Mother and Child by Annie Murray

I am delighted the Annie Murray has agreed to visit my blog as part of her Love Book Tours blog tour. It is for the publication of her novel, Mother and Child, published by Pan Macmillan. You can follow the whole tour.

The author was born in Berkshire and read English at St John’s College, Oxford. Her first ‘Birmingham’ novel, Birmingham Rose, hit The Times bestseller list when it was published in 1995. She has subsequently written many other successful novels, including A Hopscotch SummerSoldier Girl and the bestselling novels Chocolate Girls and War Babies. Annie has four children and lives near Reading.

The Excerpt from Mother and Child

‘Breakfast,’ I murmur to myself. ‘Eat.’ I am trying to think of my body as someone else’s, an objective thing that I have to look after, like a pet tortoise. My phone goes off as the smell of toast is drifting through the kitchen. Ange, the screen says. God, when did I last speak to Ange?

‘Jo? How’s it going?’ She sounds really, really nervous. Dear old Ange, so perky and kind, so distant now, someone from a completely different life – my different life. I suppose it’s my fault, but that’s how it feels. ‘Oh, fine.’ I wander into the living room. It’s all one room knocked through, light streaming in at each end. Feeling the pile of the carpet under my toes, I realize I haven’t put any shoes on or even socks. ‘Did you know we’ve moved?’

Of course she doesn’t know. ‘Oh?’ Startled. ‘Have you? Where to?’ ‘Hollywood.’= ‘Hollywood? What – you mean, America? Film stars?’ ‘You know, near Wythall, down near Ian’s mom. Seemed a good idea. We only got here yesterday.’ Does my voice sound normal? I can’t tell any more. I’m trying to sound light and cheerful – heaven knows what I actually sound like. Probably shrill and a bit crazy. ‘Just getting settled in. I’m going to see Dorrie in a bit.’ ‘Good for you.’ Ange sounds awkward and not really like herself either. I’ve become one of those people who others are not sure how to talk to or what they can say.

Say the right thing. ‘You’ll have to come over.’ It would be great to seeAnge, wouldn’t it? To have a friend, a life. I can’t rememberwhen I last saw her – has she deserted me or was itme who did the damage?‘Yeah,’ she says. I hear a small sound, her dragging ona cigarette. ‘Yeah – hey, I’ll be over to see you soon,chicky.’I leave it a beat. ‘Who says chicky?’Ange lets out a relieved snort of laughter. ‘Soon, yeah?’Nothing definite then. She’s cautious, hurt, I think. Atiny window must be opening in me if I even realize now,how I’ve shut everyone out.

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