Welcome to my Stop on the Blog Tour for the gorgeous Bookshop on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry!
I'm thrilled to be able to bring you an exclusive extract from this book! If this doesn't pique your interest, I don't know what will! This is a delicious story and the cover is divine!
Without further adieu, read this and go buy the book!!
‘I meant,’ Roxanne said, as Della and Mark returned to the living room, ‘what are we going to do about Rosemary Cottage?’ Silence settled around the room. The twins, mercifully with headphones plugged in now, munched absent-mindedly on the remaining biscuits.
‘There’s no rush, is there?’ Sophie asked with a frown. ‘I mean, we’ve only just had Grandma’s funeral.’
‘Yes, but there’s no point in letting things drift on.’ Ignoring the pot of tea Della had brought through, Jeff topped up his wine glass. ‘When winter comes,’ he continued, ‘we’ll be talking frozen pipes and slates falling off that godawful roof.’
‘But it’s only September,’ Sophie countered.
‘Actually,’ Della remarked, ‘Jeff’s right. We might as well deal with it now, rather than putting it off.’
‘I think you’re right, darling,’ Mark said.
‘Yes,’ Roxanne remarked, ‘delaying things will only make it more horrible for all of us.’
Although Della nodded in agreement, it wasn’t quite that. It was this: the gathering of the Cartwright clan, the way Jeff assumed authority as if he were still twelve years old and issuing library fines, and his wife’s snidey remark about Irene’s hair when she had been nothing but kind to their mother, making actual pastry leaves for the lid of that chicken and leek pie, for goodness’ sake. It was as if all that kindness counted for nothing. And what about Len from Burley Bridge Garage who’d fixed Della’s car for virtually no money? It made Della cringe, the way her brother and sister swept in and out of the village as if staying a moment longer would somehow taint them with its ugly, countryish ways. She couldn’t bear the thought of endless meetings and wranglings as the Rosemary Cottage business rumbled on.
‘You think we should put it on the market?’ Roxanne ventured.
‘Yes, I do,’ Della replied firmly.
‘We’ll have to clear it out, of course,’ Jeff added, glancing at Tamsin. ‘There’s nothing we need, is there?’ Good lord, he was mentally divvying up their mother’s possessions already. Della bit fiercely into a Rich Tea.
‘No, no.’ Tamsin shuddered visibly.
‘What about the watercolour over the fireplace?’
‘It’s terribly drab, darling. It won’t go in our place.’ Tamsin turned to Roxanne. ‘What about you, Rox?’
‘I don’t need anything,’ she said, unsurprisingly: her tiny two-bedroomed Islington flat was a shrine to minimalism.
‘Well, I can’t imagine anyone would want all that hefty old furniture,’ Jeff added, raking back his dark hair.
Mark put a hand on Della’s knee. ‘Isn’t it a bit too soon to start thinking about clearing out all your mum’s things?’
Della shook her head. ‘No, we need to get on with it. There’s that auction place in town, some of the furniture and paintings could go there.’ She paused. ‘And while we’re all here together we should
look through the smaller things – the mementoes – and decide what we’d like to remember Mum by.’ She glanced at Sophie. ‘You should have something of Gran’s, love.’
Sophie nodded. ‘I’d like that, Mum. Maybe just the plain gold chain she wore all the time.’
‘Oh, the jewellery,’ Tamsin exclaimed, eyes gleaming, then, colouring slightly, she added, ‘Although I expect you’d like to have a rake through it first, Rox.’ A rake through it, as if it were jumble! She turned to Della then. ‘You’re not really an accessories person, are you?’
Della choked on a fragment of biscuit. ‘Well, I’d quite like—’
‘I think we should look through it together tomorrow,’ Roxanne said tersely. ‘You, me and Sophie, I mean.’
‘Good idea,’ Della said, ‘but you two can choose. And Tamsin, you should have a piece too.’
‘Well, maybe those tiny gold earrings, if you’re sure that’s okay?’
Della nodded. ‘No problem.’
‘And the jet necklace? I mean, if no one else wants it?’
‘Er, I don’t think—’ Roxanne started.
‘And the opal ring,’ Tamsin went on, flushing excitedly now. ‘That is, unless it’s particularly special to anyone.’ At some point she must have compiled an inventory of Kitty’s jewellery, Della realised.
‘Actually, I don’t want any of it,’ she murmured.
‘Why not?’ Roxanne exclaimed.
‘Because Tamsin’s right, I’m not an accessories person.’
‘It’s not accessories, Mum,’ Sophie admonished her. ‘This is Gran’s jewellery. You should have something personal.’
‘But I will,’ Della cut in. She stopped talking and stared around the room: at her brother and sister, who were regarding her intently, and at Mark, who still looked rather uneasy about the prospect of problems with the fence and the drains. She glanced at Isaac, who was now badgering Sophie to let them have a proper look at her tattoo again – the cuff of her outsized sweatshirt covered it – and at Tamsin, who was sitting bolt upright, eyes gleaming, as if in anticipation of taking possession of all that beautiful jewellery. ‘I’ll take Mum’s cookbooks,’ Della said carefully, ‘if that’s okay with everyone.’
Mark’s eyes widened. ‘The cookbooks?’
Thanks to Ellen Berry (aka Fiona Gibson) for joining me today and to Louis Patel at Avon Books for allowing me to be a part of this tour!