A Vicarage Reunion by Kate Hewitt | Neverland Blog Tours | Excerpt and Giveaway!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Welcome to Thornthwaite, a quaint village tucked up in England’s beautiful but rainy Lake District, where homecomings and surprises await the four Holley sisters…

Esther Holley, the eldest in the family, has always had her life firmly in control until a miscarriage knocks her off course. Two months later, still emotionally spinning, she separates from her husband Will, a sheep farmer and man of few words and moves back in with her parents.

Life as a singleton thirtysomething living in her parents’ house is miserable, but Esther is determined to re-boot her life, including going on a few unfortunate dates. She’s shocked when tight-lipped Will shows up on her doorstep determined to woo her back. They’ve been married for seven years, but Will wants to return to the beginning, dating and getting to know each other again.

New challenges face them as they start over--and new chances too. Can Esther and Will save their marriage, especially when faced with the hardest decision of all?

About the author: Kate is the USA Today-bsetselling author of over 60 books of women's fiction and romance. She is the author of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, set in England's Lake District and published by Penguin. She is also, under the name Katharine Swartz, the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell.

She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women's fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in a market town in Wales with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever.

Will decided to break the silence first. “So you know about Esther, then.”
Dan ducked his head. “Sorry, mate.”

“It’s all right.” Will shrugged, acting as if it was all of little consequence, which was as daft as anything he could have done. What mattered more? He had a pain in his chest, the way he suspected a heart attack would feel, but he knew it wasn’t. “You heard the crack from Rachel, I suppose?”

Dan nodded. “She saw Esther this afternoon, at the vicarage.”
Will nodded and took another sip from his pint.
“I really am sorry,” Dan said after a moment. “I know things have been tough…”
“Did you?” Will interjected abruptly, his voice harder than he’d meant it to be, that raw wound opening wider. “Because I’m not sure I did.”

Dan looed startled. “I meant with the pregnancy… the miscarriage, you know…”
“Aye, that was hard.” There was a tightening in his chest as he remembered Esther’s toneless description of what had happened. He hadn’t gone to the twelve-week ultrasound; she’d briskly told him he didn’t need to, and with things busy as ever at the farm, he’d taken her at her word, which, now that he thought about it, seemed like a bloody stupid thing to do.

And so, it had meant he’d learned that their baby had never even been by Esther matter-of-factly recounting the events of her appointment as she sat at the kitchen table peeling potatoes. Will remembered the long, brown strips of peel, the pure white of the potato, the incongruity of it all. Death and dinner. He had barely been able to choke out "Oh, Esther" before she’d risen and gone to the Aga.

“Tea will be in half an hour,” she’d said. "Why don’t you have a bath beforehand?"
Will had stared at her, at a loss. Even he wasn’t so clueless when it came to feelings that he realized this wasn’t the right or normal response to a miscarriage. It wasn’t the response he felt inside, but hell if he’d known what to say or do.

“That was hard,” Will told Dan, “but it was two months ago, and Esther hasn’t seemed…” He paused, trying to think how Esther had seemed. As brisk as ever, surely, and maybe a little remote. But not grief-stricken. Not heartbroken. “Truth be told,” he said, “Esther didn’t seem as upset as all that.” He looked down into his beer, feeling disloyal for saying such a thing, even if it was true. “At least on the surface, I mean.” And he didn’t really look much farther than that. He wasn’t sure he knew how, not when what was on the surface had made him happy.

“Sometimes these things fester though, don’t they?” Dan said, and Will stared at him blankly. Fester? Open sores on a hoof festered. Not feelings. And yet even he knew what Dan meant. A bit.

“Esther isn’t the sort to hold a grudge or anything like that,” he protested. “If she’s got a problem, she’ll tell you. Tell me.” At least he’d thought she would—and she certainly had today. Except he still didn’t feel any the wiser.

“True enough, I suppose,” Dan acknowledged with a wry smile. “She can certainly be blunt, can’t she? I got my hair cut a few weeks ago and she said it made me look like a shorn sheep.” Will smiled a little; he’d never minded the sharp side of Esther’s tongue. “But what do you think is going on, then?”

Will shrugged again. What else could he do? He had no idea what was going on, and even if he did, he didn’t think he wanted to share it with Dan. But he did know his wife, or at least he’d thought he did, and she was one of the most practical, down-to-earth, no-nonsense people he knew, and so this kind of over-the-top, abrupt, and emotional behaviour was totally unlike her. That was what he couldn’t get his head around.

Her practical, purposeful air had been one of the things that had attracted him to her, when they’d met ten years ago at a quiz night at The Queen’s Sorrow. He’d looked at her and thought, there’s a woman who will tell you like it is. Who won’t mess you about. A woman you could build a life, a family, with. And then she’d laughed—a surprisingly deep, throaty, sexy sound, and Will had been sold.

He’d asked her out that night, they’d had dinner at a little Italian place in Keswick that weekend, and they’d been an item by Monday, engaged two years later, married the year after that. All smooth, smooth sailing, not a ripple in the water. Or so he’d thought. Now he had the uncomfortable sensation of feeling the need to question everything, doubt everything, something he never thought—or wanted—to do.

1st prize: £10 Amazon Gift card
2nd prize: A paperback copy of A Vicarage Christmas
Open Internationally

Good Luck!

Love, Sarah

Post a comment

Please feel free to leave a comment, I love to know what people think about my posts xo