I am thrilled to be today’s stop on K L Loveley’s Alice blog tour! 🙂
**Mine is extract 3 so please make sure you read extracts 1 & 2 over at Bookalicious Travel Addict & Kristin’s Novel Cafe**
The days in the classroom were long, the evening lectures tiring, but the late night socializing was a revelation for Alice. Her first week of many she would spend at summer school was a tremendous success and most enjoyable. Her children constantly encouraged their mum with her studies and were both so proud. Four years later, along with Robin and Alice’s mum, they watched Alice climb the stage at the Harrogate International Centre to accept her BSc in biological science. Throughout the first year of her studies, her divorce had been proceeding.
Alice knew it was in motion and had accepted the outcome as inevitable, so was well prepared when the divorce absolute came through.
Having experienced the single life for a year, Alice wondered if she preferred this easy, uncomplicated lifestyle. Although she enjoyed the attention of a few of the men who could be considered suitable for a long term relationship, none of them truly appealed to her and the idea of becoming intimate on any level filled Alice with fear. She had only been intimate with one man and he had betrayed her. Alice wondered if she would ever be ready to give herself to another man. That was until she met Robin. They had met briefly in the past. His first wife had worked as a physiotherapist at the hospital and on occasions, as couples, they had enjoyed meals out together, during which the men had the usual male conversations around sport and politics and the women chatted about their children and the latest hospital gossip. Therefore, having previously met, their first encounter was as old acquaintances catching up on each other’s lives and discussing family.
Over many months their friendship blossomed into love and a remarkable thing happened to Alice. She finally learned to trust another man. Eventually, six years after her marriage had ended, she was ready to be a wife once more. Despite the battering her trust had taken, Alice never lost faith in the idea of love. She had considered herself to be happily married once, and she was not disillusioned with men; just the one that had mattered to her.
Robin watched his wife and a little smile of satisfaction lightened his face. Although still petite and practically perfect, she had managed to gain the two stone in weight he had encouraged when they first met. Robin had never hidden the fact from Alice that he would like her to gain a few pounds. When Alice had asked what he had seen in her if he desired her to be a size larger, Robin answered that he had seen potential.
This did not necessarily convince her. Sometimes she wondered if he preferred her to resemble his first wife, who was three dress sizes larger than herself. Despite this, she had managed to gradually increase her weight over time and while her friends were all desperately trying to shed a few pounds Alice had been able to enjoy the freedom of choice at meal times. Contentment within her marriage in the early years had increased her appetite, aiding Alice with her quest.
As Alice left the bedroom, she heard Robin switch on the television with the remote control. She knew he would be watching the news channel to catch up on current affairs and as he so often joked, “I have to watch the news, we might be at war.” Alice laughed at this, but recently she felt she was already at war within herself, struggling to make a very important decision. Alice stepped carefully off the last step of the stairs. The hallway floor had been removed and a temporary walkway installed by the builders leading into the downstairs cloakroom and the kitchen. She breathed a deep sigh, still feeling the distress from the flood damage that had occurred six months previously following weeks of heavy rain in most regions of England. Some areas had suffered extreme flooding with rivers bursting their banks, resulting in utter chaos with extreme property damage and many families were left homeless. The extent of the damage to their own home was a result of the soak away drainage system located beneath the front lawn being unable to cope with the torrents of rain which had run from the guttering. The house had been extensively extended by the prior owners, but despite the increased surface area of the roof and guttering, the soak away had not been enlarged to take the extra volume of water. The combination of the extreme weather and inadequate drainage had resulted in a breach of the damp proof layer of the property. It was the extension on the house which had appealed to them from the very first moment they had spotted the house. It had been sheer luck they had found the house, after many months of searching for a suitable location and a house large enough to accommodate themselves, Robin’s four grown up children and Alice’s son. Her daughter Anne Marie had no plans to live with her mum and stepfather as she was working in the city and renting a shared house with friends. However, a room would need to be available should her circumstances change.
The morning they discovered the house it was love at first sight, even before they viewed the property their gut feelings felt positive. Alice was so certain this was the place for them she couldn’t wait to visit the estate agent to arrange an appointment to view the property, but instead Alice promptly rang the doorbell and made direct enquiries with the home owner. The owner invited Robin and Alice to view their home there and then. With open minds they inspected the house. The house fulfilled all of their requirements. It had six bedrooms, a large kitchen, large utility room, a dining room, an L-shaped lounge, large bathroom, one en-suite bathroom and a downstairs cloakroom. The icing on the cake was a conservatory opening onto a private garden which was laid to lawn with established borders and a bank of conifers providing perfect privacy.
