The story is about a woman called Diane who sets off with her husband, David on a holiday to Australia. But as the story unfolds, Diane’s holiday turns into a different journey to the one she expected.
Here’s what the blurb says:
The Woman Who Lost Her Love: the life-affirming book of the spring!
A heart-warming and uplifting story of a single woman on an emotional journey of rediscovery. Perfect for fans of Mike Gayle, Gail Honeyman and Sarah Haywood.
Meet Diane, a woman in her fifties who’s lost her creativity and love of art. When her husband abandons her en route to their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary in Australia, she is forced to confront the reason he’s left, the prickly woman she has become and the secrets she’s hiding.
As Diane uncovers the passions and creativity she’s been stifling, and meets characters mysteriously connected to her past, will she manage to keep her carefully curated persona in check?
And what is the heartbreaking truth from which she’s desperately trying to flee?
A page-turning holiday read, this emotional popular women’s fiction will have you rooting for single woman Diane to find her inner strength. A book that’s both heartbreaking and heart-warming, about the power of female friendship and the importance of holding onto the passions that make us unique.
“‘EAT, PRAY, LOVE’ MEETS ‘THE MAN WHO DIDN’T CALL’ IN THIS BRILLIANT BOOK.” Goodreads Review
And here’s my little review (five stars)
Brilliant! Diane heads out on holiday to Australia with her husband, David. Except, David is the type to choose Diane’s clothes (the horror!), and he has something to say about her hairdo. Then… as the blurb says, David abandons Diane on the plane. With no husband and no luggage (imagine), Diane has no choice but to continue a journey. Don’t worry, the women in Diane’s life back in England (book club friends and sister) are in her head telling her what to do and how to behave. Then there is her daughter, Bertie, who Diane continually emails and imagines what she would think of her Australian adventures. Diane’s transformation is truly uplifting, and as the plot unfolds, you’ll need something to wipe your tears away with.
I had a great time writing ‘1962: A Nostalgic Tale of 1960s Lancashire’ which I published in 2017. I had an even better time revisiting the book and have relaunched it this week with a new cover. Later, there will also be a collection of four short stories I wrote at the time, all set in 1962. 😊 My dad provided inspiration for this novel. He was a cycling enthusiast, entered races (and won), and he was in his late 20s in 1962 – so the characters were not based on him, or his life story. He just gave me the idea. In 2012, we were watching a programme that marked 50 years since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Dad turned to me and said ‘You know, people were petrified that we would all be blown up, but I just wanted to get a good time in the time trial race I had entered on Sunday.’ This conversation sparked something in me, and the book was born! Dad helped me with a bit of research, including asking everyone he knew if they remembered how they felt about the looming threat of nuclear war in 1962 – as a person living in the north of England. Interestingly, Mum said she hardly remembered anything about it!
I have been lucky enough to join a book promotion called ‘Soulful Reads’which runs from June 19 to July 19. Well worth a nosy, I’ve had a preview of the titles – some will definitely end up on my reading list.
The Queen’s Speech (and other shorts from 1962) is a collection of four short stories I wrote in 2017 when I was researching the novel. I think this prequel will get readers in the mood for reading about 1962.
Unfortunately, there are no MINI’s in the short story collection, just one in the novel.
Happy reading everyone, have a great weekend, Samantha 🙂
I read loads… loads and loads of books everyone is using that word ‘voracious’ these days (huge appetite lol!) I do love reading, and apart from a few of the set books chosen by the Open University, I usually only read what I enjoy.
Anyway… this week I found a book that was right up my street!
After a stunt lands heiress and comedian Alia Henry in lock-up, she finds herself under house-arrest in a crumbling mansion owned by Whitehall International, a company she discovers controls much of her ‘free-range’ life. Detoxing and device-free, she must write her contracted novel or face dire consequences.
But she is not alone on the once-magnificent estate. Phillip, Whitehall’s unquestioning aide-de-camp, intrigues and infuriates her in equal measure and wandering the house at night, she meets Braith, eccentric writer-in-residence and mixer of marvellous cocktails.
