‘It’s time to talk about YOU..’
Today I am delighted to be joining Sarah Long on tour with her novel Invisible Women. Just published in paperback by Bonnier Zaffre, Invisible Women is described as ‘Sharp, irreverent and very funny women’s fiction for grown-ups’
Invisible Women will appeal to all fans of Dawn French, Sue Townsend and Veronica Henry and many of us who ask that question….‘what about me?’
Read on for an extract…
Tessa, Sandra and Harriet have been best friends through first crushes, careers, marriage and the trials of motherhood. After twenty years of taking care of everyone else’s every need, they’ve found themselves hitting the big 5-0 and suddenly asking themselves: ‘what about me?!’
Sandra has a sordid secret, and Harriet is landed with her ailing mother-in-law. Tessa is looking for something to fill the gaping hole left by her youngest daughter’s departure for uni, where it seems she’s now engaged in all sorts of unsavoury activities, if Tessa’s obsessive late-night Facebook stalking is anything to go by.
When Tessa impulsively responds to an online message from an old flame, she soon finds herself waiting at Heathrow Airport for The One That Got Away.
But what will the plane from New York bring her? The man of her dreams, or a whole heap of trouble?
And could this be the long-awaited moment for Tessa to seize her life, for herself, with both hands?
Extract ~ Invisible Women
The bus sped up at the approach to Hyde Park Corner, the grandest moment of the route. Cyclists were pedalling between the sturdy legs of Admiralty Arch and the usual queue of tourists were lined up outside the Hard Rock Cafe, the non-negotiable visit of every out-of-towner. I went to London and all I got was this lousy t-shirt and a serviette from the Hard Rock Cafe.
Tessa rang the bell and picked her way carefully down the stairs, impeded by the high heels which exacerbated her dodgy knees. Damn her ageing body, and it was only going in one direction. No matter how much time and money you threw at it, you were never going to skip, loose-limbed, down the staircase, down a sand dune, the way she’d done with John and Sandra and all of them, in their post-exam elation, the future opening bright and unfocused in front of them. School’s out forever, Alice Cooper had declared as much, with his black eyeliner and vampire face, which Lola had replicated during her pale Goth phase. There was nothing new, ever, Tessa had told her daughter, we’ve all been there darling.
She fastened her jacket, rather tighter than it used to be, and decided it was too cold to pass the time in a deck chair so she would have to find an indoor alternative. Of course, Fortnum and Masons! The perfect place to while away half an hour in a genteel fug of foodstuffs. After admiring the window display, she slipped through the doors and wondered where to start in her sensory exploration. Chocolate was the supposed magnet, but Tessa disliked the clichéd idea that all women were secret addicts, giggling coyly over the pralines when they knew it was really so naughty. Yet she was taken with the idea of welcoming John back to his homeland with a gift of fine confectionery, so different to the rubbish chocolate he’d be used to in America. The assistant took a pistachio green box and filled it with a selection of rose and violet creams, you couldn’t get more English than that, though it did occur to her it was the sort of thing you’d give to a maiden aunt rather than a hulking middle-aged almost-American who liked to slap a steak on a man-sized barbeque. Never mind. She dropped the daintily wrapped box into her hand bag and decided she might as well be early. There was an advantage to being first, she could be safely seated at their table and watch the door for his arrival, rather than being the one to teeter in under his scrutiny, as he clocked the ravages of the last thirty years.
She walked past the Wolseley, the revamped car showroom that was now a successful restaurant full of fashionable people, then on to the Ritz which was not. As she was ushered through the revolving door by a uniformed lackey, Tessa half expected Downton Abbey’s Carson to rush forward to take her coat. Instead, she was confronted by a corridor of elderly people sitting around in chairs. She continued down the hall, past the raised dais where blue-rinsed out-of-towners were already installed for afternoon tea. Carson would turn in his grave, who on earth took tea at one o’clock? Then she arrived at the dining room, a peculiar choice of venue for John, she couldn’t quite imagine him here, in this gilded cage of frippery, with its pink floral carpet and rosy-hued frescoes like a Fragonard painting. The front of house welcomed her with the East European accent you heard everywhere in London’s restaurants. She smiled at him graciously, looking forward to being shown to her table.
‘Yes, thank you, I’m meeting John Ormonde, I think the table’s booked in his name.’
He looked at his screen, an intruder from the modern world incongruously slipped into the eighteenth century decor. He frowned and looked a little longer.
‘I can’t find anything here… Oh yes, I see there was a booking but it was cancelled this morning.’
Tessa felt the flat grey of disappointment.
‘Thank you, I can’t have picked up the message, lines crossed somewhere. Thank you.’
She turned round and made her retreat, past the blue-rinses queueing for the cloakroom and the rows of gentlemen in their fusty tweed jackets with moribund ties and carefully coiffed thin hair. He didn’t have her mobile number, he must have messaged her on Facebook, he wasn’t to know she was the only person in the world not to have a smart phone.
On the bus home, she couldn’t be bothered to go upstairs, not when she was wearing these ridiculous shoes. She chose a seat for the disabled, opened her handbag and helped herself to a violet cream chocolate.’
About The Author:
Sarah LongFollowing several years of the Parisian experience, she now lives back in London.