L'herbe est toujours plus verte ailleurs !
Quand Sara, jeune étudiante, épouse Conrad, peintre renommé et plus âgé qu´elle, sa mère la met en garde. À raison, semble-t-il: des années plus tard, pour le bien de sa femme, Conrad décide qu´il mettra fin à ses jours avant de devenir sénile, et adopte une attitude pour le moins étrange.
De son côté, Sara, professeure d´art, est entourée d´hommes plus jeunes. Ce sont les maris des autres, ceux dont elle parle à Conrad. Mais elle se garde bien de révéler que l´un d´entre eux la trouble plus que de raison. Après tout, ce sont des amis, rien de plus... À moins que l´avenir n´en décide autrement.
«Un vrai délice!» Woman and Home «Méchamment drôle.» Daily Mail
After twenty years of marriage, Nina had offloaded serial philanderer Joe and was happy enough, thank you, coping alone with their two demanding daughters and her own hectic life. It felt like freedom, not having to wonder constantly where Joe was, who with and up to what.
But into Nina's new, carefree life some disturbing elements began to appear. A flasher had been accosting young girls on the nearby common, leaving every man in the area under suspicion. Home, to Nina, no longer felt so safe. And Joe, during one of his oh-so-civilised monthly lunches with Nina, revealed that the new love in his life, pin-thin, power-dressed Catherine, had decided that she now required a baby. But babies, Joe told Nina, were what he did with her: a remark that Nina found oddly unsettling...
Jess has just waved goodbye to her darling son, off backpacking to Oz. She's left with two teenage daughters and husband Matt - all of whom find themselves regularly featured in her popular and lighthearted newspaper column in which she conveys to her readers an enviably cheery muddle of family life.
Things become less rosy when Matt, after twenty years with the same firm, is made redundant. Only Jess sees the potential calamity in this. Matt is delighted with his new freedom and takes to hanging out at the local bar with others of the male barely-employable tendency, drinking and drifting and dreaming up hopeless schemes to make them all rich. Daughter no. 1, meanwhile, has taken up with a mysterious boy living in an abandoned car on the allotment, and her younger sister is over-burdened with a surfeit of secrets. For Jess, trying to hold everything together and missing her first-flown child, it becomes ever-harder to maintain the carefree façade for her readers. Of course she could just tell them the truth...
Funerals are strange things. Kitty hadn't really wanted to go to this one - a old school friend she hadn't seen for years - and she hadn't bargained for the way it made her think of the past. In particular, it made her think of the baby she had given birth to when she was eighteen, the baby her parents had insisted she give away for adoption. She'd called her Madeleine, and she remembered her every day, what she was like, if she was happy. But now, reminded of how cruelly short life can be, she had to see her - just to make sure she'd done the right thing.
Life had turned out pretty well for Kitty. Secure in her marriage, with her two teenage children and a house within sound and sight of the Cornish surf, she counted herself among the lucky ones. But the hole left by that first baby wasn't getting any smaller, and she decided to make the first, tentative steps towards filling it - although she, and all her family, were quite unprepared for the upheaval which followed.
Every July, the lucky owners of Cornish holiday homes set off for their annual break. Loading their estate cars with dogs, cats, casefuls of wine, difficult adolescents and rebellious toddlers, they close up their desirable semis in smartish London suburbs having turned off the Aga and turned on the burglar alarm and look forward to a carefree, restful, somehow more fulfilling summer.
Clare is, this year, more than usually ready for her holiday. Her teenage daughter, Miranda, has been behaving strangely; her husband, Jack, is harbouring unsettling thoughts of a change in lifestyle; her small children are being particularly tiresome; and she herself is contemplating a bit of extramarital adventure, possibly with Eliot, the successful although undeniably heavydrinking and overweight author in the adjoining holiday property. Meanwhile Andrew, the only son of elderly parents, is determined that this will be the summer when he will seduce Jessica, Eliot's nubile daughter. But Jessica spends her time in girltalk with Miranda, while Milo, her handsome brother with whom Andrew longs to be friends, seems more interested in going sailing with the young blond son of the club commodore.
