Whilst I’m recuperating I’ve re-scheduled some of my early ‘Fives’ to reach a wider audience. In addition I’ve added the YouTube videos that are now a standard feature as well as updating the booklist to make it current. I’m starting with author Patricia Dixon who was my first willing victim back in August 2017, and without whom, Five on Friday would not exist, so thanks Patricia!
After a career in fashion Patricia swapped all things fabric for bricks and mortar, working alongside her husband where she ran his building company and now, with an empty nest, finally has time to write. She has added dramatically to the five novels she’d written back in 2017 and continues to go from strength to strength.
Over to Patricia:
Which piece of music/song would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Summer Holiday by Cliff Richard – One of my earliest memories is of going on holiday to Abersoch in Wales with my mum, dad and sister. We had a little mini and a trailer stuffed with our camping equipment and I remember being so excited. It was a tradition that as soon as we set off down our street we would sing this song.
Rat Trap by The Boomtown Rats – My favourite band ever and the start of my punk phase. Yes I probably looked dreadful in second hand or home made clothes but dressing this way allowed me to express myself and gave me some confidence. It also ensured that nobody sat next to me on the bus !
Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits – This is my favourite song of all time. I just love it and even now the words bring a tear to my eye. When it was released I was sixteen and I wanted to find a boy who loved me as much as Romeo loved Juliet
Two Princes by The Spin Doctors – I had just escaped a dreadful relationship, one very similar to Freya’s in Over My Shoulder. Even though the song has nothing to do with my situation, it symbolises an important transitional period in my life. Whenever I hear it I recall exactly where I was when it came on the radio. As I drove along I thought – today I can do anything I want! I don’t have to answer to anyone – it was the most exhilarating feeling, it took my breath away. I was passing McDonalds so went inside and ordered a coffee and a portion of hash browns. I stayed there for ages, staring out of the window, enjoying freedom, just because I could.
They Don’t Know by Kirsty MacColl – I love Kirsty and her songs and this one is the soundtrack to the story I’m writing now. It encapsulates perfectly my tale of two young people who have a special yet misunderstood kind of love. The book is inspired by some of her songs and is set in Manchester and France, a bit of a tear jerker that explores a subject not widely discussed.
What (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
Face cream – Now this may sound vain but I assure you without it I would look 100 by the weekend. In my over-active imagination I do sometimes obsess about being cast-away on a desert island where my main concern wouldn’t be water, shelter and food, I’d be mashing up plants to make wrinkle cream!
My medications – unfortunately I need them to keep the old ticker going.
The news – I could live without all the other programmes on telly but I have to watch the news first thing in the morning and before I go to bed. Even though most of the time it is full of doom and gloom I like to know what’s going on around me.
My home in France – I love Manchester yet our little farmhouse in the Loire is a very treasured place. It’s full of memories and somewhere to escape the city, embrace a simpler way of life and an alternative culture. Blood sweat and tears went into restoring it, the kids mucked in and the four of us worked so hard there. It’s become a huge part of our lives and I’d be devastated if I couldn’t visit.
Music – I cannot imagine a world without it. I have a huge playlist of favourites which inspire, uplift and move me, bring me to tears or make me feel joyful. And I love to dance, even when I’m cooking and doing the housework.
Can you offer a piece of advice for your younger self?
Work harder at school and embrace free education – I was a clever clogs at high school and in the top class, Alpha 1, but I was more interested in art and fashion than the other lessons on the curriculum. I didn’t realise that school is a precious gift that shouldn’t be squandered or taken for granted and in adulthood I’d wish to go back in time and reach my full potential.
Stand up for yourself – I am tone deaf and dreaded music lessons, it may as well have been written in ancient Sanskrit because I just couldn’t understand it or sing a note. However, out of 30 confident and aspiring West End stars the teacher would always pick me to sing. I think she was sadistic and cruel and knew from my blood red cheeks and whispered singing I was embarrassed. So I’d like to go back in time and tell my trembling young self that it’s quite easy to say NO! Detention is a far less painful experience than humiliation.
Don’t put sugar in the salt pot – At the age of seven I thought this would be such a hilarious prank until my dad sprinkled it all over his sausage and chips. I found it very funny until I was sent to bed to ponder on the fact that his dinner was ruined and after a hard day digging holes and laying water pipes he needed a proper meal. In those days we didn’t have much and I remember being very ashamed of myself.
