Welcome to stop on the blog tour for THE SINGLE MUMS MOVE ON. It was published by Aria Fiction on 18th July 2019 and it’s my pleasure to share an extract of this new entertaining novel by Janet Hoggart.
Can neighbours become more than good friends…
After her husband left her, Ali and her daughter Grace enjoyed living in what became known as ‘the Single Mums’ Mansion’. However, with her best friends Amanda and Jacqui moving on, it’s time for Ali and Grace to make their own way. Thankfully, a chance conversation leads to them moving into the infamous South London gated community known only as ‘The Mews’.
In ‘The Mews’ everyone lives in each other’s pockets and curtain twitching is an Olympic sport. The neighbours are an eclectic bunch – from Nick the alleged spy, Carl the gorgeous but clearly troubled Idris Elba lookalike, to Debbie who is about to face the hardest fight of her life, and TV agent Samantha who is not as in control as she likes to pretend.
Each day brings another drama, but along with the tears, real friendships grow. And her neighbours’ problems might unlock the key to something Ali has yearned for all along…
Based on a true story – you’ll never be able to look at your neighbours quite the same way again…
Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes, Mhairi McFarlane and Helen Fielding.
‘Ali, what the fuck? He’s been treating you like a doormat and you’re just covering for him. Has he been sponging off you too?’
‘I’ve lent him money, yes, but he’s promised to pay it back. He’s trying to break into modelling.’
‘You have a child and rely on benefits to help you out. He shouldn’t be taking anything or expect anything!’ Amanda wore her crazy face; she’d abandoned her zen softly-softly approach.
‘Can I see the video?’
Amanda glanced at Ursula and she nodded at her.
‘Fine, if it gives you closure.’ She handed me her phone with the footage already open. It was very blurry but then, when the lens focused, I could make out Ifan half naked on a flowery Cath Kidston duvet with a bare-chested man dressed in tight black leather chaps looming over him. The chaps were unflattering, pushing his gut up into a muffin top. It certainly looked like Sandeep, and in any other situation it would have been hysterically funny, the thought of him trying to squeeze into unforgiving black leather. Mild-mannered Sandeep, who always asked if you wanted one of the chocolate bars on special offer. And to think I had missed seeing him when I’d moved out of Amanda’s! Mary must have been filming. Holy shit, there she was standing in front of a large canvas of the New York skyline. It looked exactly like one from Ikea, in fact the whole bedroom was kitted out with Ikea knick-knacks – some of them were in my home! She was in full leather bondage gear with a stick in her mouth, or was it a gag? I turned the volume up so I could hear. Who was filming then? Suddenly I heard a familiar voice: Niko, he was the cameraman. Sandeep started tantalisingly to peel down Ifan’s underpants and I couldn’t watch any more, my stomach swilled with what felt like battery acid, and I hastily thrust the phone at Amanda.
‘I’m so sorry,’ Amanda whispered. ‘I couldn’t not tell you.’
‘It was like some fucking shit porn film from the seventies.’
‘Was that Niko I could hear?’ Ursula asked tentatively. She and Niko had shagged once when they were very drunk. Not to be repeated: apparently his sexual transgression was golden showers…
‘Yes, the fucker. I always thought it was weird how much time they spent together. And Ifan was completely obsessed with anal sex.’
‘That doesn’t mean he’s gay,’ Ursula said reasonably. ‘Lots of straight men are obsessed with it. The forbidden fruit and all that.’
‘What are you going to do?’ Amanda asked me, as always she expected there to be an exit plan just when I wanted to curl up into a ball and pretend none of this was happening.
‘Throw him out. Oh God, why now? I fucking hate January, I hate being on my own, especially in winter.’ Before I knew it I was howling my eyes out, my nose stinging from the deluge, and Amanda and Ursula were hugging me.
‘You deserve so much better, you really do,’ Ursula soothed me. ‘You are too good for him.’
‘Yes,’ Amanda agreed. ‘I think he has massive self-loathing, which is why he’s so vain. I’ve seen him posing in the pub windows. He hasn’t got anything else apart from his looks. He’s never going to make it as a model now. He’s too old. Don’t they all have to have been spotted by the time they’re eighteen?’
‘Yes, but older models are trending now,’ Ursula replied while I continued to snot into my hands. Amanda shoved a torn-off piece of kitchen towel at me. ‘Look at David Gandy, he’s old.’
‘Hardly! He’s the same age as Chris. We’re old!’
‘Speak for yourself!’ Ursula cackled.
‘I’m old,’ I sobbed pathetically. ‘I’ll never find anyone now. I can’t face going back out there. It was so shit last time.’
Janet Hoggarth has worked on a chicken farm, as a bookseller, children’s book editor and DJ with her best friend (under the name of Whitney and Britney). She has published several children’s books, the most recent ones written under the pseudonym of Jess Bright. Her first adult novel The Single Mums’ Mansion, a huge bestseller, was based on her experiences of living communally as a single parent.
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2vtRDTC