I have managed to bag myself the opening spot on this very extensive Blog Tour, along with the chance to read a lovely story, set in Cornwall, one of my most favourite counties in the UK.
Aria Fiction have organised another list of amazing bloggers, who will be sharing extracts, interviews and guest posts, over the coming days. So why not stop by and visit a few of them to show your support and discover more about the Cottage On A Cornish Cliff’ by Kate Ryder.
COTTAGE ON A CORNISH CLIFF
Returning to the heart of her beloved Cornwall, Kate Ryder weaves another deliciously irresistible tale of desire, jealousy and the search for understanding, set against the stunning backdrop of the glorious Lizard Peninsula.
Globally renowned actor Oliver Foxley has made the most difficult decision of all and set the love of his life free, in order to try and bring his family back together. But there’s a magnetic pull back to both Cara and Cornwall that Oliver can neither deny nor resist…
Heartbroken for a second time in her short life, single mother Cara knows she has no choice but to pick up the pieces yet again and carry on. Perhaps a complete change of scenery would help her, and her young family? Yet her mind, spirit and heart yearn for the windswept shores of her Cornish Cove…
Cara and Oliver face the agonising choice between following expectations, or following their hearts. How will their story end…?
She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors.
Her self-published debut novel, The Forgotten Promise, received a Chill with a Book, “Book of the Month” Award.
Kate currently lives with her husband and a collection of animals, in the Tamar Valley, in a renovated 200-year-old Cornish sawmill.
She finds the Cornish landscape a great source of inspiration.
When she is not writing she enjoys reading, art, theatre and travel.
Keep up with all Kate’s latest news at her website
Follow Kate on Twitter
I’ve always believed in the phrase “variety is the spice of life” and over the years this has led to wide-ranging employment… but always it comes back to the written word. Within publishing I was employed as a proof reader, copy editor and chief writer for a couple of specialist magazines, a national newspaper and a paperback book publisher.
As I have the pleasure of kicking off this Blog Tour, it seems appropriate for me to share these opening lines from the first chapter of the book.
I shall also be linking the post, albeit a little late, to last Fridays ‘Book Beginnings On Friday’ meme, to which I am a regular contributor in order to spread the word a little further afield!
Narrowing her eyes against a blast of bitter wind coming in off the sea, Cara pushes the buggy along Harbour Road. In its prominent position at the edge of the ocean, the Bickford Smith Institute is battered by a sudden explosion of surf, and huddled on the surrounding cliffs an assortment of houses jostle with their neighbours – restaurants, pubs, shops, art galleries – as if attempting to gain a modicum of warmth from the other. No defined horizon separates the ocean from the sky; all is grey, except for a herd of white horses cresting the waves. Yet, even portrayed in this drab palette, the little harbour town of Porthleven retains a beauty and charm of its own.
If this were a Farrow & Ball colour chart, thinks Cara, it would be Purbeck Stone through Mole’ s Breath!
The wind, punishing anyone brave or foolish enough to be out in its force, catches at Cara’ s hair, snatching it from her beanie and whipping it across her face before she has a chance to turn into the relative stillness of the courtyard. The gallery lights are on and she sees her mother clearing the last remaining items from the shelves. Turning the buggy in a circle, Cara backs into the doorway and pushes the door open with her bottom.
‘Here, let me …’ Carol says, rushing to hold open the door for her daughter.
‘That wind,’ exclaims Cara, ‘it’s biting!’ She manoeuvres the pushchair into the warmth of the gallery.
‘Roll on spring,’ Carol says, firmly closing the door on the February chill.
Cara takes off her beanie, freeing her long blonde hair, and removes her jacket. She glances around the empty space. ‘Doesn’t it look spacious?’
Carol nods. ‘It’ s surprisingly large without all the display stands.’ She bends down to release her newest grandson from the constraints of his pushchair. As she lifts him out the toddler’s face breaks into a smile. ‘Good morning, beautiful boy,’ she says, kissing his podgy cheek.
Cara unhooks a hessian bag hanging from the buggy’s handles and, walking to the sales counter, empties out its contents. She extracts a soft toy and holds it out to her son.
‘Well, young Toby, what’s Mummy got there?’ Carol says. Placing the little boy’s feet on the ground, she holds firmly onto his hands and walks him towards his mother and the smiling yellow teddy bear with the smart tartan bow tie.
He covers the ground surprisingly quickly for someone so chubby, thinks Cara.
She smiles affectionately at her son. As she hands over the bear, the little boy bounces with excitement.
Suddenly the entrance door flies open and in rushes Sheila, along with a blast of cold air. Her face is vivid red and the large padded coat only accentuates her small, squat frame.
