This week we’re going to Cornwall to meet Abi Carter, the heroine of bestselling author, Jenny Kane’s, Abi novels.
First let’s find out a bit more about the story
Abi Carter has finally found happiness. Living in her perfect tin miner’s cottage, she has good friends and a gorgeous boyfriend, Max. Life is good. But all that’s about to change when a new neighbour moves in next door.
Cassandra Henley-Pinkerton represents everything Abi thought she’d escaped when she left London. Obnoxious and stuck-up, Cassandra hates living in Cornwall. Worst of all, it looks like she has her sights set on Max.
But Cassandra has problems of her own. Not only is her wealthy married lawyer putting off joining her in their Cornish love nest, but now someone seems intent on sabotaging her business.
Will Cassandra mellow enough to turn to Abi for help – or are they destined never to get along?
Now over to Jenny and Abi
Hi Abi, we’ve been lucky enough to be invited over to Karen’s blog today to chat a little about your new life in Cornwall. Let’s dive straight in- In the first of your adventures, Abi’s House, you left Surrey for Cornwall. Why did you decide to head for the Penwith area?
Abi: Oh that’s easy! Sennen Cove, where I’m lucky enough to live now, is where my parents used to take me and my brother, Ollie, on holiday when we were children. There was a house there that my parents always joked should be mind because it was called Abbey’s House. Wrong spelling I know- but well…when I was eight years old I fell in love with the place. It seemed like somewhere to aim to when I came house hunting.
Now you live in Abbey’s House, is it liked you imagined it would be when you were a child?
Abi: Better! I never really believed that particular dream would come true. So when I got here and discovered that the owner, lovely Stan- was looking to move into a retirement home, I couldn’t believe my luck. I still can’t!
I believe Stan had lived in the house nearly all his adult life. How is he adjusting to life in sheltered housing?
Abi: he is flourishing! He misses his dog, Sadie, of course- but Max and I take her over to visit him at least twice a week. Stan’s got loads of new friends- especially Dora. She is one of life’s real characters- if you see what I mean. There’s something special about her- and a bit odd- but in a good way.
How are you settling into working at the gallery? You create your children’s book illustrations there while keeping an eye on the stock for sale don’t you?
Abi: I do indeed. It’s lovely having people pop in and out all day. Drawing at home is fun, but it can get a bit lonely being in the house on my own all day. Everyone is so friendly here!
Everyone? Including your new neighbour?
Abi: Ah, well. I should have said nearly everyone. I try not to think ill of people but…I can’t imagine why Cassandra is even here. She says she hates Cornwall!
Even the cream teas?
Abi: I wouldn’t know. I do know that Stan loves them though- and so do I!
Many thanks for taking the time to chat Abi.
Here’s a short extract from Abi’s Neighbour.
…As the front door opened, Sadie pushed her nose against her former owner’s legs, and Stan beamed his ever-ready smile at his visitors as he affectionately ruffled the golden retriever’s fur. ‘How are two of my favourite girls then?’
‘Well, Sadie here is just fine.’ Abi unfastened Sadie’s lead and followed Stan through the hallway into his small open-plan living and dining room.
‘But I’m…’ About to tell Stan about her new neighbour, Abi abruptly stopped talking as she realised they weren’t alone.
Stan’s grin became even broader, as he turned from Abi to the lady on the sofa, and back again. ‘Dora, may I introduce you to my very dear friend, Abi Carter. Abi, this is Dora Henry. And this beautiful creature is Sadie.’
Temporarily silent, Abi quickly came to her senses. ‘Hello, Dora, I’m very pleased to meet you. You’re Stan’s bridge partner, isn’t that right?’
‘I’m a bit more than that, I hope.’ Dora winked at Stan, and Abi felt discomfort ripple up her spine as she noticed that the table was laid for three and not two as usual.
Abi was spared from saying anything for a moment, as Dora said, ‘I’ve heard so much about you. I’ve been dying to meet you. I hope you’re OK with me gatecrashing your dinner?’
