For Nicola Mills, approaching middle age doesn’t seem so bad as she enjoys the settled, ordered life she has always dreamed of. Cracks start to appear, however, with the arrival of her mother, whose chaotic life threatens to overshadow Nicola’s routine. Life becomes even more uncertain when she loses her job but, encouraged by her friend Lizzie, Nicola embraces the opportunity to follow her dream and opens a seafront cafe. Fate it seems has other ideas though and, when one of her of her employees goes missing, Nicola is thrown into a dangerous world of crime and murder, which leaves her dreams in tatters.
Dare To Lose, is a novel about friendship, loyalty and strength in the face of adversity. By losing everything, will Nicola finally be able to live?
After being forced out of her job as a school teacher after upwards of 25 years and being on the receiving end of some nasty school politics, Nicola opens the cafe she’s always dreamed of and her life begins to turn a corner. That is, apart from having her mother as a permanent houseguest and until her young American waitress, Jessica, doesn’t show up for work one day and is nowhere to be found. As Nicola becomes increasing worried she phones Jessica’s family in the United States. Nicola has no idea how this will impact on her life.
Jessica’s good looking but very uncommunicative and aloof father, Jack Nash, arrives in response to Nicola’s call. The local police aren’t making Jessica’s disappearance a priority so, as he is a detective in Chicago, Jack decides to start his own investigation and search for his missing daughter. Nicola, Jack, Nicola’s mother and her boyfriend, Ron, find themselves embroiled in a situation they could never have envisioned and are drawn into something very threatening and dangerous.
It was the voice which caught her attention first and she felt her hands freeze as, knife in hand, she turned to find herself face to face with a large, scowling mass of a man. The Texan drawl left little doubt that he was somehow connected to Jessica, as Nicola put the knife aside and picked up the tea towel to wipe her hands.
There’s a lot of action and suspense throughout the story which held my attention fully. I can’t make up my mind if Nicola is very brave or very foolish. Maybe I’ll settle for a mixture of both. It’s a nice change for the main protagonist to be an older woman and Nicola is easy to like, and someone who puts others first. She’s also someone to rely on. All the characters are well drawn and easy to picture in the vivid scenes and places running through my mind.
Nicola and her mother have a complex relationship and they exasperate and comfort each other in equal measure. I like the role reversal, Nicola being the one shocked and embarrassed by what she sees as her mother’s irresponsible behaviour. In the end though, Nicola realises family, friends and dependability are everything, finding love is a bonus.
I enjoyed the story, the humour and E.L. Lindley’s writing style, very much.
Dare To Lose can be found on Amazon UK and Amazon US
About the author
E.L. Lindley is an indie writer and general lover of books in all of their forms. She has written numerous contemporary novels, including the Georgie Connelly series as well as standalone novels. When she is not writing, she is devouring the works of other writers and is delighted by how indie publishing has thrown open the world of publishing. She sees it as a win win situation, allowing writers to publish their work, whilst providing readers with a richer and more varied choice.
Lindley has always loved writing but produced her first full length novel, Business As Usual, when she decided to move on from her career as an English teacher. She now supplements her writing by working on a free-lance basis. This also affords her time to travel and she has been fortunate enough to have travelled extensively throughout the world, using her experiences as a source of inspiration for her writing.
She currently resides in Sheffield in the UK but has lived and worked in many places including, London, Oxford, Southampton, Cheltenham and Brighton. She also studied for a couple of years at the University of Arlington in Texas and has consequently made many extended trips to the USA to visit and stay with friends. Her novels reflect this and tend to incorporate both sides of the Atlantic.
Lindley writes in a style which is both light-hearted and fun but with serious undertones, often tackling gritty subjects. In all of her novels, the characters reflect her belief in humanity and the fact that the human spirit will always prevail, regardless of the situation. Lindley’s primary goal is to entertain people but she is happy to take any response that she can get.