6 Oct 2017

Book Extract / Blog Tour - The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

**Take a trip to the Yorkshire village of Burley Bridge, where a new arrival is going to shake things up…**
Growing up in a quiet Yorkshire village, Roxanne couldn’t wait to escape and find her place in the world in London. As a high-powered fashion editor she lives a glamorous life of perennial singlehood – or so it seems to her sister Della. But when Roxanne gets her heart broken by a fashion photographer, she runs away, back to Della’s welcoming home above her bookshop in Burley Bridge.
But Burley Bridge, Roxanne discovers, is even quieter than she remembered. There’s nothing to do, so Roxanne agrees to walk Della’s dog Stanley. It’s on these walks that Roxanne makes a startling discovery: the people who live in Burley Bridge are, well, just people – different from the fashion set she’s used to, but kind and even interesting. Michael, a widower trying to make a go of a small bakery, particularly so. Little by little, cupcake by cupcake, Roxanne and Michael fall into a comforting friendship.
Could there be a life for Roxanne after all, in the place she’s spent 46 years trying to escape?

Extract Nineteen from Chapter Six, pp 75-76

Further down on the steps, a couple of models were smoking. Usually, Roxanne didn’t mind the smell of cigarettes. She had been a smoker herself until she had finally managed to quit last year, after visiting Della and feeling like an idiot, puffing away on the pavement outside her bookshop with virtually every passer-by stopping to say hi. But now, as the girls’ cigarette smoke plumed upwards, she felt queasy. She looked out again over the city she had loved with a passion since she had arrived here at eighteen years old, and felt nausea rise in her.

Back in the studio, she scanned the vicinity for Marsha and Tina, keen to avoid bumping into them. They were nowhere to be seen. A waiter glided towards her with a tray laden with more glasses of champagne. ‘Thank you,’ she murmured, knowing it was the last thing she needed, but since when was champagne about need?

As she took a sip, a familiar voice floated above the hubbub: ‘Yep, Roxanne’s definitely here. I spotted her dancing like a nutter a few minutes ago.’ That was Marsha – and what did she mean by that? Roxanne whipped around to see her, still with Tina at her side, turned partly away and facing the seafood bar. A fresh wave of nausea rose in her stomach, and for a moment she feared she might be sick.

‘I thought she might not turn up tonight after your big announcement,’ Tina replied.

‘Of course she has,’ Marsha retorted. ‘You do know she’s seeing Sean, don’t you?’

‘You’re kidding!’ Tina gasped, still clearly not registering her presence.

‘No – honestly, they’re a couple. Everyone thought it’d just be a fling, ’cause you know what he’s like . . .’

‘Oh God, yeah,’ Tina murmured. 

‘But apparently those days are over,’ Marsha crowed. ‘They’ve been together a while now . . .’
Roxanne’s throat felt dry and sour. Fuzzy with booze, she felt incapable of confronting them or even wobbling over to talk to them and making any sort of sense. What was Sean like exactly? What the hell was she implying? Sure, he’d dated plenty of women during the lengthy periods between his serious relationships – but there was nothing wrong with that, and she’d never heard that he’d treated anyone badly. She frowned, trying to fathom out what Marsha and Tina had meant. Of course, the fashion business was rife with gossip, most of it widely overblown or patently untrue.

Roxanne sipped from her glass, feeling quite desolate now after having her dancing and her boyfriend criticised, virtually in a single breath. Kate was waving from the dance floor, trying to coax her to join them. However, Roxanne wasn’t really registering her.

‘I thought everyone knew about them,’ Marsha added.

‘Everyone apart from me, obviously,’ Tina exclaimed with a high-pitched laugh. ‘Always last with the gossip. God, though – Sean and Roxanne Cartwright? That’s hysterical . . .’

Roxanne stood for a moment, clutching her glass which she might once have termed half-full but was now most definitely half-empty. She turned away and placed it on a windowsill. However, being made from uneven bricks, the windowsill was too wonky a surface for the glass to rest on without toppling. Topple it did, landing with a smash on the concrete floor, causing a momentary hush as Roxanne turned and ran out of the room.