Today brings my stop on the blog tour for the gorgeous The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry. Ellen Berry if you didn't already know is actually the brilliant Fiona Gibson, so if you are a fan of hers, don't miss out on this wonderful book. If you need more convincing then check out the extract below. Also if you want to read more extracts from the book you only need to follow the tour stops which are listed above.
Della arrived early at work, and fetched a coffee from the tearoom before giving the gift shop a quick, unnecessary tidy. Even though she’d wanted to confide in Angie first, her friend was away on a short break to Crete and it felt important to Della to hand in her resignation as soon as possible. In fact she felt that, if she didn’t do it today, she might actually explode.
All morning she manned the shop with Rosie, a new staff member who was fresh out of school and only planning to work there until she headed off on her travels to India in January. Della knew Julia, the manager, was due in today, but so far there had been no sign of her. She found herself refolding the commemorative tea towels with extreme precision and almost willed customers to ruck them up again, to give her something to do.
At lunchtime, while she tucked into a smoked salmon bagel on a bench in the courtyard, she used her phone to browse house-clearance companies. It wasn’t that she relished the thought of emptying Kitty’s house and putting it up for sale. However, if she was about to throw herself into transforming Sew ’n’ Sew’s into a beautiful shop, then she might as well snap into action on the Rosemary Cottage front too. She just wished the clearance companies didn’t have such insensitive names. Who would honestly entrust the emptying of their childhood home to an outfit called AnyJunk or Dump-It? They hardly suggested a thoughtful approach. But then, to anyone else’s eyes – even Roxanne’s and Jeff’s, given the lack of interest they had shown in dealing with things since Kitty’s death – the contents of Rosemary Cottage had amounted to a load of junk.
Della bit into her slice of carrot cake and checked the clearance companies’ websites again. Admittedly, some of them mentioned recycling, which seemed a little less callous than mere ‘disposal’. As she finished off her cake she wondered what she could rescue, recycle or whatever, before she let the clearance guys loose.
Her mother’s numerous bookshelves, perhaps? Could they be carefully taken out of Rosemary Cottage without wrecking the walls, and somehow remodelled to fit out the shop? It was worth looking into and it seemed fitting to re-use the shelves from the cookbooks’ original home.
As a school party snaked its way into the castle’s reconstructed kitchens, Della mulled over who to call for advice. Would Liam be willing to help? He was only starting out in joinery – but then, she needed someone who would listen to what she wanted, and not talk down to her in a silly-middle-aged-woman-with-your-fluffy-shop kind of way. And young men were, she felt certain, less likely to think like that.
She called Sophie. ‘Mum, hi,’ she said sleepily.
‘Hi, darling. I didn’t just wake you, did I?’ It’s nearly one o’clock, was what Della meant.
‘Uhhh … yeah, sort of. Had a bit of a night …’
Della smirked. It seemed as if everyone had had a bit of a night apart from her. ‘So you had fun, then? Was it a pub you were in?’
‘Yes, Mum.’ Where else would it be? her tone seemed to say.
‘Okay, well, there was just something I wanted to ask you …’ Della paused. ‘It’s about the bookshop. I looked at that shop in Burley Bridge – remember I told you I was interested?’
‘Yeah, of course I remember …’
‘Well, it seemed perfect so I’ve signed the lease.’
‘What?’ Sophie exclaimed. ‘You mean you’ve bought it?’
‘No, just renting. But it’s mine, sort of.’
‘That’s brilliant, Mum! So what does Dad think?’
Della scrunched up her cake wrapper. ‘Er, he’s away at a conference until Friday so I haven’t been able to tell him yet.’
‘He’ll be fine. He’ll come round to it’
The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane is out now