It’s a pleasure to bring to you today an extract from Summer at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green (if you remember I’ve a very soft spot for the first of this series, Spring at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by the lovely Rosie Green- read review here!)
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What they say: Jaz Winters stuck a pin in a map and fled to the village of Sunnybrook, looking for a brand new life – and after a rocky start, it’s beginning to look as if she made the right decision. Her blossoming friendship with Ellie and Fen has seen her through some dark times, and she’s managed to land two jobs – waitress at The Little Duck Pond Café and working as a weekend tour guide at Brambleberry Manor, the country house that’s been in Fen’s family for generations.
Sure, life isn’t totally perfect. There’s the irritating know-it-all guy who keeps popping up on her manor tours, for a start. He seems determined to get under Jaz’s skin whether she likes it or not. But she supposes it’s a small price to pay for the relative peace she’s found, living in Sunnybrook.
But just as Jaz is beginning to think rosier times are on the horizon, a shock encounter looks set to shatter her fragile happiness.
Will she be forced to flee from Sunnybrook and everyone she’s grown so fond of? Or will she find the strength to stand her ground and finally face up to the nightmares of the past?
This novella is part of a trilogy:
Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café
Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café
Winter at The Little Duck Pond Café
The Extract: ‘What’s going on over there?’ I ask, suddenly spotting what looks like a TV crew and their gear ambling over the grass towards us.
The man at the head of the posse comes over and says, ‘We’re here from the local news.’
‘The TV?’ asks Fen.
The man nods. ‘We were told it’s happening at four-thirty?’
Fen looks puzzled. ‘Oh, well, it’s been happening all day, really. But Mum will be so chuffed. She’s been pestering you – er, I mean calling you about the event for ages.’
The man frowns and scratches his head. ‘It wasn’t Lady Redpath who called in with the story.’
‘Oh? Who was it, then?’
‘My dad? But he’s not even here.’
The man grins and looks away, across the parkland. ‘Er, I think he might be just arriving.’
We all look over to where he’s pointing and our mouths collectively drop open. A man on a beautiful white horse appears between the trees, stops for a moment, then starts cantering across the grass towards the lake. He’s dressed in full Georgian regalia, pale breeches, dark jacket and riding boots.
‘That’s Dad?’ breathes Fen in wonder. Then a second later: ‘Christ, that’s Dad. What on earth’s he doing?’
The man refers to his notes. ‘According to this, he’s re-enacting the scene from Pride & Prejudice where Mr Darcy gets his kit off and dives into the lake?’
‘Nooooooo!’ Fen gasps, half in disbelief, half delight. ‘But he’s the shyest man I know. He must be doing this for Mum!’
We all start laughing and cheering and walking down to the lake, as Lord Redpath jumps off his horse – with surprising agility for a sixty-plus man – and strides towards the water.
‘Mum has to see this!’ shouts Fen and she turns, ready to run back to the house.
‘I’m here. What’s all the fuss?’ asks Lady Redpath, joining us. She suddenly sees what’s happening over by the lake and her mouth drops open. ‘Will?’
‘Right, let’s get down there!’ The crew are off, not wanting to miss the main event. And after a second, we all follow, Lady R linking arms with Fen and leading the way down to the lake.
‘Will?’ Lady R calls as she gets near, and he hops on one leg and looks around, having just removed one boot. Locating his wife in the crowd, he shrugs. ‘It was the best idea I could come up with. I bloody hope this lake isn’t freezing.’
‘Go, Mr Darcy!’ shouts Fen suddenly, with all the power in her lungs, and we all turn and stare at her in amazement. She glances at Ethan, who’s standing nearby, and he gives her a huge grin and takes up her words, chanting, ‘Mis-ter Darcy! Mis-ter Darcy! Mis-ter Darcy!’ And then the whole crowd are joining in.
Pulling off his other boot, Fen’s dad stands at the edge and glances back at the TV crew as if to say, Are you ready for this because I’m not sure I am! He rips off his jacket to reveal a white, flowing-sleeved shirt underneath. Then, curling his body forward, he executes a perfect dive into the waters of the lake.
I glance at Lady R. The disbelief on her face is almost comic.
Lord R is emerging from the water, shaking himself off like a dog, and everyone is cheering.
‘He needs a towel,’ murmurs Lady R, coming to her senses. ‘I’ll get you a towel, Will!’ she shouts and starts back across the grass to the house.
Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.
Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café, published on 18th June 2018, follows the first in the series, Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café.
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