Each day she struggles to write but at night, under the light of an increasingly implausible full moon, Alia delights in exotic drinks and dazzling conversation with the mysterious Braith.
Not usually one for asking questions, she wonders is Braith a ghost…?
Or is she?
Funny, smart, and full of heart, Alia Henry discovers what happens when you look up from your screen long enough to see the people in front of you.
Actually, when I started reading this book I wondered if it reminded me of anything else I had read. I think that’s why I liked it so much, it is a good fiction that did not fit into any pigeonhole. Women’s fiction, I reckon. It did remind me in a funny sort of way about a new series I started watching this week – The Flight Attendant starring Kaley Cuoco. Because both of these fictions have a female protagonist who can see ghosts (if that’s what they are!)
Don’t you love France? Alia (short for Thalia – brilliant) is a talented young heiress with a bright future ahead of her… although… things have not always been great; she lost her parents and dealt with this bereavement by drinking.
Oh… and when we meet her, Alia is in a bit of a pickle, getting arrested for a naked stunt in London.
Fortunately (although it feels unfortunate to Alia at first), she ends up on house arrest in a gorgeous Paris chateau with NO MOBILE PHONE (imagine!), and forced to write the children’s novel she is contracted to. At night, the building is different and Alia starts seeing things that others don’t, staircases that others can’t climb, and then she meets Braith, a poet, novelist and charmer.
A brilliant read for those who like a mystical narrative, literature and backing a character who needs a shove in the right direction!
Happy reading everyone! PS, don’t forget to click the link for all the books set in France 🙂 Samantha xx
Well, here it is, the week between Christmas and New Year. This is the week where, traditionally we are all grumpily requesting the return of our routine, because we have all been doing one another’s heads in at home. To be fair, that is how we have been all year, but getting along nicely in the next breath.
You may have eaten too much turkey, you may have had too much fun, you may need to put down the chocolates, wine and sausage rolls.
Curmudgeon Avenue is a six part series set in the actual town of Whitefield, just north of Manchester UK – fictional street. The house grew weary of its nincompoop residents and started writing a diary about the gossip, romance and dramas on the street.
(Unusual second person witness narrated with British English grammar, spelling and turn of phrase)
This final instalment has been great fun to write. A contemporary story, I decided to tell it how it is and include the current global crisis. BUT with three weddings to arrange, a socially distanced hen do and an unexpected turn of events, it was tricky!
Chapter 29: The Day This All Ended
On the day this all ended, the sky was overwrought for the end of December. This year had been going on for quite some time, EVERYONE would say, for longer than reasonably necessary, and some would even say this is the end of an era.
Television programmes clung to the idea of Christmas while folk respectfully requested the return of their routine. Edna and Genevieve had searched high and low for the ghost of Edith, wishing to bid her farewell before their extended French holiday. Despite their sneaky suspicions about the under-the-stairs-door they could not open, they were unable to find her.
Small Paul had not left Number One Curmudgeon Avenue disappointed; of course, Gordon Bennett agreed to be his best man. Zandra Bennett was thrilled too (and even cast aside her dismay at no new wedding outfit. Not even new costume jewellery).
‘Tooooonaaaaan!’ Wantha shouted at the spare room door of number four Curmudgeon Avenue. ‘It’s your weddin’ day, innit!’
‘Alright, Wantha I’ve only just got to sleep, been awake most of the night,’ Toonan said.
‘Toonan! What are you playing at? You’re gonna have bags under your eyes!’
‘Well, I suppose I’ll match Small Paul then, aww his mum’s so sweet she said nowt about his black eye.’
‘Do you want me to go round there and put some concealer on him?’ said Wantha.
‘No, I don’t think so, no thanks Wantha.’
‘The black eye gives him a bit of an edge, I suppose.’
‘Are you alright, Wantha? You look a bit peaky…’ surely nothing else could go wrong with Toonan and Small Paul’s wedding?
