JUDGING a book

WOMAN'S WEEKLY|February 25, 2020

JUDGING a book
Change was definitely on Tiffany’s agenda, but was the village ready for what she had in mind?

So, what did we think of the Regency romance?’ Josie asked the members of the book group seated at her dining table.

‘Enjoyable. The characters came to life,’ Maggie said.

Cath giggled. ‘I wouldn’t mind a duke sweeping me off my feet!’

New member Tiffany took a deep breath. ‘It wasn’t my thing at all, I’m afraid. I prefer novels that challenge perceptions and reflect real life. How about something more literary next time? The latest Booker, maybe?’

She went on to enthuse about several prize-winning novels. ‘We could write our own reviews and take turns in reading them out,’ Tiffany continued.

Her suggestions were met with silence and bemused expressions. Tiffany blushed and bit her bottom lip. ‘I mean… only if you want to.’

Josie glanced at the stack of library books ready to hand out as the next read. Cornish Cove Café might not have won any prizes, but it was by an author they’d read before and enjoyed. Frivolous cover illustrations and titles often belied poignant plots. She hoped Tiffany would give it a chance.

Josie cleared her throat. ‘Well, that’s certainly worth thinking about. Now, who’d like a cup of tea?’

After the meeting, while Josie was washing up, her thoughts drifted to three weeks previously. From her bedroom window, she’d watched a removal lorry draw up outside the house opposite and a small car pull into its driveway.

A lad, five or six years old, she guessed, and a young woman got out and hurried into the house. A few hours later, Josie knocked and introduced herself.

‘Nice to meet you,’ the young woman said. ‘I’m Tiffany Meadows.’ She turned to the boy hovering in the hallway. ‘And this is my son, Lucas.’

A pang of nostalgia tinged with sadness settled in Josie’s chest as she took in the boy’s appearance. The tight black curls and eyes the colour of peanut butter reminded her of Elijah at that age.

She smiled at the boy and shifted her gaze back to his mother. ‘Welcome to the village and do let me know if you need anything.’

It was then that Tiffany had said she wanted to throw herself into the community. She’d asked about local groups and clubs, so Josie invited her to the book group.

With a sigh Josie brought her mind back to the present and finished the washing up. She picked the book up from the dining table and headed for the lounge. It was time to escape to Cornwall, away from village life.

Two days later, Josie was doing some gardening when Tiffany, a little breathless in running gear, stopped at the gate and pulled out her earbuds.

‘Josie. Hi,’ she said. ‘Can I ask you something?’

What was she going to come up with now? Aerobics instead of the usual keep fit in the church hall, energetic enough for the average age of those attending?

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February 25, 2020