Delighted to be joining the blog tour today for Last of the Summer Moët by Wendy Holden, published by Head of Zeus on 1st February. No space on the reading pile, sadly, but I do rather like the look of this one…
Top reporter Laura Lake has struck journalistic gold.
She’s discovered a super-exclusive English village where the rich and famous own weekend retreats. Where film stars, Turner-prize winners and Cabinet ministers park their helicopters outside the gastropub and buy £100 sourdough loaves from the deli.
Outsiders are strictly forbidden. But luckily Laura’s best friend Lulu, a logo-obsessed socialite with a heart as huge as her sunglasses, suddenly fancies a quiet life in the country. The door to this enchanted rural idyll opens for Laura. Revealing a great professional opportunity.
Can Laura write an exposé before the snobbish villagers suss her true identity? And before the world’s poshest pub quiz triggers a political scandal not seen since Profumo?
Here are those all-important buying links:
Here’s an extract to give you the flavour:
Umbra, the fashionable new restaurant where Lulu had chosen to meet, seemed to have had a power cut. Or so Laura assumed, entering from the brightly sunlit street outside into an interior of intense black. As the door behind her clicked shut, the last slice of daylight disappeared. Darkness pressed in all around. It was like being in the deepest of caves; nothing at all was visible. There were sounds, however; the murmur of conversation, the clink of cutlery on china, even the occasional tinkle of laughter.
‘Hello?’ Laura called, disconcerted.
A small point of light now came towards her, like a torch beam. It was a torch beam, and above it was a face. The face was young, male and smiling as if the situation could not have been more natural. ‘Madam has booked?’
‘My friend has,’ Laura told him. ‘But she won’t be here yet.’ Lulu was always half an hour late for everything. ‘And actually, I think I’ll wait outside for her. Hopefully when she gets here the lights will be back on.’
‘Lights?’ The smiling face above the torch beams looked puzzled. ‘But, madam, Umbra does not have lights. That is the point. It is dark on purpose.’
Laura laughed. There was surprise in her laughter; London waiters, in her experience, were not great exponents of irony. But as the torchlit face changed from puzzled to irritated, she realised the assertion was serious. Her own amusement gave way to astonishment. ‘Dark? But why?’
‘To heighten our clients’ sense of taste, madam. To give them the ultimate flavour experience.’
‘You serve people in the pitch blackness and that makes the food taste better?’
‘And the wine, madam.’
‘I suppose,’ Laura allowed, ‘it brings a whole new meaning to “blind tastings”.’
The waiter did not bat an eyelid. Not so far as Laura could see, anyway. ‘Absolutely, madam. Shall I show you to your table?’
Laura followed the torch beam as it shone along a length of hideous swirled carpet. But of course there was no need to fit out a blacked-out restaurant in the latest expensive designer style. The proprietors of Umbra could well be on to something.
She felt her way to her seat. The invisible chair and table felt light and plastic, like very cheap garden furniture.
She sat there for what seemed like a very long time. Behind her and around her, the conversation flowed as it might in any high-end Mayfair eaterie at lunchtime.
‘Everyone who’s anyone lives there,’ a woman behind her was saying. ‘But no one’s ever heard of it.’
Laura was instantly on the alert. She was desperate to find a new lead for Selina the travel editor, who, encouraged by the new crazed Carinthia, was currently putting together a piece about trekking in the Arctic whilst living on reindeer blubber and lining your clothes with tinfoil. This luxury enclave being discussed was far more the thing. Where was it? Connecticut? Puglia?
The woman’s companion was speaking. ‘They say Great Hording’s the most expensive village in the UK.’
Village? The UK? Laura was so surprised she wobbled the table and a number of unseen things fell to the floor where, fortunately, the briefly glimpsed hideous carpet cushioned the impact. She was memorising the name of this fortunate place – Great Hording, Great Hording – as a small point of light flashed on her accompanied by an excitable voice with a strong foreign accent.
About the author
Number-one bestselling author Wendy Holden was a journalist on Tatler, The Sunday Times, and the Mail on Sunday before becoming an author. She has since written ten consecutive Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers. She lives in Derbyshire.
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