Unexpected disasters occur, revelations are made and, as the summer ends, real life will never be quite the same again.
Stella works as an agony aunt for a teenage magazine. She lives on Pansy Island, a selfconsciously arty community on the Thames, where her husband Adrian writes erotic novels in a summerhouse by the river, while her two teenage children prepare themselves for adult life in various ways not necessarily recommended in the pages of their mother's advice columns. Stella's friends assume that she has no problems of her own, and shamelessly come to her for the advice she dishes up for a living on the magazine; Stella, however, finds herself with a problem she cannot handle when Abigail, her rich and glamorous friend from university, comes to stay. Abigail has been deserted by her husband, and has decided that Stella's life, and more particularly Stella's husband (with whom she once had a fling in their younger days) will fill the gap nicely.
The residents of the Close were much concerned with crime preventing it, that is. With all those outofwork teenagers on the nearby council estate hanging around, stealing, joyriding and goodness knows what else, it was just as well that Paul Mathieson was setting up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
Not that the inhabitants of the Close did not have their own little activities, of course, but these were hardly the same thing. If Jenny and Alan's daughter was caught travelling on the underground without a ticket, and their son was doing a little experimenting with certain substances, and Laura didn't see the need to declare her earnings from hiring out her house to a film crew, and Jenny drove home only just over the legal limit well, these were quite different matters, not to be compared with what went on in the Estate. And then there was Jenny's discovery, when she advertised flute lessons, that she could work up quite a nice little earner in a rather unexpected way...
As the leafy London street resounded to the efforts of its citizens to keep crime at bay, Jenny realised that it was her marriage, rather than her property, that needed watching.
It was Heather's silver wedding anniversary. But this important milestone did not mark her marriage to Tom, her oftenabsent airline pilot husband and father of their two teenage children. It was for her first marriage a wildly romantic, secret affair, when she and Iain twelve years older than her and the heir to a Scottish baronetcy had eloped immediately after her final school speech day. She was just sixteen at the time. The marriage had not lasted twentyfive weeks, let alone years, and it was, as her mother firmly announced, As If It Never Happened. But secrets have a habit of coming out, and when a film crew arrived in the attractive Thamesside village where Heather and Tom lived, Heather was horrified to find her exhusband amongst them.
As Heather and Iain met again, many secrets jostled to be revealed, including Tom's own highly secret life. Heather, her daughter Kate the same age as Heather was when she embarked upon her disastrous elopement and her mother Delia all had to reveal things which they never thought would need to be revealed, and their peaceful Oxfordshire village community buzzed with speculation and scandal.
Bella has given up on men.
Her latest boyfriend 'forgot' to tell her about his current wife, so she's single again.
Now, her ex-husband has turned up, wanting to sell the family home in which she and their two teenage children are happily living their lives.
Then Bella sees a chance to stay in the house and earn some money. She rents it out for a reality TV makeover programme.
And it turns out that the house isn't the only thing that will benefit from a change...
Melanie finds herself single again after years of being one half of a couple. Her friends predict loneliness, frustration, disaster. Her parents are convinced she's a failure in life. But Melanie is overwhelmingly excited to be able to do her own thing she plans a programme of behaving badly, after a lifetime of behaving properly. With her daughter off to university and exhusband Roger married off at last to his lamentably young girlfriend whom he accidentally got pregnant at the office party she has what a teenager would call a Free House, and she intends to make the most of it.
But is the single life quite all it's cracked up to be?
Do the friendships you make on holiday have anything to do with real life?
It might be sensible to hope that they don't.
For the last few years, Beth and Ned have gone to the same Caribbean island to the same luxury spa hotel. There they meet the same crowd, and take up where they left off last time. Real life, home life, family life, are all safely left behind.
