Welcome to the tour for The Lost and Found Life of Rosy Bennett!
Synopsis: Rosy loved her London life – her job in a designer shop, her gorgeous West London family house and of course her gorgeous family (although young sons are enough to test anyone at times). All that disappears when, one unremarkable morning, after one unremarkable school run, her husband collapses on a crowded tube carriage and dies.
As she struggles her way through the grief, she discovers her husband’s secret life: secrets accounts, secret deals that their solicitor knew nothing of, secret debts and what looks like a secret “very close friend” at least.
Totally unprepared and suddenly in debt, Rosy is forced to leave London to start a new life with her incredibly reluctant boys in the countryside. Can angsty urban teenagers cope with farm life, let alone enjoy it? More to the point, can their mother? It’s certainly not going to be easy but when you are at rock bottom the only way is up.
Looking at her husband, Simon, Rosy poured the last of the homemade granola into a bowl.
‘If you want any more, then tough.’ She turned and looked at their sons. ‘And don’t you two start. I’ve had enough already and it’s only 7:30a.m.’
She gazed at her natural Greek yoghurt, zero fat and laced with a couple of walnuts – the routine of her everyday life. She had recently read that walnuts protected against so many life-threatening diseases that they were practically sacred, so she shovelled a mouthful, wishing they were hot, buttery, dripping toast. She could imagine fat, yellow globules clinging to her fingers, and then licking them clean. Ruefully, she scraped out the last from the pot.
She circled it round her mouth – it just wasn’t the same.
‘OK guys. Time to go.’
Chivvied by Rosy and Simon, the two boys slouched into the hall and resentfully picked up their bags.
Sons decanted into school and, with the mobile clamped to his cheek, Simon gestured apologetically to their disappearing backs, having missed their last waves. Then Simon and Rosy scrambled towards the Tube, tapped their Oysters, and went through the turnstiles. On boarding the train, Rosy made a hurried move to an empty nearby seat but was pipped to it by a snake-hipped young boy who smiled triumphantly at her and plugged in his headphones. She looked daggers at him but he closed his eyes and ignored her. Her hand reached up to grab the nearby metal pole tightly. It was a ghastly, overflowing train, and there was no other choice but to stand straight as raw capellini. Across the bodies, Rosy could see Simon smiling at her, making cut throat signs, which she semaphored back.
The man sitting in front of her was engrossed in a freebie newspaper. She glanced down at the front page, scanning and only faintly registering the headlines about another senseless stabbing, whilst being peripherally aware of a gurgling noise.
An unknown elbow placed into the small of her back made her look up and see the source of the noise – Simon, grinning at her. But not a Simon grin. Gurning. Not him. In that packed place, smelling of countless different lifestyles, the person she loved most began to sway. As much as he could sway whilst propped up by hot bodies. Then movement became possible, as those near to him inched back.
Looks of horror spread on frightened faces. How much was it going to delay their arrival to work? There was complete silence as the Tube drew into the station. Like automatons they shuffled back, spilling onto the platform as Simon collapsed in a cup cake whirl, legs folded underneath, body round and round, his head on top like an obscenely-placed cherry.
A woman, pulling fuse wire hair, hand clenched by her mouth, yelled, ‘He’s ill! Get someone!’
As the doors began to close, the woman jabbed at the passenger emergency alarm. The doors instantly slid back open; the train remained stationary.
For a fleeting moment Rosy watched as though this was nothing to do with her. Simon seemed to have morphed from the vital man she knew and loved into grey dough, sunk before her in a mass of human mud. And then motorway directness kicked in and, jamming right angle elbows into lardy bodies, she pushed her way through indignant striped suits.
Never one to make a fuss, a small part of her mind registered how interesting this must be to onlookers. She momentarily recognised this detachment but the thought flashed away until, hideously aware of her surroundings, she moaned for help. Looking up from squatting, she began what she hoped was CPR and, amidst furious pounding, glanced up to see fascinated faces. Something to tell their friends, as though they were continuing the movie they had watched the night before. Something to regale the office workers. She could hear them. Shit journey in, man collapsed, woman, God knows who, tried first aid, didn’t look as though it
was going to be any good. Poor bugger.
It was totally silent. Silent apart from a terrifying gurgle coming from Simon. Rosy, still with images of granola and satchels in her mind, simply did not know what to do. The grey rubber carriage floor suddenly seemed to be as familiar as their kitchen. She carried on, hands clenched on his chest, pushing as though her life could sink into him. Where had she read that sometimes ribs are broken in attempts to get the heart beating? Shit, if this was some type of acute indigestion, he was not going to be happy with such an extreme response. All she wanted to do was lower her lips onto his and rewind to last night.
A bag of magazines dropped beside his knees along with a young girl. ‘Can I help?’ Her face echoed the grey of Simon’s Portland stone.
Later that day, all she could remember was the young girl with the magazines. Simon had been rushed to hospital but Rosy had known that this was it. She had closed her eyes and flashed back to sitting beside the hospital bed, willing him to pull through. Anguish had undulated through her like labour pains, increasing in intensity, only to fade away until the next one.
