When Julia Roberts contacted me to ask me if I’d like to be part of her upcoming blog tour, I’ll admit I was a teeny bit starstruck. No, no, she’s not THAT Julia Roberts – but she has been coming into my lounge regularly for quite a long time as a presenter on QVC (Diamonique… just saying!). But – and it’s only because of lack of reading time – I’ve never read one of Julia’s books, although I know from friends’ reviews that they would be very “me”. So it was rather lovely to be able to discover her writing through a short – Time for a Short Story – published on 12th September, and available for just 99p. Let me share the blurb:
Eloise is still coming to terms with the death of her mother two years previously when she takes a job as a waitress in a tearoom while she is home from university to spend the summer in Guernsey. There she meets regular customer, Josephine, whose hobby is writing short stories.
English student, Eloise, offers to read some of the stories and is surprised by how good they are. She organises a special ninetieth birthday treat for Josephine but when the elderly lady doesn’t show up for her usual Wednesday morning elevenses, Eloise gets a feeling that something is terribly wrong.
Where is Josephine? And will she ever find out about Eloise’s extraordinary act of kindness?
I have to say that this story was absolutely gorgeous – just 38 pages long, and quite perfect for a lunchtime or bedtime read, or when you just don’t have enough time to focus on a book. For such a relatively short read, this book had a bit of everything. The Primrose Pantry setting was beautifully drawn – I loved the story about how it got its name – and the superb descriptions of the cakes and scones really made this one you really shouldn’t read when hungry. The characters were wonderfully fleshed-out, Eloise immediately likeable and sympathetic, as was June the tearoom owner, and I even liked what we saw of the other rather less reliable waitress Claudette with the “resting bitch” face. All the interactions were really well done, and I really liked the relationship between Eloise and elderly customer Josephine with her unusual talent.
The story of the birthday treat and the search for Josephine were beautifully handled, touching and heartwarming but avoiding any over-sweetness, and I really enjoyed the story with its unexpected little twist at the end. The dedication to Julia’s own 90 year old mother was perfect, and really brought a tear to my eye. A nice light little treat it might be, but what I particularly liked about it was the way it made me realise that I’d like to read more from Julia Roberts – she writes quite beautifully. I also hope Julia decides to produce a short story collection – everyone I know who has read this one has loved it.
Let’s take a look at Julia’s books, the Liberty Sands trilogy:
Holly Wilson has landed a dream job but there is one proviso… she must keep it secret, and that means telling lies. Holly hates telling lies.
Her latest assignment has brought her to the paradise island of Mauritius where she meets a British couple, Robert and Rosemary, who share a tragic secret of their own.
The moment they introduce Holly to handsome writer, Philippe, she begins to fall in love, something she hasn’t allowed herself to do for twenty years.
But Philippe has not been completely honest and when Holly stumbles across the truth, she feels totally betrayed.
An enthralling story of love and romance, heartache and betrayal, set against the exotic backdrop of Barbados and the stunning Gower peninsula. If Holly can’t trust her own son, who can she trust?
Single mum, Holly Wilson, and her twenty-year-old son Harry have an enviably close relationship but when Harry finds out that she is pregnant and, for reasons unknown to all but herself, intends to raise the baby alone again, he begins to question her decision not to tell him about his own father, who abandoned them before his birth.
Upon discovering his father’s name, Harry secretly embarks on his search for the truth, a search which takes him to Los Angeles where he uncovers a tragic story. Still reeling from what he has learned, an extraordinary twist of fate brings Harry and Philippe, the father of Holly’s unborn child, face to face.
Should Harry tell him about the baby and risk damaging his relationship with his mum forever? If he does, will Philippe want to be a husband and father? And will Holly be prepared to give Philippe a second chance?
An emotional and at times tragic conclusion to the Liberty Sands trilogy, It’s Never Too Late To Say… uncovers terrible family secrets that have long been buried.
Holly Wilson seems finally to have it all: a beautiful baby daughter, a son about to embark on an exciting career, a glamorous new job in television, and an adoring boyfriend in bestselling novelist, Philippe. But something isn’t quite right…
In another part of the country, Carol has liver cirrhosis and is suffering from alcohol induced dementia causing her to relive memories – dreadful memories – of sins committed against her and those she has inflicted on others. Her carer, Helen, hopes a meeting with someone from the past might help mend Carol’s broken soul, but time is running out and there is something Helen has been keeping secret.
What links Holly to Carol and Helen? And who is Nick, the handsome stranger who has just walked into her life?
That’s certainly a trio of books I plan to add to my reading list…
Meet the author
Julia Roberts was born in Nottingham in 1956 and, despite contracting the killer disease polio in 1957, began her career in the entertainment industry in 1973 as a professional dancer in a summer season in Guernsey, Channel Islands. She had a varied career as a dancer, singer and actress, accepting contracts which allowed her to travel the globe, experiences she has been able to draw on for The Liberty Sands trilogy.
In 1993 she auditioned as a Presenter for a successful American shopping channel which was launching in the UK, and was the first face on air. Throughout her twenty-two years with QVC she has worked for other TV companies including sky Sports, she has a passion for football and particularly for her team, Crystal Palace, and she has written for various publications, but it wasn’t until her two children left home that she found the time to write her first book, a memoir entitled One Hundred Lengths of the Pool.
Following the publication of her first book by Preface Publishing in March 2013, Julia booked a holiday to Mauritius. Her children had bought her a notebook for Mother’s Day with words ‘Hold On People… I’m Having An Idea’, on the cover. On the first morning of her holiday, Julia had just that – the idea for her first novel.
Julia is an ambassador and fund raiser for British Polio, and has donated from book sales to them, the Rotary ‘End Polio Now’ campaign and also to the blood cancer charity, Bloodwise, after she was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia in 2012.