Get your nose pierced – I went to college at 16 to study fashion and passed the shop on the way home but dithered over having it done, partly because I’m a wimp and that my parents would go mad. Even now I’d love a tiny diamond stud but I’m sure my husband and kids would think I’ve gone mad. And I’m still a dithering wimp.
Your parents are almost always right – This irritating yet hard to ignore fact bugged me all through my rebellious teenage years and crazy London days. I had the most supportive and wonderful mum and dad but I was too headstrong for my own good and probably gave them nightmares. I made plenty of mistakes and poor choices but always thought I knew best. So I would tell myself to bloody well listen to their advice.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you
Despite my adventures at polytechnic and then London I’m now very shy and not as confident as I may appear – in fact I’d say I’m an introvert so placing myself in the public eye and being at the mercy of reviewers and having to make new contacts isn’t easy. That said, I’ve now met some truly brilliant people who I’m proud to call my friends.
In my wilder younger days I worked for a famous fashion designer – my surrogate brother, someone who is still very dear to me and holds a special place in my heart.
My favourite artist is Jack Vettriano.
I am still stubborn and rebellious, but in a more measured and controlled way but I think my teenage spirit remains and always will. Perhaps a combination of wisdom and life experience has shown me how to channel my more contrary ways and put the past to good use.
I hate snobs of any kind (music, clothes, social status, art, wine, food) or anyone who looks down on others. In fact I feel the same about inverted snobbery. That’s just as ignorant as the first kind.
Tell us something you’d still like to do or achieve.
To make a pot on a potters wheel – not a wobbly floppy one, a perfect vase or bowl.
To own a Citroen 2CV – it has to be left hand drive.
Stay in a castle in the Scottish Highlands in winter. Somewhere remote, preferably by a loch with a log fire in my room and wing back chairs where I’d sit and listen to the howling wind outside. A bit of snow would be wonderful too.
Go to the ballet. I watched a documentary about ballerinas and it got me hooked.
See a whale – I read somewhere that if they look at you they take a photo and never forget your face. I think they are majestic creatures and would love to get as close as possible to one.
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
Coming Home (Due 2 Nov but available to pre-order)
For a mother and her three daughters, this Christmas is a time to sort out secrets—and find hope for the future . . .
As a young girl, Carmen Appleton loved Christmas, but a simple knock at the door was all it took to change things. Her father left home that fateful Christmas Eve and all that was left in his place were painful memories.
Now, for the first time in years, Carmen is ready to embrace Christmas again. For the sake of her family, she’s determined not to dwell on the past and to make this year one to remember.
Her daughters, Rosina, Violetta, and Leonora, are all hiding secrets of their own though, ones that they dread their mother finding out about. With time running out to resolve them, will this year be another Christmas ruined—or will the Appletons finally get their happy ever after?
The Other Woman
The man she trusted has been keeping a secret . . . A novel of psychological suspense spanning from England to coastal France by the author of Blame.
Rowan’s days of being the other woman and waiting patiently for Alex are almost over. He’s left his wife, and Rowan is finally within touching distance of her happy ever after.
When Alex is involved in a terrible accident, she rushes to him, fearing the worst. But as facts begin to emerge that cast doubt on the accident and the true nature of Alex’s first marriage, Rowan is left devastated. And little does she know that a bigger shock is yet to come. Members of the criminal underworld are conspiring, and Rowan’s family is in grave danger . . .
The Other Woman will take you on an emotional and turbulent voyage from the French seaside town of Boulogne-sur-Mer to the metropolis of Manchester, England, through the murky depths of a marriage that is steeped in secrets, riddled with lies, and laced with danger.
What if the past came knocking?
Frankie is running away from her past and the repercussions of a night that changed her life forever. Hoping for a fresh start she unexpectedly falls in love.
Unbeknown to Frankie, the wheels of fate are set in motion when Herbert Dunne, a convicted murderer, is released from prison.
When he moves in with Margaret, a woman he has formed an unlikely relationship with, their dark sides gradually emerge allowing their inner demons to blossom.
News of Herbert’s release once again rocks the small village of Elkdale, as the locals remember the young woman he murdered.
But what is Herbert hoping to achieve by stirring up the past? And who is behind the new spate of murders?
