Angie Howard has one ambition - to escape from her home in the idyllic Essex countryside and set up her own cafe in London. Once there, she seeks out her long-lost Uncle John, whose lifestyle is not at all what she expected. Before she can achieve her goal, she has to juggle the needs of a glamorous French waiter, a grouchy German chef and her exuberant, transvestite uncle. What's more, if she manages to keep the lid on all that, what will she do about the other hidden secrets of her family?
Anne gives an overview of the book:
‘The train now at Platform One is the 16:43 fast service to London Liverpool Street. This train is about to depart,’ announced the tannoy in clipped tones.
Over the bridge two red-headed women raced, baking in the summer heat, the first in panic and the second in confusion.
‘Stop, darling!’ yelled Angie’s mother again. ‘I have to talk to you about this.’
‘No way,’ Angie replied. ‘We never agree!’
The whistle blew. Angie was now on the right platform and legging it towards the train, her mother only ten paces behind. With a super-human effort, Angie hauled open the nearest door and flung herself and her hold-all onto the carriage’s dirty floor. She slammed the door behind her just as her mother collided against the outside of the window. The train began to move off.
‘Open this door at once!’ Angie’s mother yelled, beginning to scamper alongside the train to keep level with her fleeing daughter, who was now holding the door shut against her mother’s frantic attempts to get in.
‘Sta-a-and clear of the train!’ shouted the platform official.
‘Let go, mother!’ screamed Angie. ‘Please! You’ll hurt yourself. And I’m not staying at home. Or taking that job with the ruddy butcher. I’m sorry, I can’t!’
At the last moment, her mother let go of the window and stood at the very end of the platform, either gesticulating or waving at her departing daughter. Angie couldn’t tell which it might be, but thank goodness she was all right. She couldn’t have borne it if her mother had been hurt, that would have been the end. She had a small enough family as it was.
As the train gathered speed for its hour’s journey into the distant heart of the city, Angie turned and gave a bright smile to the curious carriage, all of whom avoided her direct gaze. Deciding there was nothing she could say to explain her extraordinary arrival into their midst, she gathered her belongings and sank into the nearest empty seat.
‘There, I’ve done it,’ she said to herself. ‘I’ve finally left home.’
It was only then she realised she’d forgotten to pack any knickers.
Anne Brooke has been writing for eighteen years and is the author of seven novels, numerous short stories and poems. She was shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Novel Award in 2006, longlisted for the Betty Bolingbroke-Kent Novel Award in 2005, and shortlisted for the Royal...