Meanwhile, at Number One Curmudgeon Avenue…
‘I don’t know how much more of this I can take,’ said Edith. She had been trapped for days inside her prior sanctuary with a smell and two ex-husbands.
‘How much more of this? We were happy, Edith until Harold came along.’ Reg huffed.
Harold (ghost of) wobbled his head and then stared into nothingness ahead of him. This is how Harold always dealt with confrontation, don’t forget. Pretend it was not happening, yet Edith could hear him, she could hear sniffing and swallowing, sighing and wobbling.
Is it a happy ending? Bitter Sweet that’s how I’d describe it.
A Curmudgeonly Christmas opens with Zandra Bennett’s mother making Christmas plans in August, while Gordon Bennett is out on the street measuring potholes.
Ricky Ricketts and Tanya ‘Wantha’ Rose finally get married (it’s their third attempt). A Zoom wedding means that Wantha forgets all about being walked down the aisle – will she ever find out who her daddy is?
Francesca and Suzanne ‘Toonan’ Rose decide to have a double wedding but Francesca is acting and looking differently to her norm. She thinks her expanding waistline is due to lockdown love handles!
Gil Von Black has doubts about Patchouli, while Small Paul becomes everyone’s hero.
And the ghosts are immune to any and all pandemic restrictions.
A Curmudgeonly Christmas (Curmudgeon Avenue #6) is the final instalment of the Curmudgeon Avenue series and will be published on the 27th of December. Available to pre order from today!
Curmudgeon Avenue has been going on for quite some time. Some would say for longer than is reasonably necessary.
Feeling proper emosh! I have finished writing the Curmudgeon Avenue series with a Christmas special.
Gordon Bennett is obsessed with the size of potholes on the street, Wantha and Ricky may or may not seal the romantic deal. Christmas is coming, and Francesca is getting fat. Patchouli’s past comes back to haunt her – will Gil Von Black be able to cope?
Oh – and the ghosts are immune from any and all pandemic restrictions.
A Curmudgeonly Christmas is intended to provide a bit of light relief during the week between Christmas and New Year. You know the one, that week we are all fed up with eating, drinking and each other!
The book started with Harold Edith and Edna, and the story of how they ended up living together. The series evolved into a social satire about a group of neighbours and their intertwined lives. Gossip, romance, dramas and laughs follow all written with British English spelling and grammar and narrated with a voice typical of how folk say ‘stuff’ in the Northwest of England.
All lighthearted, all easy reads, all a bit of fun.
Audiobooks narrated by the hilarious and talented Lindsay McKinnon.
A convention of comedy-drama is that the narrative ends with a marriage. See Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Love’s Labour’s Lost, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing and Two Gentlemen of Verona.
And more recently, last Christmas’s Gavin and Stacey Christmas special on the BBC ended with an unanswered proposal.
Ha! I bet you thought this post was going to be about Mr Henthorn and me; well, just for fun, here is a photo from our wedding day captured at the moment I realised he had forgotten to organise the ‘signing the register’ music:
Blimey, I don’t look happy do I? I can’t remember what music was supposed to be played, but we signed that certificate in complete silence and it’s been fab ever since.
Being me, is like living in a sitcom, and so it has been a natural process to write the Curmudgeon Avenue series about a house that detests its unlikeable owners.
I am just coming to the end of writing the final instalment of Curmudgeon Avenue ‘A Curmudgeonly Christmas’ which I am hoping to release the week between Christmas and New Year. 2020. (Don’t you agree that the week between Christmas and New Year is a time for curmudgeons to unite?)
I am hoping to put this on pre-order soon, but until the week between Christmas and New Year, here is an excerpt:
Chapter 6: He Learnt From The Best, He Learnt From Wantha.
Tuesday morning came around as so often they do in Whitefield. September had robbed the residents of Curmudgeon Avenue of an Indian summer, and thoughts were starting to turn to Halloween, bonfire night, (and dare I say Christmas).
Wantha Rose was on the warpath yet again. But like a glamorous soap opera actor, she skulked around the street until somebody paid attention to her, keeping her anger just under boiling point.