One thing is clear—someone is out for revenge. Someone who thinks Frankie and her friends are to blame . . .
Can you ever escape your history?
During a road trip to France with her granddaughter, Dottie Tanner revisits the past and the dark days of WW2, when as a brave young woman she risked everything to fight for her country and freedom. Parachuting into occupied territory to work with the Resistance, young Dottie lived each day with homesickness, the fear of capture and the threat of the Nazi regime. She had no idea her life, and that of her comrades, was in jeopardy because a traitor lurked in their midst, one who would wreak havoc on her life. Sixty years later and with time running out, the traitor is exposed. As Dottie’s whole world is turned upside down, will her final mission be one of revenge or can she forgive and forget?
Weaving expertly between past and present, this moving tale of one woman’s incredible journey will stay with you for a long after you’ve turned the final page. Resistance is an emotional and absorbing family saga which will be the perfect read for fans of authors like Fiona Valpy, Aimie K. Runyan and Lindsey Jayne Ashford.
A woman is caught in a web of deceit when her ex is convicted of rape in this British psychological thriller based on true events.
When Billie receives a desperate letter from the man she loves, she returns home to Manchester, determined to help him. Convicted of a crime he swears he didn’t commit, Stan is trying to make his case from prison. Meanwhile, his accuser, Kelly, is struggling to cope after an ordeal that has left her traumatized and isolated.
A private detective is looking for vital evidence that would set Stan free—and Billie is enlisted to help. Then her faith in Stan begins to waver when she hears Kelly’s version of events. There may be two sides to every story, but there’s only one truth. Unfortunately for Billie, the deeper she digs, the more lies are unearthed.
Two British masters of suspense weave a gripping tale of enduring friendship, buried secrets, and deadly revenge in this psychological thriller.
Best friends since childhood, Wendy and Nell know each other better than anyone—or so they think. When someone threatens to reveal a secret that would destroy their bond, it alters the course of both their lives. Nell leaves for France while Wendy embarks on marriage and motherhood. They keep in touch with letters . . . yet hide the lonely and violent truth of their lives.Then a twisted, deceitful face from the past turns up to wreak havoc on both of them. Someone is seeking revenge. And that someone is a killer. It’s time for Wendy and Nell to face their demons—no matter the cost.
Miles away from home, can you survive Christmas alone? A holiday family saga in the bestselling Destiny series from the author of Tilly and Anna.
Singleton Grace loves Christmas and having all of her family with her on the day. But this year things will be different.
One by one, each of her three children announce they have other plans for the holidays, leaving Grace home alone with a dilemma. Should she put on a brave face or admit she is hurt?
After deciding it’s time for a change, Grace books a cottage in the French countryside for Christmas.
Max is also at life’s crossroads after coming to terms with the end of his marriage. Making a spur of the moment decision, Max heads to the Loire where he hopes to clear his head, see the sights and escape the festivities.
In the meantime, Grace’s children embark on their own Yuletide journeys. Heidi faces the dreaded in-laws, Amber heads to New York to bag herself a fiancé, and Seth can’t wait to hit the slopes.
But when their plans begin to fall apart, they are all left wishing they were at home with their Mum for Christmas.
Will Grace get what she originally wanted or is a surprise in store?
This book was previously published under the title The Christmas Cottage.
In this collection of short stories we make a return trip to the Loire, catching up with old friends and finding out what life has had in store for Anna and Daniel, Grace and Max, and Ruby and Rosie. After visiting all of your favourite characters it’s time to meet a brand new family in A Christmas Tale, an extra story written especially for the holiday season. Barbara and Ned are spending the festivities away from their children and rather unruly grandchildren, relaxing in their wintry countryside home whilst avoiding the hustle and bustle of Christmas in England. Despite escaping to France, both know they have a special task to perform, keeping a solemn promise and saying goodbye to loved ones, once and for all. This is a magical tale, recaptures the innocence of childhood Christmases, embracing the spirit of the season and accepting the precious gift of abiding love.
