Today I’m welcoming Janet Hoggarth who is joining me with the blog tour for her book, The Single Mums Move On.
Can neighbours become more than good friends…
After her husband left her, Ali and her daughter Grace enjoyed living in what became known as ‘the Single Mums’ Mansion’. However, with her best friends Amanda and Jacqui moving on, it’s time for Ali and Grace to make their own way. Thankfully, a chance conversation leads to them moving into the infamous South London gated community known only as ‘The Mews’.
In ‘The Mews’ everyone lives in each other’s pockets and curtain twitching is an Olympic sport. The neighbours are an eclectic bunch – from Nick the alleged spy, Carl the gorgeous but clearly troubled Idris Elba lookalike, to Debbie who is about to face the hardest fight of her life, and TV agent Samantha who is not as in control as she likes to pretend.
Each day brings another drama, but along with the tears, real friendships grow. And her neighbours’ problems might unlock the key to something Ali has yearned for all along…
Based on a true story – you’ll never be able to look at your neighbours quite the same way again…
Janet has very kindly shared an extract with us today. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
‘I hate everyone looking at me,’ Amanda said tremulously, holding on to her dad’s arm as we waited for the music to start in the antechamber of Rye Town Hall. ‘What if I cry?’
‘You’re supposed to cry at weddings!’ Jacqui said, rolling her eyes. ‘No one’s going to tell you off!’
‘Stop catastrophising,’ I said gently. ‘Just enjoy it. It’s your moment!’
However, when the time came to walk down the aisle, I hadn’t heeded my own advice. As soon as the impressively ornate doors opened and the town crier rang his bell to announce us, I spotted Ifan standing next to Jacqui’s Mark, his hand proprietorially on Grace’s shoulder, eagerly waiting. The first thought that burned in the back of my mind was: I can’t marry a shop assistant. I swiftly berated myself for being such a snob, but in reality, he didn’t earn enough money to support us if we had a child.
He mouthed ‘I love you’ as I passed him and the predictable waterworks switched on. What did I even want? Why did weddings alwaysemphasise all the glaring faults in my own life? Cue tender violin music playing a dulcet tune and a close-up of my face as I realise yet again, I am the bridesmaid and not the bride. Cut away to Ifan, looking longingly at me. STOP IT! I had been editing and imagining my inner movie since I was eight when I first saw Nine to Fiveand realised I wanted to be a combination of Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton when I grew up.Other leading ladies I’d cast in my internal film over the years included various girl crushes of the moment: Molly Ringwald during the John Hughes era; Julia Roberts when Pretty Womanand Mystic Pizzawere released; Claire Danes when she starred in My So-Called Life; but my failsafe overriding choice would always be Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan.
By the time the ceremony was over and we’d all posed for photos on the steps of the town hall, I had pulled myself together. Later that evening in the grand ballroom, still decked out in Christmas regalia for New Year’s Eve the following day, Ifan disappeared from his seat at the top table during Amanda’s dad’s emotional speech in which he thanked all of us for standing by her in her hour of need. Later, I found Ifan escaping, halfway up the hotel’s windy stairs to our room.
‘Where’re you going?’
‘Why? The party’s just about to start.’
‘I don’t belong here.’
‘Yes you do, you’re with me.’
‘No one will ever say those amazing things about me if we get married. Everyone here is so decent. I should go.’
‘Stop being dramatic! Come on, let’s go and dance. I want to see Amanda cut the cake and throw her bouquet.’ He looked uncertain, like he was about to say something and then thought better of it.
‘OK. Sorry. Can men get periods? I think I’ve got mine.’ I play-punched him on the arm as we headed back to the ballroom and the disco, his sweaty hand in mine.
***** end of extract*****
Janet Hoggarth has worked on a chicken farm, as a bookseller, children’s book editor and DJ with her best friend (under the name of Whitney and Britney). She has published several children’s books, the most recent ones written under the pseudonym of Jess Bright. Her first adult novel The Single Mums’ Mansion,a huge bestseller, was based on her experiences of living communally as a single parent.
The Single Mums Move On is available as an eBook now, released by Aria in July with the paperback due to be released on 3rd October 2019.