Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Excerpt: The Story of Our Lives

We're pleased to share an excerpt from The Story of Our Lives by Helen Warner and we're especially excited that there are characters named Amy and Melissa in it!


They think nothing can tear their bond apart, until a long-buried secret threatens to destroy everything.

Every year they have met up for a vacation, but their time away is much more than just a bit of fun. Over time, it has become a lifesaver, as each of them struggles with life’s triumphs and tragedies.

Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa have been best friends since they were girls. They have seen each other through everything—from Sophie’s private fear that she doesn’t actually want to be a mother despite having two kids, to Amy’s perfect-on-the-outside marriage that starts to reveal troubling warning signs, to Melissa’s spiraling alcoholism, to questions that are suddenly bubbling up around the paternity of Emily’s son. But could a lie that spans just as long as their friendship be the thing that tears them apart?


Sophie could feel herself starting to sweat as she tried to heave the stone pot to one side. Could it really be this one that the key was under? Surely they’d have put it under one that wasn’t so bloody heavy. Instead of lifting it, she decided to try rolling it instead. Sure enough, the pot began to move but the mo­mentum gathered pace more quickly than she had expected and it rolled unstoppably towards her foot and straight over her toe. Breathless with pain and almost not daring to look for fear of the damage she might find, she examined her foot.
The toe of her Converse offered very little protection and sagged ominously where her big toe should have been. Gin­gerly, she pressed with her thumb and winced in pain. She slumped down onto the path, which was still wet from an earlier rain shower, and groaned as her jeans immediately ab­sorbed the moisture. She knew without looking that the damp patch would have spread in a fascinatingly symmetrical fash­ion across her rear.
Maybe this weekend away wasn’t such a good idea after all.
The omens weren’t great, with the shockwaves over Princess Diana’s sudden death still reverberating throughout the coun­try, and although the others had left it to her to organize ev­erything, she knew they would moan about who was sharing with whom and grumble about the house she had chosen from the listings in the Evening Standard.
Sophie looked up at the pretty whitewashed and thatched cottage, feeling a sudden stab of annoyance at its old-fashioned beauty. It was the sort of place retired couples would come for a weekend of birdwatching, rather than a group of twenty-something girls looking for a good time.
“What the hell are you doing down there?” The slightly gravelly Midlands accent reached her before its owner appeared at the gate and began to make her way up the path. Wearing tight bootleg jeans and a skinny white sleeveless top that con­trasted with her smooth, dark brown skin, Melissa appeared not to have aged a day since they had first met. Her afro hair had been woven into cornrows that fell to her shoulders and apart from a slash of bright red lipstick, her pretty face was make-up free.
Sophie struggled to her feet and embraced her friend.
“Hi, sweetie. Bit of a mishap while hunting for the key.” She attempted to discreetly run her hand over her bum. Sure enough, it was soaking.
“Did you find it?”
Typical of Melissa to be more concerned with getting into the house than whether Sophie was OK. “No. My suffering was in vain, sadly.” As she spoke, Sophie’s eyes scanned the area around the door for other pots.
“It’ll be under this one!” Melissa cried, dumping her ruck­sack onto the path and darting towards a pretty Mediter­ranean-style pot that wasn’t much bigger than a mug. Sure enough, as Melissa effortlessly lifted it, the key glistened in the sunlight. She bent down with a balletic lunge and scooped it up. “See?” she said, holding the key aloft triumphantly.
Sophie nodded. This tiny incident summed up their rela­tionship perfectly. Sophie was the hard worker; the one who put in all the effort, only for Melissa to sail in at the end and collect the trophy. Not that she resented Melissa for it. She loved her like a sister. In fact, she loved her more than her own sister, Georgina, with whom she had very little in common, as there was almost a whole decade between them.
“Come on, what are you waiting for?” Melissa threw the comment over her shoulder as she used the key to open the front door, which needed a good shove to dislodge it, and dis­appeared into the cool, dark hallway. “Christ, it’s a bit drab, isn’t it?” she added.
And so it begins, thought Sophie, following her friend into the house, noting that she had to duck slightly as she stepped over the threshold, unlike tiny, perfect Melissa.

Helen Warner is head of daytime for Channel 4, where she is responsible for shows such as Come Dine With Me and Deal Or No Deal. Previously she worked for ITV where she launched the daytime talk show Loose Women and was editor of This Morning. She lives in East Anglia with her husband and their two children. Visit Helen at her website and on Facebook and Goodreads.

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1 comment:

Janine said...

This book sounds really good