Except this year. This year, home problems have somehow tagged along for the ride. Ned has been playing away -Â a bit of a drunken fling, that's all, nothing to worry about, Beth thinks.But although they have put it all behind them, what Beth doesn't know is that Ned's fling was with the female half of one of the couples they are holidaying with.
To make matters worse, Beth has insisted on bringing along their sixteen-year-old daughter Delilah, whoÂ¹s been ill and needs rest and sunshine. Not so ill, however, that she can't look around for some entertainment...
Big and beautiful? Or thin and miserable?
Jay has always envied her cousin Delphine. While Jay was brought up in a large, noisy and chaotic family, Delphine was indulged, perfectly dressed with a co-ordinated bedroom, an immaculate wardrobe, dancing lessons and monogrammed silver-backed hairbrushes. Now Jay lives happily with her architect husband and their three teenage children, running a successful cleaning company and trying to keep some kind of order on her disorderly household, while Delphine has long since disappeared to Australia with her second husband. But Jay does sometimes wonder whether she should be more like her cousin - utterly well-organised and with a size ten figure.
So Jay decides to diet. But what should it be? High carb, no protein? High protein, no carb? High fibre? Wheat free? Fat free? Food free? She tries them all, with a variety of successes and failures. But then Delphine reappears, with a third husband in prospect and the same old air of apparently effortless superiority. Jay never considers that perhaps Delphine is the envious one...
Alice has a scrupulously organised, comfortable life in West London with Noel - her second husband whose main ambition in life is to sharpen his golf handicap in time for retirement. But Alice's once-famous bohemian mother Jocelyn, residing in shabby splendour in a crumbling house on a clifftop in Cornwall, becomes ill and Alice, with her daughter and stepson, goes to look after her. What she finds there appals her - her glorious childhood home falling into decay, her brother and his wife taking more notice of the illegal substances being grown in the vegetable garden than in the domestic arrangements, and their twin sons running wild and living according to the tenets of the SAS Survival Handbook (trapping rabbits and catapulting seagulls).
Noel, helpfully, considers that Jocelyn offload the house ('She's sitting on a goldmine, you know') and move into sensible sheltered accommodation. But the children love the freedom and beauty that they discover in Cornwall, and Alice begins to wonder whether her chosen way of life is necessarily the right one...
A Proper Family Holiday was the last thing Lucy was expecting to have. But as a penniless and partnerless house-painter with an expired lease on her flat and a twelve-year-old daughter, she could hardly turn down her parents' offer to take them on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Caribbean. She'd just have to put up with her sister Theresa (making no secret of preferring Tuscany as a holiday destination) and brother Simon (worrying that there might be some sinister agenda behind their parents' wish to take them all away) with their various spouses, teenagers, young children and au pair.
In a luxury hotel, with bright sunshine, swimming, diving, glorious food and friendly locals, any family tensions should have melted away in the fabulous heat. The children should have been angelic, the teenagers cheerful, the adults relaxed and happy. But...some problems just refuse to be left at home.
Viola hasn't had much luck with men. Her first husband, Marco, companion of her youth and father of her only child, left her when he realised he was gay. Her second, Rhys, ended his high-octane, fame-filled life by driving his Porsche into a wall. No wonder her family always believes she needs Looking After, and her friends think she really shouldn't be allowed out on her own...
Which is why, at the age of thirty-five, she finds herself shamefully back at home, living with Mum.
Viola knows she has to take charge; she needs to get a life, and fast. With a stroppy teenage daughter, a demanding mother, and siblings who want to control her life for her, where is she going to turn?
Sara's mother told her that she shouldn't marry Conrad - that the twenty-five-year age gap between them would tell in the end. The end is now (apparently) approaching fast.
Conrad, a famous painter, has decided that it would be good to die before he gets seriously old and so spends his time sorting out his chaotic life. Sara, teaching art at a local college, finds that she has plenty of male company - other people's husbands, ones she tells Conrad all about, who are just good friends to her.
