Ebook

Published: Lightning Books (April 2020)

ISBN: 9781785632105

Landsliding

Mandy Jameson

£2.99

We all have secrets, but some of our secrets are darker than others

When Julia’s husband leaves her, and their small son Matty, to live with another woman, her friends – especially Caroline and Vick – rally round to help. But when Julia starts a new relationship after a chance meeting, her friends are not quite as supportive.

Julia sees Brendan, the quietly spoken IT guy who comes round to fix her computer, as a loving and protective man and – as time passes – a potential father figure for Matty. Caroline and Vick, on the other hand, see him as jealous, controlling and potentially dangerous. He appears to be a man with a secret past.

What her friends don’t know is that Julia has secrets of her own and, if they get out, they will almost certainly shatter her fragile domestic bliss.

Landsliding is a compelling drama that turns your expectations on their head with a subtle twist to leave you wondering where your sympathies truly lie.

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Extracts

Yes, of course I remember how I met Julia. On the day our kids started nursery I was outside chatting with my pal Vick when I noticed this tall blonde with spiky hair and cut-off denims. My immediate reaction was to think she looked like a Scandinavian tennis player and then, almost simultaneously, how much Lee would fancy her.

But that didn’t put me off. I kept hoping our paths would cross and we’d get to be friends. Quite soon it happened, when her little boy hit my daughter and she came to find me after nursery to apologise. From that minute we got on, and I was right about Lee fancying her. He thought she was marvellous. And so did Daniel, Vick’s husband, but I shouldn’t say any more about that because of what happened with him and Julia.

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Extracts

Yes, of course I remember how I met Julia. On the day our kids started nursery I was outside chatting with my pal Vick when I noticed this tall blonde with spiky hair and cut-off denims. My immediate reaction was to think she looked like a Scandinavian tennis player and then, almost simultaneously, how much Lee would fancy her.

But that didn’t put me off. I kept hoping our paths would cross and we’d get to be friends. Quite soon it happened, when her little boy hit my daughter and she came to find me after nursery to apologise. From that minute we got on, and I was right about Lee fancying her. He thought she was marvellous. And so did Daniel, Vick’s husband, but I shouldn’t say any more about that because of what happened with him and Julia.

She’d probably always been the kind of woman who attracted stares. Not that she ever sought attention, and that explains her appeal; she was unselfconscious about being so lovely, though after Harry left she lost all confidence in how she looked. I remember her saying nobody else would want her and I told her not to be daft, they’d be queuing up at the door. She just cried.

Vick and I couldn’t believe Harry had gone for good. We kept telling her he’d come back, he must be depressed, but she showed us the note and then we believed it. He’d written a terse little message saying he’d got a transfer to an architects’ practice in the West Country and was going to live a simpler life with less pressure. No apology, no explanation and no mention of the woman who we later found out was sharing his new home. Bastard.

Julia was about as cut up as anybody could be. At first she was stunned and quiet, carrying on as usual, so Vick and I thought she was handling it all. Then a couple of weeks later reality must have sunk in and she fell to pieces. Poor Matty didn’t understand what was going on; first his dad wasn’t around any more, then his mum was lying on the sofa and crying all the time.

Vick’s son, Aaron, was Matty’s best mate. Their birthdays were a few days apart, they loved all the same things, and Vick had sleepovers for them a couple of nights a week. Other times I’d have Julia and Matty round for tea. Every evening Vick or I would make sure one of us had spoken to her, just to check she was coping and Matty was OK.

When the worst of the shock died down, she told us we’d saved her life. Of course we hadn’t; we acted how any good friends would in that situation. Lee and Daniel were happy to pop round and help with practical things that needed sorting, like when her shower had a problem or when the window in Matty’s room started leaking. Between the four of us we felt we were really looking after her.

What we hadn’t bargained for was the arrival of someone like Brendan.

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ABOUT

Mandy Jameson

Originally from Manchester, Mandy Jameson spent ten years living in southwest France where Landsliding, her first novel, was written with the encouragement of a prolific writing group.

Now settled in Sussex with her daughter, her passions include football, chocolate and walking on the Downs.

She blogs at pifflepages.com and is working on her second novel.

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