‘Toonan!’ Wantha shouted through her sister’s letterbox. She rang the doorbell. And after a short wait, the door swung open to reveal Small Paul wearing pyjamas and carrying a bottle of anti-bacterial spray and a dishcloth.
‘Hiya, Wantha. Toonan’s at work, sorry.’ Small Paul started spraying and wiping the letterbox and doorbell button that Wantha had just touched (which looked a bit rude, to be honest. He should have waited).
‘Oh, FFS!’ Wantha was gutted that her sister was not at home. She watched Small Paul polishing his door furniture. Seemingly, he was in the mood for talking (again).
‘I’m not sure what time she’ll be home, but if you need anything, Sis,’ (he got that off Toonan). ‘Then, I would love to chat.’
Wantha glanced towards the front of Genevieve’s delicatessen-cum-cafe, where her husband, Ricky Ricketts was at work. And even though Ricky could not see her from that angle, Wantha made a showy and sassy attempt to enter Toonan and Small Paul’s house.
I know it’s really short, but it was super hard to find a bit I could share, because there is a massive secret about to be revealed on Curmudgeon Avenue.
If you missed it, the book that precedes ‘A Curmudgeonly Christmas’ is free and available via a BookFunnel promotion here:
I am a voracious reader, always adding adding and adding to my reading list, and two years ago, I joined BookFunnel which lead to me joining a lot of author mailing lists. Now HERE is mine!
But enough about me, here’s why I think fans of my series, Curmudgeon Avenue need to join my mailing list.
The residents are idiots, the city is in lockdown. Will they cope with the global pandemic?
Available free to mailing list subscribers is Curmudgeon Avenue #5.5 ‘Curmudgeon Avenue’s Manchester Lockdown’ . Get it by clicking HERE
The reason this volume is free to my mailing list, is because I had hesitated writing about the big global mess, but eventually I gave in (mainly when the phrase ‘new normal’ started popping up). Personally, I would not make light of Covid-19 but, folks need a bit of lighthearted escapism.
And when I say folks, I mean fans of Curmudgeon Avenue.
Curmudgeon Avenue is a social satire about a house that dislikes its owners.
So come on down, join my mailing list and grab yourself a free book, innit! (As Tanya Rose of Curmudgeon Avenue would say).
An early Halloween memory for me is that a primary school teacher dressed the classroom windows with silhouette Halloween images.. Ahh, when the October sunlight shone on a northern prefabricated primary school… Those little cardboard cut out witches were real!
that my book, The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue is happy to be a part of
Even though The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue is fourth in the series, I actually knew that the initial three books were building up to this. The ‘this’ being the actual ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue. (The clue’s in the title, some of the Avenue’s residents die, and then come back as ghosts).
This is the book where Harold, Edith and Edna return to Curmudgeon Avenue… after their own funerals.
Edith doesn’t know she’s a ghost until she chats to her grieving friend Patchouli in the bathroom.
I had great fun writing The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue. Love can often be chaotic, confusing and nonsensical. The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue is a great one for those who are wondering what on earth is going wrong with their love life. (It’s probably a ghost)
Ghosts, raucous family drama, humour, sex, secrets and scandal.
I like this story, with its quirky, varied characters, fantasy-inspired plot, and irreverent commentary on life, death love, marriage, relationships and sex. (Amazon reviewer).
Me again! Today I want to talk about my latest book, published today (30th of September)
The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue
What is it about?
THE ONE WHERE THE B*TCH RETURNS
Reformed rent burglar Georgina Foote moves back to Whitefield and into number 13 Curmudgeon Avenue. She is desperately seeking Kevin but all she finds is nonsense. Collecting enemies at work and at home, Georgina Foote does not belong here.
Meanwhile, a mass exodus occurs when Wantha Rose, Ricky Ricketts and newbie Krystina moved to Greenmount. They think that the world does not revolve around Curmudgeon Avenue, will they find out that it does?
