A Hint Of An American Romance Blooming In Time To Shine?

Posted at 20:28pm on 17th July 2015

And another excerpt from my latest novel, Time to Shine, which has gained more 5* reviews since the last taster on my blog.  Sorry that the photos of the sky don't quite match the description in the book.

Here, Evie Adams, with a broken marriage behind her, takes some time out from counselling her client, Julia Worth, to show a new American friend around the delights of Exeter's canal, and fills him in on some of the Roman history of the city.

TIME TO SHINE

I hope it's not my imagination, but Scott's eyes appear to light up as he steps off the train and sees me.  It's been a long time since anyone of the opposite sex has shown any interest in me.  And though I'm not entertaining any notion of romance in the air, it's a good feeling.  A cloudless blue sky and crisp winter air add to my sense of wellbeing.

'All set for a day steeped in history?' I ask, aware of his penchant for all things ancient.

'I know we Yanks are notorious,' he responds with a smile that reveals the gleaming white teeth you'd expect of a nationality known for its orthodontic perfection.  'Can't get enough of it because we've so little of our own.'

'I've never been to America so I wouldn't know.  But you'll find plenty to interest you here.  There's been a quayside in Exeter since Roman times.'

Aware of my every need - his hand at my back to steady me on the bus, a gallant ushering into my seat - Scott succeeds, nevertheless, in looking utterly relaxed and debonair.  He's a head-turner, that's for sure.  And though I can't imagine who endowed him with such height and stature, given Nancy's tiny frame and that she's a blood relative, I can, and do, bask in his presence.

We alight from the bus and make our way to the visitor centre and ticket office.  Scott insists on paying our admission fees, which I'm more than happy to permit, and we walk in until we're standing at the water's edge where the River Exe and the Exeter Shipping Canal converge to become the Canal Basin.

'Whoa!'  Scott is clearly impressed.

A jumble of ancient buildings, boats and taverns surrounds us, plus a few tourists - and the smell of fish pervades the air.

'So what sort of trade would the locals have been involved in?' Scott asks, turning this way and that to take it all in.

'Wool,' I reply.  'Or more precisely, woollen cloth.  Down at Cricklepit Mill.  We can walk there later.'

'And was it a money-spinner?' Scott laughs.  'Excuse the pun.'

I grin, happy to know that today is going to be fun.

'Very much so.  In fact St Nicholas Priory, which I hope to take you to just up the hill, was the home of one of Exeter's most successful wool merchants.'

'And the canal was the means of shipping it out to the world?'

'It was eventually.  In the early days, the river was navigable as far as Exeter.  But I think round about the 13th or 14th century there was a bit of trouble between rival merchants.  The quay became redundant for a while when some of them built weirs further down to prevent cargoes getting up or down from here.'

'Trade wars.  Somewhat contentious!'

A hint of nostalgia in Scott's voice makes me wonder if he's still mourning the demise of his marriage.  However, as he's not mentioned it, and I have only the scantest of detail from Guy, I can hardly ask.  I turn to him, cheerfully.

'Well, as they say, where there's a will there's a way.  That's why the canal was built, to get round the obstacles.'

'Sounds like a plan.'  Scott grins down at me and we stand in silence for a moment until a thought occurs to me.

'Except that they then built the Customs' House to ensure that they all paid their dues.  Party poopers!'

For some ridiculous reason, this strikes us both as hilarious.  We break into spontaneous and companionable hoots of laughter before setting off to walk down the tow-path to the locks.

***

Julia walked up the steps to Evie's counselling room.  There was little laughter in her household these days, she reflected.  With less than a week to go until Christmas, she felt, as she and the children put up the decorations and dressed the tree, that she was on a roller coaster.  NOW READ ON . . .

Time to Shine is available from amazon.com as well as amazon.co.uk my book page, or any good bookshop.

Contact the publisher, Malcolm Down Publishing for retail distribution 

An engrossing story of two very different women
By E. Watkins on 16 July 2015
I quickly became engrossed in this story of two very different women. I was reading two other fascinating books when I got this; they were put to one side and remained unread until I had finished Time to Shine.
Julia Worth seems to have it all, good looks, three healthy children, a successful husband who can provide her with a beautiful home, designer wardrobe, beauty treatments, holidays in the sun. Yet she is deeply distressed, and seeks the help of a professional counsellor. Evie Adams is successful in her field, compassionate, wise and perceptive, yet she too struggles with her own demons of failure, heartbreak and loss. Events link the two women above and beyond the counselling sessions, and enable them to grow and develop in ways they would never have dreamed of. The writing is vivid and real. Some sentences are priceless, like this description of a dour bus-driver: 'Dough-faced, he is unresponsive. Knead him and prove him, stick him in the oven to cook, and he'd still fail to rise and show a little humour, I suspect.'
I believe this is the first of a series - look forward to the next one!

I believe this is the first of a series - I look forward to the next Evie Adams story!

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27th April 2017
at 6:48am
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