‘Please, Simon, don’t leave me. Not now. Not when the boys are so small. They need you so. And so do I.’ They said hearing was the last sense to go, maybe he had heard her whispers. She had known the instant he had died. Even before the machine had flat-lined.
Something about the set of his face told her that he wasn’t there anymore. He had left her, and taken away his wit and perception. It was as though she could see his soul whistle upwards in vanishing spirals. She had not realised that it was possible to be so emotionally distraught. The back of her throat had felt like plaster – dry and taut. So focussed on nothing but grief, she felt her life was shedding like skin after too much sun. Who wants their last moments of consciousness to be on a Tube? Final hours in a field, maybe? Not the Somme of course. But somewhere where the spirit could soar. Not hemmed in by the Underground.
It hit her forcefully: no more evening key in the door, no more cuddles and cries of ‘Dad’s home’. She was out there on her own. A bleak span of lone parent-teacher evenings beckoned.
What a wonderful book! The story opens with the death of Rosy’s husband, Simon, during a normal commute to work. Whilst dealing with her grief and that of her young boys, the last thing that she is worrying about is her financial situation and the security of her family home. However all that changes when Rosy’s solicitor informs her of the sale of all of Simon’s investments and she finds that the house that she believed was theirs, had in fact been re-mortgaged to raise funds for a alpaca farm in Dorset.
What ensues is a move for Rosy and her boys to this farm which is worlds apart from their lavish London lifestyle, they have to adjust to village life whereby everyone knows their business and the life of a farmer!
This was such an easy read which draws you into the life of alpaca farming, I really enjoyed the insight into these four-legged animals and at one point, actually commented to my husband “did you know that alpacas hum when they are happy”!! This is so-much more than just a story into finding love after being widowed, it is about how your life can be turned upside down and how you come out of the other side. It’s about adapting to a new life and approaching the challenges that this brings head on.
Whilst this is an easy read it isn’t for the feint-hearted as it does include some colourful language courtesy of the youngest boy, James, who is particularly struggling with his father’s death, the secrets he was hiding and the new life in the country.
I adored Rosy, her approach to life, taking on the alpaca farm and the farmhouse head on…embracing the new life for herself and the boys. I liked her no-nonsense approach to things and her ballsy nature. Rosy’s belief in herself and her alpacas, with the support of the local community is refreshing. Whilst I found the romantic part of the story a little predictable, it doesn’t actually detract from the story and I was still rooting for Rosy and her man. The other side of the story certainly wasn’t predictable and there are surprises along the way.
Buy the Book:
AmazonUS / AmazonUK
Win the Book:
Win an eBook copy of The Lost and Found Life of Rosy Bennett.
a Rafflecopter giveaway – Open WorldWide!
About Jan Birley
Twitter / GoodReads / Facebook / http://janbirley.co.uk/
So – all about me ………
I went to live in London when I was 17. Pretty young really, amazing that my parents let me go – after six years at a draughty boarding school in Yorkshire, my knowledge of life was hardly encyclopaedic. Mind you, whose is at 17? Initially, I trained as a radiographer but didn’t like it much and dabbled in other worlds where I couldn’t find anything I really wanted to do. Apart from sit and read a book, of course. Nanny? Nope. Not after attempting to look after two hideous children who only spoke Dutch. Cooking in a restaurant in Cornwall? Not really my thing, especially as my role seemed to consist of doing the washing up. So back to London where I spent many years in Wandsworth, getting married and having three fabulous sons, two of whom are twins. Now I live in Dorset, but am unwilling to give up totally on city life and so I still go back there to work at LSE one day a week. I’m a dyslexia support tutor. I also work at a local girls’ school and because of the lovely, long holidays I’m able to spend a good part of the year with all my boys at our holiday home in Italy. Along with our elderly dog, we relish the time we’re able to spend in la bella Umbria. My husband is the Deputy Mayor of our town here in Dorset which keeps him busy. I’ve recently published, on line, my first novel with the second one to follow shortly. The third one is still in the process of being written. All of them are stand-alone books.
Although I’ve been writing for many years, it never seemed a possible financial option as a career but belatedly I’ve realised that if I don’t pursue my dream right now, that’s all it will ever be. The result is The Lost and Found Life of Rosy Bennett.
Check out all the stops on the tour:
Judging More Than Just The Cover – Review/Author Q&A
T&L Book Reviews – Book Excerpt/Promo Post
Grass Monster – Book Review
Literary Chanteuse – Promo Post
Steamy Book Momma – Book Excerpt
Around the World in Books – Promo Post
JustaBooklovinJunkie – Book Excerpt/Promo Post
SassyCatChat – Book Review/Promo Post
Book Groupies – Book Excerpt
Hello…Chick Lit – Book Review
ItaPixie’s Book Corner – Book Review/Book Excerpt
Chick Lit Central – Author Q&A
The Bookworm’s Book Reviews – Book Review
Ali – The Dragon Slayer – Book Review/Promo Post
Portobello Book Blog – Book Excerpt
Tour organised by:
HCL – Book Tours/Author Services