**Take a trip to the Yorkshire village of Burley Bridge, where a new arrival is going to shake things up…**
Growing up in a quiet Yorkshire village, Roxanne couldn’t wait to escape and find her place in the world in London. As a high-powered fashion editor she lives a glamorous life of perennial singlehood – or so it seems to her sister Della. But when Roxanne gets her heart broken by a fashion photographer, she runs away, back to Della’s welcoming home above her bookshop in Burley Bridge.
But Burley Bridge, Roxanne discovers, is even quieter than she remembered. There’s nothing to do, so Roxanne agrees to walk Della’s dog Stanley. It’s on these walks that Roxanne makes a startling discovery: the people who live in Burley Bridge are, well, just people – different from the fashion set she’s used to, but kind and even interesting. Michael, a widower trying to make a go of a small bakery, particularly so. Little by little, cupcake by cupcake, Roxanne and Michael fall into a comforting friendship.
Could there be a life for Roxanne after all, in the place she’s spent 46 years trying to escape?
Extract Seven from Chapter Two pp 29-30
Sean took her hand as they fell into a brisk walking pace. ‘I still can’t believe you were baking something for me,’ he added, throwing her a fond glance.
‘Hmm. Well, I probably won’t again.’
‘No, it’s really sweet of you. But it’s not very . . . you, is it?’
‘Obviously not,’ she muttered.
‘I mean, it seems more like something your sister would do. Didn’t she send you that tin of edible tree decorations at Christmas?’
‘Yes. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I hadn’t got it together to buy a tree . . .’ In fact, Roxanne had taken the delicious snowflake-shaped butter cookies into the office, and everyone had swooped upon them over drinks one afternoon. This was when Cathy was still editor and it was possible to have fun at work, in the days when there were frequent gales of laughter and the sound of a cork being popped.
‘I’d never have thought of you as a baker,’ he added.
‘Yes, okay, Sean . . .’
‘It’s quite sexy actually,’ he added, grinning now.
Despite the turn of events, she couldn’t help smiling. ‘I knew it. You actually want a wifey type in an apron, don’t you? That’s what you’ve been holding out for . . .’
‘God, yes,’ he teased. ‘Floury hands and lipstick on, waiting for your man to come home . . .’ He fell silent as they turned the corner into Roxanne’s tree-lined street.
‘Sean, look!’ They both stared. A fire engine was parked outside her block.
‘It’ll be okay,’ he said quickly, taking hold of her arm. ‘It might not be your place. It could be another flat . . .’ But this time, she shook him off and broke into an actual sprint. Despite her unsuitable footwear, she clattered towards the vehicle. She quickly spotted Isabelle, who was looking her usual elegant self – chic silver bob, simple navy blue dress – and hovering at the main door.
‘It was Henry who called them, love,’ she announced. ‘I told him it’d be nothing – that you’re always burning toast. A waste of resources, I said! I phoned your mobile a couple of times but it just rang—’
‘Sorry, Isabelle, I didn’t realise . . .’ Roxanne hurried past her and charged upstairs. She always put her phone on silent when she was out on a date with Sean.
‘I said you once burnt your fringe off the gas ring,’ Isabelle called after her, ‘when you were lighting a cigarette . . .’ The elderly woman’s voice faded, to be replaced by strident male tones on Roxanne’s landing on the top floor: ‘Sounds like someone’s coming now – finally. Christ, what a bloody waste of time . . .’