They both agreed this was exactly what they had been looking for. The house layout could have been designed with their own needs in mind. The location, a quiet cul-de-sac on a small development was most suitable to their needs. The driveway would easily accommodate four cars and with their family this would be essential.
Luck was with them; Alice sold her home within a week of Robin selling his. The capital from both homes enabled them to buy the house for cash, leaving them mortgage free. Their new home was available for them to move into on the same day as both the contracts on their individual homes were exchanged. Their wedding was held two weeks before the house sale. A one week honeymoon in Italy was arranged two days following their wedding, which enabled their respective children to remain in their own homes for one final week and for themselves to be around for the final packing and the big move.
A well-organized person, Alice had more or less packed everything ready for transferring into the removal van, with the exception of the large pieces of furniture and the white goods. Her large refectory table she herself dismantled, the chests and bedside cabinets were all dismantled and taped together. Her possessions were neatly boxed and labelled and the majority of the curtains and blinds had been taken down, washed and neatly folded away. Alice was well prepared. Unfortunately, neither Robin nor his family had made any attempt to prepare for the big move, despite Alice desperately trying to encourage Robin and his children to carefully pack and label their personal possessions.
On the day of the move from Robin’s house it was total disaster and chaos. Robin and his family tipped everything out of their drawers and cabinets directly into large black plastic sacks. Kitchen and bathroom objects were pushed into cardboard boxes with no care for the fragility of some items. A friend of one of the boys appeared with a trailer on the back of his car and this was used to take away broken and unwanted furniture to the local council dump. A number of visits to the dump were made, following removal of further items from the garage and loft. One by one the rooms were emptied until Alice could finally enter the house to clean through ready for the next occupant.
Despite Alice’s own carefully made plans to have a smooth transition from one home to the next, it had not materialised. The contracts were officially exchanged at six pm on a Friday, and all parties agreed to move on the Saturday morning. With this in mind, Alice had booked a removal van for early Saturday morning. However, the young first time buyer of her property was so eager, that at five o’clock on the Friday, he telephoned Alice at home, who wasn’t in, but Mathew was. He left a message saying that it was his house after six pm and he was moving in that evening. Mathew promptly rang his mum at work, resulting in Alice leaving early and frantically contacting the van hire company and arranging a van for Friday evening as well as Saturday morning in anticipation of storing her belongings overnight in a removal van. She rang Robin and some of her friends, who all rallied round and moved her whole home into a van, just as the new owner turned up with his own furniture van. The only saving grace of the whole event was the good fortune that the house Alice and Robin were buying had been emptied that afternoon so Robin collected the key Friday evening instead of Saturday morning. It was past midnight when they emptied the van of furniture, white goods and the many packing boxes and suitcases. Robin and Alice went to bed exhausted knowing they had to empty Robin’s house the next day. Between them they had five sofas, two washing machines, three fridges, two freezers, three double beds, four single beds, a number of chests, wardrobes, cabinets, tables, chairs and household goods. There were bikes, lawnmowers, garden tools and sundries, box upon box of kitchen equipment ornaments. Lamps and books, numerous bags of towels, bedding, curtains and clothes. The list had been endless. Finally they had moved into the house which was to become their dream family home.
Publisher: Austine Macauley Publishers (6th February 2017)
Alice is near breaking point. Floods have left her beautiful dream home a damaged mess, her step children’s lack of respect is giving her migraines and, worst of all, her husband is giving her no support to lean on. Her life is slowly spiralling out of control.
When Alice’s daughter, Anne Marie, repeatedly falls victim to aggressive vandals, Alice finally can take no more. She decides to take control of the mess that has become her life, and finally frees herself from the chaos that has been bringing her down.
Freedom, however, isn’t as sweet as Alice first thought it might be. She finds herself yearning for something she can’t quite put her finger on. In her quest to find it, Alice finds herself turning to alcohol.
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About the author…..
K.L Loveley is a contemporary fiction author from Nottinghamshire, who writes gritty, realistic novels which tackle medical and social issues.
The author has enjoyed a successful 47-year nursing career with the NHS, during which she acquired vast skills. She has transferred her medical knowledge, and incorporated her excellent human observation skills into writing interesting stories about people affected by social and medical issues.
Her debut novel, ‘Alice’ tackles alcoholism head-on, and presents the reader with an empathetic account of a spiralling addiction and the resulting pattern of hopelessness that many fall into.
K L Loveley’s Amazon Author Page