What a lovely cover!
Here’s a description of Magnolia House –
When you open up your home and your heart …
Rowan Forrester has it all – the happy marriage, the adorable dog, the good friends, the promising business and even the dream home after she and her husband Tom win a stunning but slightly dilapidated Georgian townhouse in London at auction.
But in the blink of an eye, Rowan’s picture-perfect life comes crashing down around her and she is faced with the prospect of having to start again.
To make ends meet she begins a search for housemates, and in doing so opens the door to new friends and new beginnings. But could she be opening the door to new heartbreak too?
This extract is from the opening page of Magnolia House:-
“April’s unexpected heat-haze danced as it levitated above broiled pavements. Shiny black slugs of melted tarmac dribbled into gutters, smelling as sickly-sweet as pineapple chunks. The news channels were proclaiming that it was going to be the hottest spring on record for the past seventeen years and the damp skin on Rowan’s back lay testimony to that fact.
Rowan and her husband, Tom, were in Clapham, standing across the road from Magnolia House and looking up at it in disbelief. It was a neglected and weather-worn building and its flaking central front door didn’t bode well for the rest of the house. The sash windows looked rotten where paint had peeled and rain had drenched the exposed wood. The low parapet that was built around the edge of the roof was crumbling in parts and missing in others. Its only redeeming feature was a mature magnolia tree standing in the diminutive front garden.
Rowan unfolded the page from the newspaper that Tom had shown her at breakfast the previous morning and, after great excitement, they’d decided to drive to London for a viewing.
‘It says here,’ Rowan read, ‘elegant semi-detached Georgian town house with basement accommodation. In need of some modernisation to bring it back to its former glory. Full of original features. Pretty courtyard to the rear of the property. Dated decor requiring attention throughout.’
‘Dated! I think they mean delapi-dated,’ said Tom, rubbing the stubble on his chin. It was a nervous habit he’d developed since recently establishing his own photographic business, The Wider Picture.
Nearby church bells chimed half past the hour as the estate agent fidgeted impatiently next to the front steps.
‘Do you still want to take a look?’ asked Rowan.
Tom pulled a face and shrugged. ‘We’re here, I suppose.’”
Well I’m off to pre-order…
Angela told me more about the inspiration for the book…
I was born in Clapham, London, so I suppose it was natural that I felt drawn to setting my story there. My family moved to Nottingham when I was four but I have happy memories of pushing Looby-Lou, my rag doll, in a toy pram on Clapham Common, so this large expanse of greenery in the middle of London plays an important role in my story. I’ve always been fascinated by obsessive compulsions and how some people’s minds can make them do strange actions by the flawed misconception that its presence is bringing order to their chaotic lives – albeit harmful or anti-social. How do people overcome a compulsion that plays such a negative role in their lives?
I’ve also examined friendship and the faith we have in our relationships. Rightly or wrongly, throughout our lives we feel hurt or let down by people we’re close to. Magnolia House is about rebuilding a life & learning to trust again. It’s about decisions – who makes the rules on when to fall in love following bereavement? Who can we trust to tell our deepest secrets to? It’s about self discovery and how we never really know the psyche of others, no matter how close we think we are to them.
One of my characters stepped into my story without being invited, but I love him like a dear friend despite him causing me to blush occasionally. Mason (Ace) is the brother of my hero. He’s a gay man with a fabulous character and wicked sense of humour. Occasionally in my book he comes out (no pun intended) with smutty innuendos that I thought I couldn’t possibly write in my story, but as Ace told me when I questioned him, it’s his character and I had no right to censor him. I hope you love him as much as I do, and fall in love with my hero, James, as much as I did.
About the Author Angela Barton
Angela Barton was born in London and grew up in Nottingham. She is married with three grown up children and two spoilt spaniels she calls her ‘hairy daughters.’ Passionate about writing both contemporary and historical fiction, Angela has won and also been shortlisted for several writing competitions. She reads avidly, makes book-related jewellery and loves a nice cup of tea. Having recently planted a field of lavender with her husband in south-west France, she is looking forward to spending more time writing in Charente and watching their lavender grow.
Angela is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Nottingham Writers’ Studio.
Angela writes for both Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction.
Angela Barton‘s personal links are:
Thank you for sharing your extract, Angela, I am most jealous of your writing room. Good luck with the book.