‘Of course!’ Abi wasn’t sure if she minded or not, but her inbuilt politeness had automatically engaged, and anyway, she wouldn’t want to upset Stan for the world. Right now he was looking more proud than she’d ever seen him. ‘I’ve heard plenty about you, too. I believe you’re the terror of the bridge club!’
‘Dora is something of a card shark,’ Stan said with a twinkle in his eye. Dora laughed. ‘I shall overlook that dubious accusation, seeing as you’re being so generous as to feed me, Stanley Abbey.’
Then, speaking more seriously, she said, ‘I’m very pleased to meet you, Abi, but if you object to me stealing some of your alone time with Stan, then I’m more than happy to disappear.’
‘Not at all.’ Abi found her natural curiosity kicking in about this small, elegant woman in Stan’s living room. ‘Shall I put the kettle on, Stan?’
‘It’s already on, Abi my girl. I tell you what, I’ll leave you two chatting, and I’ll make the tea and get Sadie some water.’
Watching Stan disappear into the kitchen, Abi sat next to Dora. ‘I’m pleased to have the chance to meet some of Stan’s friends.’
‘As am I.’ Dora focused her pale green eyes on Abi kindly. ‘Stan always keeps you all to himself. He’s very protective of you, Abi.’
Abi’s initial disquiet at Dora’s presence eased as Dora received the Sadie seal of approval. The dog, as if sensing Abi needed reassurance, padded across the room, and placed her chin on a delighted Dora’s knees.
‘You, my lovely,’ Dora stroked the retriever’s golden back, ‘are also at the top of Stan’s list to talk about. And who can blame him? Not many blokes his age have two beautiful females as regular visitors.’
Abi wasn’t sure what to say as she looked at Dora, who, although almost as old as Stan himself, retained the air of a classic beauty. The tone of her words was gentle, and Abi detected no sarcasm or jealousy, but there was something… something Abi couldn’t put her finger on, that was hanging unsaid in the air. Deciding she was being ridiculous, Abi asked, ‘How long have you been living at Chalk Towers, Dora?’
‘Five years this coming Christmas.’ Dora’s warm smile lit up her eyes as Stan walked about in with a tray of tea, and the unease Abi had felt instantly returned.
They aren’t… are they? Hoping she was letting her imagination run away with her, Abi stuck firmly to small talk. ‘Do you like it here?’
‘I love it.’
With one eye on Stan as he sat down and served the tea, knowing he would never have invited Dora to join them if he wasn’t very fond of her, Abi said, ‘I take it Stan has told you how I ended up living in his house?’
‘It’s your house now, Abi.’ Stan passed her a mug.
‘True – but it took ages before I stopped feeling like I’d evicted you.’
Stan regarded his young friend. ‘I’ve said it before, and no doubt I’ll have to say it again, but this is the best thing I’ve done in years. I was so lost after my Mary passed away. You did me a favour, Abi, coming along when you did.’
Abi squeezed his hand, and passed a cup and saucer to Dora. ‘Do you take sugar?’
‘She’s sweet enough without!’ Stan said.
Abi was about to laugh at the old cliché, but the expression on Dora’s face stopped her. There was no doubt about it – her suspicions had been correct…
To find out more about Dora, the poker queen, tall-tale teller, and secret service operative (maybe)…then grab your copy of Abi’s Neighbour!
You can buy Abi’s House and Abi’s Neighbour from Amazon and all good bookshops and book retailers
Jenny has had over 150 publications, including the novels Abi’s Neighbour (Accent Press, 2017), Another Glass of Champagne (Accent, 2016), Abi’s House (Accent Press, June 2015), the best selling contemporary romance Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and its novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds, (Accent Press, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle, (Accent Press, 2015).
Jenny’s next full length novel, Romancing Robin Hood, will be published (in its second edition) by Littwitz Press in early 2018.
Jenny also writes medieval crime fiction as Jennifer Ash. The novels, The Outlaw’s Ransom and The Winter Outlaw, will both be published by Littwitz Press in early 2018
You can contact Jenny here:
Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.
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