*** This book was previously published under the title Return Journeys ***
How many people out there say ‘I do’ for the wrong reasons? Matilda Parker is flying to France for what should be the wedding of her dreams but soon discovers she is about to star in her own private nightmare. Freda has spent a year planning her daughter’s perfect wedding and nothing is going to ruin it. Not even a house full of relatives, the imminent arrival of her feckless son-in-law-to-be or his irritating parent’s will be allowed to spoil it. On the other side of the village, Anna has problems of her own. She loves Daniel with all her heart. With all her family about to descend, including her precious sons Joe and Sam, Anna has vowed that nothing will ruin their much-awaited summer holiday. Beneath a sweltering summer sun, two clans, a naughty dog, a gaggle of relatives and friends gather in the Loire. But when a visitor from hell pays a surprise visit and Joe bumps into Tilly, it looks like all of Anna and Freda’s plans are about to go up in smoke…
*** This book was previously published under the title A Perfect Summer Wedding ***
A moving novel of betrayal and loss. This is the story of Anna. Against the odds, can you learn to trust and love again?
The unremarkable rock of her family, Anna is content with her life until she discovers that Matthew, her husband of 22 years, is having an affair. Consumed by hurt and tainted memories, her life is turned upside down by betrayal and then loss. With her confidence destroyed, she is tormented by the shadow of Matthew’s unknown lover. Whilst keeping the secret of his affair from her family, Anna must find her way through the pain alone. With one son on the other side of the world, another about to enter a war zone and her daughter off to university, Anna’s life gradually begins to crumble until someone from her past appears… But can Anna find peace and learn to love again?
*** This book was previously published as A Bientôt ***
Rosie and Ruby
Is their family bond unbreakable?
Ruby lives one-step away from poverty on a rundown, crime-infested estate in Manchester, with Stella, her feckless, self-centered mother. In the quiet suburbs of Cheshire Rosie, Ruby’s cousin leads a charmed, middle-class existence but feels suffocated by her domineering mother Doreen. Although Stella and Doreen have little in common, they share the inability to show the love and loyalty that their daughters deserve. Meanwhile, Olivia, a member of the elite Cheshire set, is aloof and distant, rattling around in her sprawling mansion, attending charity functions and hosting infamous bridge nights. Her errant son Marcus lives his life in the fast lane, maximising the perks of the family firm whilst enjoying his jet setting bachelor existence, well away from the watchful eyes of his disapproving mother. But when Ruby meets Marcus her life begins to crumble and one by one the secrets she has kept are exposed. Can Rosie and Ruby’s bond survive? And in Ruby’s hour of need, will her cousin keep her promise, and come to her rescue?
*** This book was previously published under the title Three Mothers ***
The Secrets of Tenley House
Ivy and Georgie have secrets and pasts riddled with shame and betrayal. On a cold February day, both women leave home hoping to rebuild their lives, not knowing their worlds will soon collide.
When fate eventually brings them to Tenley House, the home of a bitter, domineering matriarch who controls her fickle son and terrorizes her adoptive granddaughter, the women find themselves in danger. Behind the facade of propriety, amidst secrets and lies, the truth will unfold when evil is awakened . . .
Hiding in plain sight and sworn to avenge the wrongs of the past, someone stalks the corridors of Tenley. They listen and wait patiently, lurking in shadows, tormenting their prey and when the time is right, they strike down the occupants of Tenley, one by one . . .
Previously published as Death’s Dark Veil.
They Don’t Know
Daisy meets Adam on their first day at Manchester University and they immediately become friends. But when tongues begin to wag and their relationship is questioned, for the first time in his life Adam shares his secret with Daisy who promises to stand by him and keep his secret. Then Adam’s older brother, Ryan, returns from abroad and Daisy quickly falls for him. After a troubled upbringing, Adam and Ryan only have each other. In adulthood, their bond holds firm, glued together by Daisy. But Adam struggles with his secret and the fear of losing Daisy to another man. And soon the past starts to influence his choices. Ryan is motivated, having chosen to live in a military world that shields him from the demons of his past. And in the middle is Daisy who loves both of them and makes a promise to each. One she sets free, the other she vows to protect and never abandon. But when tragedy strikes will Daisy ever find happiness?
Over My Shoulder
When Freya falls for the manipulative Kane, her life changes beyond her wildest imagination. When the luxurious life she craves gradually becomes intolerable she realises escape is out of reach. Her life has changed and so has she. She knows that when she least expects it, he will return and make good his promise to exact revenge and ensure she pays the price he felt he is owed. Can Freya ever be free? Whoever knew love could be so dangerous?
Following Freya from her carefree twenties up to the present day, Over My Shoulder is an intricate tale of blinkered love and obsession.