Welcome to my stop on the Close to Me blog tour where I am thrilled to be sharing an extract from the book
About Close to Me
Published: 31st March 2017 (Headline)
What if you couldn’t remember the last year of your life? And the people closest to you were lying about what really happened?
She can’t remember the last year. Her husband wants to keep it that way. When Jo Harding falls down the stairs at home, she wakes up in hospital with partial amnesia – she’s lost a whole year of memories.
A lot can happen in a year. Was Jo having an affair? Lying to her family? Starting a new life? She can’t remember what she did – or what happened the night she fell.
But she’s beginning to realise she might not be as good a wife and mother as she thought.
Close To Me will appeal to fans of Jenny Blackhurst, Liane Moriarty and Clare Mackintosh.
An accomplished debut, it has already been optioned for television by a prominent Hollywood actress, who is attached to star as the lead character.
The Day After The Fall
‘If you were going to kill me, how would you do it?’ I ask, turning to Rob in the darkness, my hands seeking him out across the bed. ‘I’ve already thought about it,’ I say. ‘I’d stab you with a kitchen knife.’ I laugh and move closer, draping my arm across his bare chest. ‘Well I haven’t thought about it at all,’ he says, lifting my hand to his lips, peppering the palm with kisses. I shriek with laughter as he pulls me to him, skin on skin, familiar, safe — ‘I bet you gave yourself a fright!’ the nurse says; her voice loud enough to rouse me from sleep. She pulls back the curtains and the weak sunlight lifts my lids. I shade my eyes with the back of my left hand, the right too painful to move, watching as she crosses the room, her blonde curls coming into focus, sandy tufts pulled into a top-knot, her movements perky, like her tone.
‘The doctor’s started his rounds, so let’s get you sitting up.’ She removes a remote control
from my slack grasp, untangling the corkscrewed flex with her other hand as she presses a
button to raise the head of the bed. ‘Better?’ she asks, considering my seated position. ‘Yes, thank you.’ I smile, but a sharp pain is shooting from one side of my head to the other. ‘Do you know if my husband’s brought my phone in? I’m lost without it.’ She laughs. ‘You ladies and your phones. No, not yet, but I think he’s on his way in.’ She smooths the covers. ‘He was so worried about you last night. Kept saying you fell, like he couldn’t believe what had happened. It’s the shock, isn’t it?’ She’s at the end of the bed now, reading the beige folder of notes she brought in with her. ‘Shook you both up like a bottle of fizz!’ She laughs and I must wince because she asks, ‘Is the pain bad, Jo? Where does it hurt?’ ‘My head,’ I reply, tears in my eyes as I squint against the agony of it, a pang of fear accompanying the awful beat of my headache. I open my eyes and tell her, ‘I can’t remember what happened, everyone keeps saying I fell. But I don’t know what happened. Do you know?’ She’s beside me again, casting her eyes down to the beige folder. ‘Let’s have a look, shall we?’ I look down too, at the hospital gown and bedding covering me, only my forearms exposed. There’s a bruise spreading either side of the tight support bandage which stretches from the fingers to elbow of my right arm, and two of the nails are torn, as though I’d reached out, clawed at something to save myself.
‘18:02 the paramedic attended you, that’s what it says in here,’ she tells me, very matter-of
fact. ‘Took a tumble down the stairs. You don’t remember, sweetie?’ I shake my head and the pain worsens. ‘I remember I was at the bottom of the stairs and then I must have blacked out. Do you know what time Rob went home last night?’ I start crying again, the nurse’s kindness releasing more emotion. ‘I can’t remember much at all of what happened after we got here. When did my husband leave? Do you know?’ ‘Oh, Jo. Don’t upset yourself, sweetie. I’ll ask the doctor to give you something stronger for the pain. You lie still for now.’
About Amanda Reynolds
Amanda Reynolds teaches Creative Writing in Cheltenham, where she lives with her family. Her past jobs have included selling clothes online and writing murder mystery games.
Close To Me is her debut novel.