Author: Jane Cable
Published: June 2019 by Sapere Books
Category: Contemporary Fiction, Suspense, Paranormal, Romance, Book Review
Marie Johnson is trapped by her job as a chef in a Dorset pub and by her increasingly poisonous marriage to its landlord.
Worn down by his string of affairs she has no self-confidence, no self-respect and the only thing that keeps her going is watching her son, Jude, turn into a talented artist.
But the 60th anniversary of a D-Day exercise triggers chance meetings which prove unlikely catalysts for change.
After a short but haunting prologue we meet Marie Johnson, chef at the The Smugglers in Studland Bay, Dorset. She and Stephen, her estranged husband, own the pub, which is run with the help of Baz in the kitchen and their son, Jude.
Marie suffers from debilitating migraines and, although she loves her job, is feeling increasingly trapped in a situation she feels she has no control over. The relationship with her husband has deteriorated beyond repair. He controls the finances and bills are piling up while Stephen uses the money for his own project. The only light in her life is Jude, a talented artist who won’t be around to help much longer.
With the 60th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day landings approaching and rehearsals in full swing, Marie is working harder than ever. She escapes to walk the cliffs and spend time at her beach hut whenever possible, which is when she meets Corbin, a quiet and polite American soldier.
With the activity centred on the beach I thought I’d be the only person walking on the cliff but coming towards me is a man wearing khaki combats and a white T-shirt, his hair cropped disconcertingly close.
“Good afternoon, ma’am.” American.
I smile without breaking my step. “Lovely day.”
Several people feature in Marie’s journey and precipitate change as she struggles to find a way forward—Paxton, another American serviceman based nearby, D-day veteran George and his son Mark—despite misunderstandings and relationship issues. All the characters are flawed or affected by circumstances in one way or another and all are well drawn. It takes Marie a long time to realise it’s up to her to get her life back on track. No-one but herself is holding her back.
Jane Cable has crafted a story full of emotions, from despair and hopelessness through to renewed hope and love. Throughout it all Marie’s love for Jude is a constant and she’s determined he won’t become shackled to The Smugglers. The beautiful, vividly described setting also plays an important part, with the long sandy stretch of Studland Bay, dunes and cliff path to the impressive Old Harry rock formations.
A story with depth incorporating complex characters, a past and present connection, drama, history, romance and a touch of the paranormal. Sensitive issues were explored sympathetically including the terrible and lasting effects of war, and above all showing the necessity for, and happiness that can be brought by, friends and family.
Old Harry photograph courtesy of diego_torres via Pixabay
About the Author
Perhaps writing is in my blood. My father, Mercer Simpson, was a poet; my cousin, Roger Hubank, a novelist; Roger’s uncle, John Hampson was also a novelist and fringe member of the Bloomsbury Group. And it’s even rumoured that John Keats is somewhere back there in the family tree. No wonder that I have always scribbled.
It was reaching the final of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition in 2011 which made me take my writing seriously. The Cheesemaker’s House, a gripping romance-suspense, saw the light of day in September 2013 and I was delighted when it received great reviews from book bloggers and, just as importantly, from the people who bought and read it. My second novel, The Faerie Tree, came out in March 2015 and is a suspenseful romance about the tricks memory plays.
I have recently signed a contract with Sapere Books for the re-issue of Another You (which I withdrew when the previous publisher went into liquidation) and a further timeslip romance looking back to World War Two.