A denouement of sorts resolves the ghost’s stories when Harold takes up residence in the House of Commons, and Edith reunites with her first husband.
Zandra Bennett’s career takes on a new direction when she unwittingly starts channelling the ghost of Edith in the under-the-stairs space.
We finally get to find out Mrs Ali’s first name, her story and her source of all knowledge.
Wantha and Ricky nearly get married, and we learn why the Rose sisters have such daft names. Their mother, Patchouli is still living the life of luxury, and occasional abseiling with Gil Von Black
Not intended as a cosy read, the characters in this social satire provide an utterly British escape.
Will the nincompoops of Curmudgeon Avenue survive without the street? The ending is a shocker!
What is the series about?
Curmudgeon Avenue is a social satire comedy drama about a house that doesn’t like its inhabitants.
From Edna, Edith and Harold to Zandra and Gordon Bennett there are plenty of dramas, romances and quarrels.
The characters often come over as preposterous and unlikeable. Yet, they are all entertaining, in their own ways. Plenty of Manchester humour and language in the dialogue.
Readers are saying that the series is like a British sit-com, and one even said it is like a soap opera on speed.
How did I write book five?
Georgina Foote is a supporting character from book one. She had recently split from her husband Kevin, and so had moved home with her mother. But Pauline Foote had grown tired of her daughter, Georgina living with her and arranged for Georgina to rent a room at No.1 Curmudgeon Avenue. One day, she stole the rent and moved out, and we haven’t heard from her since.
IN BOOK FIVE Georgina is back, desperately trying to rekindle her relationship with Kevin. She thinks she is irresistible to men and cannot understand why Kevin is hiding from her… Or who is sending her hate mail.
While Georgina is collecting enemies all across Whitefield, Wantha and Ricky are trying to get married. But in an almost Far From The Madding Crowd style, Wantha turns up at the wrong venue.
Curmudgeon Avenue is a fictional street in the actual town of Whitefield, North Manchester. I named the series Curmudgeon Avenue after an incident with a disabled parking space. And I chose Whitefield, because that is the place I always got stuck in traffic on my way home from my old job.
In book 5, Georgina is a psychiatric nurse who works in a community mental health team. Initially, I thought twice about this. But I decided to go with it. As writers, why shouldn’t our characters work in mental health care? It is the same as if Georgina had been a hairdresser. Because of the genre, we don’t get to meet any of the ‘service users’ just the staff, which leads me onto my next point.
I was a psychiatric nurse for twenty years. When I started my training, aged 18, I was told that I would be ‘eaten alive’. This was the early 90s and, even that recently (and unfortunately) attitudes towards mental health patients were terrible.
Obviously, I have created the character Georgina Foote using my own imagination.
You can buy The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue HERE
This morning, The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue got a 5* rating from Readers’ Favorite (Thank you)
Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers’ Favorite
The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue replaces the stars of its previous novels with the Rose sisters (Toonan and Wantha), Georgina Foote, Zandra, and many other side characters (some fresh faces and some familiar ones). Wantha Rose stumbled upon Georgina Foote at Manchester Town Hall, where Wantha was scheduled to marry Ricky Ricketts. When Ricky Ricketts did not show up, the red-faced Wantha made Georgina swear that she would not talk about this day to another soul. However, Georgina Foote broke that promise over Facebook, thus insulting Wantha in her own territory, aka the internet. Georgina Foote, the rent-thief, continued her distasteful deeds, paving her way out of everybody’s hearts — not that she ever was in anybody’s heart — and onto their blacklists. On the paranormal side of the plot, with Edith’s ghostly help, Toonan created her tarot-card reading business. Since Edith was busy reconnecting with the ghost of her first husband behind Harold’s back, her inconsistent availability proved to be the biggest problem for Toonan’s business. The juicy gossips were just the right backdrop for the rib-tickling events.
