. He could hardly believe his good fortune at meeting Julia — desirable, lovely Julia who was so grateful for his arrival in her life — and her attractive boy of exactly the right age. The main concern now, he thought as he parked neatly outside Julia’s flat, was the intrusive existence of her friends.
***** end of extract*****
Originally from Manchester, Mandy Jameson spent ten years living in southwest France where Landsliding, her first novel, was written with the encouragement of a prolific writing group.
Now settled in Sussex with her daughter, her passions include football, chocolate and walking on the Downs.
She blogs at pifflepages.com.
Landsliding was released on 13th April 2020 by Lightning Books. Click to view on Amazon UK.