Thursday 10 November 2016

Blog Tour: It's a Wonderful Life by Julia Williams

I think I must have had a memory lapse or something on Monday as that was the day my stop on It's a Wonderful Life blog tour was meant to go live, but instead I am treating you all today. Apologies to Jess from A Novel Thought for posting on the same day as her and apologies to Julia and the lovely team at Avon books. I hope I can make it up to them! Anyway today as I was supposed to share on Monday is a little teaser from the book. As always don't forget to follow the rest of the tour.

‘Can I get you anything, Mum?’

            I’ve come into the kitchen to find Mum staring into the garden. She’s still wearing her dressing gown and looks like she hasn’t slept.

            ‘A different life?’ asks Mum bitterly.

            Oh God. Here we go. Every day since I’ve moved back in she’s been like this. Never mind that my own life has spectacularly imploded since Jo left. To top it off, I finally got made redundant just after Christmas. My manager blamed cutbacks, told me it was nothing personal, but it was the last thing I needed after the blow of Jo leaving. I can’t afford the rent on my flat without a job; if I’d still been with Jo, I could have gone to stay with her. But I had nowhere else to go, hence why I’ve ended up back home. I may as well be miserable with Mum and Dad rather than be on my own.

            I’d thought maybe there might be a silver lining to moving back home, that my being here might help Mum, and help me too in a funny way. I thought it might take my mind off my own misery. But she barely acknowledges me, and I’m not sure if I’m making any difference. I mean, I get how she feels. I’ve had my fair share of heartache and I’m no stranger to being dumped and cheated on (Jo said there’s no one else, but I’m not sure I believe her. But that might be my insecurity talking). Finding out your husband of over forty years has been cheating must be horrendous. But I hadn’t expected this. This shadow of a person, not moving, inert, just accepting her fate. The Mum I know would never give up like this. Why can’t she be angry any more, the way Beth and I are? It’s like all the fight’s gone out of her.

            I want to shake her and say, Do something. Fight for him. But she doesn’t. Beth thinks she needs time, but I’m not sure my sister realises how bad the situation is. Sam and Megan, of course, think it’s hilarious that Grandpa could even be having an affair. The idea of seventy-somethings having a sex life is completely incomprehensible to them. But this is serious. Mum and Dad have had their ups and downs, but they’ve always been together. And the situation is further complicated by the fact that Dad seems to be spending a lot of time with this Lilian woman, but he still hasn’t officially left Mum’s house. He’s sleeping in the spare room and sneaking out to see her every day. He never says where he’s going, or what his plans are. Presumably because the first time I asked him about it we had a stand up row; it was horrible. Dad isn’t the rowing sort, and since then he’s refused to discuss the situation with me.

I don’t know what to do. I’ve spent my whole life being regarded as the pathetic one in the family: poor Lou stuffed up her A levels, poor Lou can’t get a decent job, poor Lou hasn’t got a man – and now here I am having to act like the responsible one. I haven’t the faintest idea how to do it.

It's a Wonderful Life is out now and available from Foyles 

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