Curmudgeon Avenue is a series that puts a never-fading smile on the lips of its readers as the nosey, loud, insensitive, and inappropriate nincompoops go about their ridiculous lives. The result is a hilarious novel that leaves its fans waiting for the next gossip of Curmudgeon Avenue. Although the star cast of the previous novels — Edna, Edith, and Harold — were mostly missing in this novel, “longer than reasonably necessary” and illogical conversations match the expectations of Curmudgeon Avenue series’ readers. Samantha Henthorn excels in introducing side characters in one novel and then putting these characters into the spotlight in the next book of the series. Her strategic act of passing the proverbial baton works flawlessly in just a matter of a couple of chapters. Wantha’s almost-wedding day, dishonorable actions by Georgina Foote, Zandra’s embarrassment about their unmentionable housewarming party were the building blocks of a novel that brimmed with excitement.
Samantha Henthorn has proved to be one of those authors who have a firm grasp of the expectations of their readers. Each novel of the Curmudgeon Avenue series is a testament to her awareness, and The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue is no exception to this fact. Humor fans will laugh at the illogical train of thoughts of the characters and gladly join in the gossip of Curmudgeon Avenue. I recommend not only this book but each novel of the Curmudgeon Avenue series to readers who enjoy light comedy.
IN OTHER NEWS!
Today is 30 days since book two of the Curmudgeon Avenue series ‘The Harold and Edith Adventures’ was submitted to ACX, so hopefully, it will be published soon for your listening pleasure.
Narrated by Lindsay McKinnon of Theatre of The Mind Productions
Lindsay has done a grand job again with awesome comic timing.
Lindsay is here on the left pictured at our book launch of book one’s audio at Radcliffe Library (pre-covid).
Samantha Henthorn talks about whether to write ‘Prosecco’ or ‘prosecco’ in her novels.
I want to talk about something that has been on my mind for a while.
If anyone follows me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have noticed that I have… noticed that fizzy wine has started giving me heartburn! Talk about #45yearoldproblems I am gutted! Literally.
That is not what this post is about – I just don’t know whether to capitalise or not when I am writing fiction (it crops up often in Curmudgeon Avenue) and I have been doing some serious research about Prosecco during the past few years.
Ha! I have even drank it by the sea according to the above photograph (although on closer inspection that is another brand of fizzy wine).
What I have done, when I say research is every time I am reading a book, and the word Prosecco or prosecco pops up, I make a note of it. by pressing some buttons on my Kindle.
Well, the results have come in (from traditionally published books) I have read on my Kindle, and four are spelt prosecco with a lower case p and eleven are spelt Prosecco.
Interestingly, comedy drama/light humour (the genre I write in) capitalised the P for Prosecco. And literary fiction/crime novels do not. (In the non scientific research I carried out).
Let’s do a google search (google is another one! Google/google)
Lots of things came up
People also ask
Do you capitalize wines?
Rule 3: When a wine is named after a grape, do not capitalize – unless the grape is named after a place and the wine comes from that place. … Cabernet Sauvignon originated in Bordeaux, and if the wine comes from there, capitalize; cabernet is the name of the grape, not a city, and deserves no capital.
There is a village called Prosecco in Italy, but the fizzy wine is produced (inside and) outside the village. In the past, the grape used to make Prosecco was called both prosecco and Glera. (I got this information by doing an internet search, an article came up by Wine Enthusiast which you can read here)
Did you see that above? ALSO WITHOUT CAPITAL – so both are right! Phew!
And let’s look at the Chambers Dictionary that I was advised to buy for my Creative writing degree, hold on, it’s upstairs.
Phew! Massive dictionary – I am shattered now!
Tiny writing! It just says ‘prosecco n an Italian sparkling white wine.’
I asked my friends. Most of them didn’t care, one said that he had been to Italy and they don’t capitalise the word prosecco. Then he said he was just joking and had made this little anecdote up. I could text my friend who is a school teacher but it’s a Tuesday afternoon and who has the time to answer my nonsense?
So, there you have it. Some say Prosecco, some say prosecco. And that’s OK! Apologies if I have made you thirsty on a school night.