I’m so delighted author Sue Shepherd got in touch – she’d seen my reviews on Book Connectors and Twitter, and (rightly!) thought I might rather like the look of her books. Her second novel, Love Them and Leave Them was published by Corazon Books on 27th September, and I’ll be reading and reviewing it on Being Anne in January. I loved Sue’s description – “a sort of Sliding Doors with a bit more grit”. Now that sounds like one for me doesn’t it?!
Sometimes you have to leave the one you love … sometimes you’re the one who’s left behind.
On his way home, Ed makes a split-second decision that changes the lives of all those who love him.
Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessie, is stuck in a job with no prospects, her dreams never fulfilled. It will take more than her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, and temperamental best friend, Coco, to give her the confidence to get her life back on track.
But what if Ed had made another decision? It could all have been so different…
Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessica, has a successful career, loving boyfriend, Nick, and a keen eye on her dream home. But when new clients, a temperamental Coco, and her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, walk into her life, Jessica’s perfect world soon starts to unravel.
Love Them and Leave Them is a story of love, families, friendship and a world of possibilities. Whichever decision Ed makes, the same people are destined to come into his daughter’s life, sometimes in delightfully different ways. And before they can look forward to the future, they will all have to deal with the mistakes of the past.
Yes – I’m really looking forward to that one. But, just for now, I’m thrilled to welcome Sue to Being Anne, writing about a RomCom winter…
I make no secret of the fact that I’m not a fan of winter. When the subject comes up in Q&As, I always vote for summer, in a heartbeat. I would far rather sit and write in an old comfy pair of shorts, a favourite T-shirt and a pair of flipflops, than in comfy jeans, a jumper and slippers. (You notice I managed to get the word comfy in both scenarios.)
Seriously though, as much as I do quite like snuggling my feet down into my slipper boots, overall, I find winter a drag. It’s dark by the time my kids get home, and walking the dog is less of an enjoyable activity, and more of a necessity, (if I want the dog to sleep whilst I write, then we go out for a walk, whatever the weather!)
Now then, some people say they like winter because right slap bang in the middle of it comes Christmas. But I just don’t see how on earth that’s a payoff. I mean, really? Months of cold weather and dark evenings does not stack up against one special day. Does it? As I’ve said before, I can enjoy a turkey diner as much as the next person, but it doesn’t compare to a delicious meal enjoyed on a Continental terrace, whilst watching the summer sun set.
So, I think we’ve well and truly established that I struggle to see the appeal of winter. The writers of Romantic Comedy movies, on the other hand, simply cannot get enough of it. RomComs just seem to love a bit of the cold stuff.
The most obvious scene for me, comes at the very end of Bridget Jones’s Diary. Dear old, lovable Mr Darcy heads off into the snow (I won’t say where he’s going, just in case there’s a single, solitary person who hasn’t seen the film yet.) Bridget rushes out to follow him, wearing only her animal print knickers and a baggy cardigan. (Sorry, but I would 100% have stopped to put on a pair of jeans and some boots – even for you, Colin Firth!) As the film ends, they kiss in the fluffy white snow, and the audience once again believes in the magic of love. Of course, as I say, the truth is that not one of us would venture out of that flat, dressed from the waist down in just our knickers, (even if they were our bloody best ones that we’d bought from the fanciest underwear shop in town). And that fluffy white stuff they’re standing in … they’re in London, we all know, in reality it would’ve been brown slush.
The second film that springs to mind, when I consider the RomComs’ adoration of a winter setting, is Love Actually. I must confess that I do enjoy this movie. My main reasons being; the superb acting by Thomas Brodie-Sangster who plays the little lad experiencing his first crush, and the emotional scene where Andrew Lincoln tells himself, ‘Enough. Enough, now.’ (One has to wonder if he had the slightest idea how hard life was about to get for him, zombie-wise!) But does the film give us a realistic idea of what we can expect from a British Christmas? Does it, baubles! For a start, there will never be a Prime Minister who looks half as decent as Hugh Grant.
So, what other RomComs can I name which totally mislead us when it comes to winter? Hmm …? Of course, The Holiday. Some of the most stunning English countryside, once again covered in crisp white snow. An amazing old cottage. A beautiful woman who always looks gorgeous in oversized woolly jumpers, (yes, Cameron Diaz, I’m talking about you). But, really, do the rest of us look like that when we’re all layered up? The answer’s a resounding ‘no’ from me.
I’m not daft, I know the reason we all watch these winter movies is to escape. You’re all just as aware as I am, that, in truth, winter in England is cold and wretched, and that, my friends, would make for a thoroughly miserable movie.
I’m guessing around about now, many of you are shouting, “Bah humbug,” and who could blame you? I don’t mean to be such an Ebenezer, honest I don’t.
*Sue gives herself a shake*
OK, I’ll stop talking, and leave you all to get on with trying to enjoy your winter.
Me? What am I going to do now? Well, umm … I’m going to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. It is my favourite, after all.
Sue, that was wonderful! See you again in January…
About the author
Born in Harrow, Sue went on to spend several years living in Hertfordshire before selling up and taking a leap of faith across The Solent. She now resides on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle. Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the sea-side and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years. Happiest when hunched over her laptop with a cup of tea on the go, Sue loves to create stories with plenty of heart and laughs, but, she makes sure to include a bit of naughtiness too.
Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you’ll give her the heebie-jeebies and she’d prefer you not to mention Christmas until at least November!