I’m delighted to welcome Angela Petch onto my blog today. Angela is going to share a scene from her feel-good novel Mavis and Dot, set in an an old-fashioned seaside town. The book was written in memory of her dear friend who passed away from ovarian cancer and all profits from the book will go to research into the cure for cancer. The cover looks fun, doesn’t it?
“This book was a total joy from beginning to end” Welsh Annie. Top 500 Reviewer.
“What a wonderful feel good read.” Sarah Hardy – Top 500 reviewer.
Introducing two eccentric ladies who form an unlikely friendship. Meet Mavis and Dot – two colourful, retired ladies who live in Worthington-on-Sea, where there are charity shops galore. Apart from bargain hunting, they manage to tangle themselves in escapades involving illegal immigrants, night clubs, nude modelling, errant toupees and more. And then there’s Mal, the lovable dog who nobody else wants.
A gently humorous, often side-splitting, heart-warming snapshot of two memorable characters with past secrets and passions. Escape for a couple of hours into this snapshot of a faded, British seaside town. You’ll laugh and cry but probably laugh more. “This book is quirky and individual and has great pathos…[it] will resonate with a lot of readers.” Gill Kaye – Editor of Ingenu(e).
Written with a light touch in memory of a dear friend who passed away from ovarian cancer, Angela Petch’s seaside tale is a departure from her successful Tuscan novels. All profits from the sale of the books will go towards research into the cure for cancer.
“…Clever, touching and powerful writing… Embark on a series of adventures with Mavis and Dot but prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of emotions.” Books in my Handbag.
Angela is sharing a scene from Chapter Six with us today.
“Half a dozen assorted couples shuffled round the room in Worthington-on-Sea Leisure Centre. A very short man was clasped to the capacious bust of a very large lady, a beatific smile lighting up his shining face. Two ladies of a certain age, in calf-length knitted skirts, held each other at arms’ length, as if halitosis was a problem. The other pair was made up of the instantly recognisable Mario in a smart naval jacket, skilfully twirling a slim, youngish woman round the centre of the floor. On closer inspection, Mavis realised that a thick cake of make-up gave the initial impression she was much younger than Mario. But the age spots on her hands were a give-away. Mavis didn’t like how closely she was being held and decided the woman was flighty. The music issuing from a portable CD player perched on a table next to a plate of tired sausage rolls, was Glenn Miller’s String of Pearls.
She plonked herself on a chair at the side of the room and watched the dancers, feeling like a wallflower. The scene brought back memories of hospital socials when she was younger; how she invariably ended up gazing longingly at others having fun. Mario disentangled himself from the not-so-young woman’s grip and came over.
‘I notta recognise you, signorina. You look…’ He viewed her with both hands raised, as if searching for the correct adjective, ending up with a lame – ‘bellissima.’ He kissed the tips of his fingers to the air and looked her up and down, and down and up, so that she stared at her feet with embarrassment.
Nobody would have recognised Mavis. She’d felt overdressed as soon as she’d pushed open the door to the room. She was the only one in a ballroom dress. Its stiff netted and wired petticoats stuck out from her waist more than she’d imagined; she was doing the heaving-bosom routine quite naturally, for her corset was far too tight and couldn’t properly contain her breasts. And as for her hair… her black Amy Winehouse wig would have suited somebody younger – forty at a pinch. But worn by a sixty-something, it resembled an electrocuted cat crouched on top of her head.
Nevertheless, Mario whisked her onto the floor even as the next track started up. Mavis had never tried to tango in her life and she found herself hanging on to Mario as he moved first this way, then that, folding her up towards his portly body and then unfurling her so suddenly that she had to grab onto his jacket sleeve to stop herself being flung against the table with the plate of sausage rolls. He tried to manoeuvre her into a position where she was supposed to arch her back and lean down as far as possible to the floor. But tight corsets do not do arched backs and once again, there was the ominous sound of ripping fabric.
Terrified of toppling completely backwards onto the hard floor, Mavis flung up her hands to grab for support. Unfortunately, they grabbed Mario’s oily hair, which promptly parted company from a shining, bald pate. As she fell to the floor, Mario plummeted on top of her.
In her dreams, she had hoped to find herself one day lying beneath his strong, manly body. But not like this and in public. As she had stumbled, a lock of her long wig had become entwined with a brass button on his naval blazer. The wig fell from her short, purple spikes and stuck fast, dangling for all to see. There were gasps and titters from the other dancers and Mario uttered a string of voluble Italian, which didn’t sound at all romantic.
It sounds fun, doesn’t it? If you want to find out if Mavis’s dream of being with Mario come true, you can buy the book here:
Angela Petch lives in the Tuscan Apennines in summer and Sussex in winter.
Her love affair with Italy was born at the age of seven when she moved with her family to Rome. Her father worked for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and he made sure his children learned Italian and soaked up the culture. She studied Italian at the University of Kent at Canterbury and afterwards worked in Sicily where she met her husband. His Italian mother and British father met in Urbino in 1944 and married after a wartime romance.
Her first book, “Tuscan Roots” was written in 2012, for her Italian mother-in-law, Giuseppina, and also to make readers aware of the courage shown by families of her Italian neighbours during WW2. Signed by Bookouture in 2018, this book will be republished in June 2019. Another Tuscan novel has been commissioned for 2020.
“Now and Then in Tuscany”, a sequel, was published in April 2017 and features the same family. The background is the transhumance, a practice that started in Etruscan times and continued until the 1950s. Her research for her Tuscan novels is greatly helped by her knowledge of Italian and conversations with locals.
Although Italy is a passion, her stories are not always set in this country. “Mavis and Dot”, published at the end of 2018 and sold in aid of Cancer Research, tells the story of two fun-loving ladies who retire to the Sussex seaside. They forge an unlikely friendship and fall into a variety of adventures. Ingenu/e Magazine describes it as:“Absolutely Fabulous meets Last of the Summer Wine… a gently hilarious feel-good book that will enchant and delight…”.
A prize-winning author, member of CHINDI independent authors and RNA, she also loves to travel and recently returned to Tanzania, where she lived at the start of her marriage. A keen tennis player and walker, she also enjoys spending time with her five grandchildren and inventing stories for their entertainment.
Her short stories are published by PRIMA and the People’s Friend.
Thank you for dropping by to tell us about your book, Angela. I hope it brings you much success and raises some well-needed funds for cancer research.
Bring a little sunshine into your life with one of my feel-good romances, all set in glorious locations.Check out my Amazon Author Page for details.