‘Oh my, it’s a bit fresh out today!’ She unbuttons her coat. ‘Hello, my ’ansum,’ she says to Toby. The little boy smiles and holds out his yellow teddy to her. ‘That’s a beaut, but you hold onto it, my lovely.’
‘Why are you dressed like that?’ Carol asks, scrutinising her friend’s leopard-skin print, Spandex top and tights.
‘New Zumba class in the village hall,’ Sheila says, shaking her booty and striking a pose. Cara stifles a laugh. ‘It’s brill. You ought to come with me.’
‘I’ll give that particular experience a miss if you don’t mind. Unlike you, I can’t get away with wearing Spandex these days!’ Carol teases.
‘Oh, there are all shapes and sizes. You’d fit right in,’ Sheila says, winking at Cara.
‘Well, thank you very much, dear friend,’ says Carol.
Sheila laughs. ‘You know what I mean!’
‘Luckily, I do,’ Carol says with a laugh. ‘However, I think I’ll stick to my yoga classes.’
Sheila gazes around the empty room. ‘So, where do you want us to start, Cara?’
‘There are dust sheets out the back and brushes and rollers, and I’ve bought white emulsion by the truckload! There’s also a stepladder. I’ll just sort out Toby and then get stuck in myself.’
As Cara peels Toby out of his snowsuit, Carol and Sheila scuttle into the back room.
‘Just look at all these lovely toys,’ Cara says, carrying her son to a playpen in the far corner of the gallery. The little boy wriggles. As she places him amongst his toys he beams up at her.
‘You are one happy little chap, aren’t you? How can we be sad with you around?’ Unable to catch herself in time, Cara thinks back to that long, hot summer when her deeply ingrained, all-encompassing sadness evaporated due to one particular man. Unbidden, Oliver’s handsome face and distinctive voice come to her and, briefly, she allows herself the indulgence of feeling again. But as soon as the moment presents itself she pulls herself up short. She cannot go there. She has to be in the here and now, otherwise she will be lost. Cara blows her son a kiss and turns at the sound of her mother’s and Sheila’s voices. Having peeled herself out of the Spandex, Sheila now wears pristine white painting overalls.
‘Very practical, Sheila!’ Cara suppresses another smile as she gathers her hair into a high ponytail and secures it with a scrunchie.
‘You know me, dear. I always dress for the occasion!’
The three women happily set about painting the gallery and time passes quickly in the busy, companionable atmosphere. Some hours later, they stand back to assess their work.
‘Well, girls, what do you think?’ Sheila asks.
‘A lot fresher,’ says Carol.
‘Painting white on white is always tricky, but what a difference,’ Cara says, placing her roller in a paint tray. ‘It always astounds me how grubby the walls get through the season. I mean, it’s not as if it’s dirty work we do here!’
‘Must be all those emmets rubbing their greasy palms over the walls after they’ve had fish and chips for lunch,’ comments Sheila.
‘Don’t you be saying that,’ says Carol with a laugh. ‘No greasing of palms goes on here.’ Sheila chortles. ‘I’ll prepare lunch,’ continues Carol. ‘What do you want to drink? Coffee or wine?’
‘We definitely deserve wine!’ says Sheila. ‘I’ll get the glasses.’
‘There’s a bottle of white in the fridge,’ Cara calls out after Sheila’s rapidly disappearing figure, ‘but I’d best stick to juice until Toby’s fully weaned.’ She takes off her painting shirt, hangs it over a stool and walks towards the playpen, where her son contentedly plays with his toys.
‘Mama.’ The little boy holds out his arms to her.
Cara stops in her tracks. This is a milestone!
Emerging from the kitchen with glasses, wine and juice, Sheila exclaims, ‘Oh my God, Carol! Did you hear that?’
‘Yes,’ says Carol. ‘The little man is growing up fast.’ She smiles affectionately at her daughter.
‘Time for you to have some lunch too, young Tobias,’ says Cara, lifting him out of the playpen and carrying him to a chair at the back of the gallery. She sits down and raises her sweatshirt. As soon as she offers him a breast Toby latches on.
‘You’re lucky to have such an easy babe,’ comments Sheila, pouring wine into a glass. ‘Not a bit teasy.’
‘Yes,’ Cara agrees. ‘Beth and Sky were also good.’
WHAT IS ‘BOOK BEGINNINGS’ ?
Would the first few lines of your book make you want to read on?
If so, would you like to share them with us, (without revealing too many spoilers of course) ?
Visit your host, Gilion @ ‘Rose City Reader’
You can then leave a link to your own book beginnings post, or just browse for some great reads, there are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.
Don’t forget that Gilion and all the other contributors to this meme love to hear from you, so why not leave a comment or two at the same time?
I can’t wait to do a little blog hopping myself and check out all the great Book Beginnings you have!