But there's one she, somehow, doesn't get round to mentioningÂ…
Have you ever wondered what your ex is up to?
When Nell was a student, she and Patrick were a serious item. They were inseparable, and she really thought he was The One. But then Alex came alongÂ...the safer, more restful option, and thanks to her over-controlling mother she opted for him instead.
Now nothing is going right. Alex has left her to live in New York with a younger, blonder woman. Escaping to the Caribbean for a recuperative holiday, she is mugged at Gatwick and her bag is stolen. It's crisis time - and she makes two decisions:
First - she will take lessons in self-defence.
Second - she will try and find Patrick again.
Is she trying to put the past behind her- or setting out to ruin her future
Sorrel is about to go off on her Gap Year. She sooo wants a home to come home to.
Ilex, her brother, is trying to upgrade his flat and marry his smart girlfriend Manda. He'd like some immediate equity.
Clover, the elder sister, has plans that involve a bijou second home in France. And she wants it now.
If only their parents would be sensible. If only they would sell their large, rather grand but somewhat dilapidated home and hand over their inheritance. But parents aren't always as sensible as their children. They are planning on blowing the lot...
It's twenty years since Miranda, then sixteen, holidayed in Cornwall and her life changed forever. Now she's back again - with her mother Clare and the ashes of her stepfather Jack, whose wish was to be scattered on the sea overlooked by their one-time holiday home.
The picturesque cove seems just the same as ever, but the people are different - more smart incomers,fewer locals, more luxury yachts in the harbour. But Miranda and Clare both find some strangely familiar faces, and revisit the emotions they both thought had disappeared.
Thea's parents decide to host a big family Christmas in a house by the sea... even though they are, in fact, about to split up. Thea herself is newly single - her sister and brother are both settled, with children, homes and a future. But Thea's boyfriend has ditched her in favour of his pedigree dogs, and Thea can't decide whether or not she minds.
There will be copious food and drink, holly and mistletoe, lots of bracing walks and a wintry barbecue on the beach. If it seems an odd way to celebrate the final break-up of a marriage and the Moving On to new partners, no- one is saying so. But then no-one had anticipated that the new partners might actually turn up to complicate the sleeping arrangements.
As Cornwall experiences the biggest snowstorm in living memory, the festive atmosphere comes under some strain. Will Thea manage to find some happiness for herself? Will the mistletoe work its magic on them all?
'Elegant, witty writing, endearing characters and a wonderful romance. What more could you want?' Katie Fforde, bestselling author of A Christmas FeastIt is almost a year since Sean and Thea met and it's been a roller-coaster ride: they're getting married on Christmas Day!Neither Thea or Sean want a big fuss - a simple wedding, with Christmas lights and just a few sprigs of mistletoe for decoration is all they need. But before they know it, things begin to get complicated. Trying to manage a long-distance relationship in the build-up to their Christmas wedding is one thing, but as one challenge after another comes their way, the happy couple begin to wonder if they'll ever make it down the aisle . . .With unforgettable characters, charming romance and lots of laughter, A Merry Mistletoe Wedding is a gorgeous Christmas read - perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan, Lucy Diamond and Milly Johnson.
Un relooking qui réserve bien des surprises...
Quand elle découvre que son dernier amant est marié, Bella tire un trait sur sa vie amoureuse. C´est le moment que choisit son ex-mari pour débarquer sans crier gare et menacer de vendre leur maison. Alors que sa vie déraille, la providence finit par lui sourire. Bella se voit proposer de participer à une émission de téléréalité dont le tournage aurait lieu chez elle... Mais les ennuis ne font que commencer : sa baraque est sens dessus dessous, son look revu de A à Z par d´inquiétants stylistes, et son coeur s´emballe pour le charmant producteur de Fashion Victims...
Alliant savamment la tendresse à un humour ravageur, Un amour de look a été sélectionné par la RNA (Romantic Novelists´ Association) pour le prix de la meilleure comédie romantique.