Beside The Sea – Emma K. Robling
BETRAYAL, BRAVERY AND BEST FRIENDS…ALL WILL BE REVEALED BESIDE THE SEA
“Very funny in parts, and moved me to tears in others.” – Jessica Ryn
At 35 years old, a suddenly separated Isobel Munro finds herself back living with her parents…..no husband, no home and no idea what to do next.
During enforced leave from her cake decorating day job at one of the most prestigious cake boutiques in London, Izzy takes up residence on the sofa, devours the contents of the fridge and numbs her pain with day-time tv.
After some gentle parental persuasion, Izzy packs her bags, her badly broken heart, Baxter the slightly unhinged family dog and heads to the beautiful village of West Bay on the Dorset coast to stay with her wily Nan and her seemingly endless supply of Pinot Grigio.
With mad Aunt Marion and beautiful cousin Ellie also on hand to provide moral support, Isobel starts to rebuild her shattered life, face her past and discover a few home truths.
But Isobel knows an extended seaside holiday doesn’t pay the bills and when her soon to be ex-husband comes calling and offers her everything she’s ever wanted on a silver platter it could be the life and career she’s always dreamt of….but at what cost?
“Good descriptive writing which still left the reader needing to use their imagination as to what happens next.” – David J
Scroll down to read an excerpt from the book
Emma K Robling is a first time novelist with the release of her first book ‘Beside The Sea’ published in July 2017.
Already knee deep in her second novel and dreaming of a third, Emma is aiming to travel around the UK and write stories set against the backdrop of the country’s most beautiful coast and countryside locations.
The Lake District and the Highlands of Scotland are high on her destination wish list!
She shares her home in Surrey with her husband and two beloved dogs.
‘Isobel, time to get up!’ Mum shouted from the bottom of the stairs in her usual authoritative tone.
Jolting my conscious back to the here and now, I knew what was coming next: the sound of galloping paws as Mum’s dog Baxter honed in on the fact I had come home. The hairy spaniel alarm clock with a wet nose, bad breath and a tail that never stopped wagging. ‘Oh god,’ I muttered, burying my head back under the duvet in a futile attempt to pretend that I wasn’t there. If there was one thing I couldn’t cope with today, it was the exuberance and unbridled joy that Baxter seemed to possess. After hearing my bedroom door being pushed slowly open, there was a moment of silence as Baxter’s radar ears scanned the room for the sound of any sign of life. Holding my breath, I waited, and for a second I thought he might wander back downstairs. Unfortunately, he was not so easily fooled and seconds later I exhaled as I felt him nose his way underneath the bedclothes at the foot of the bed. The game was up. With the scrambling style of a ninja through the gloom of my duvet den, Baxter and I came face-to-face. He greeted me with his customary little lick on the nose and then looked conspiratorially at me as if to say ‘so who are we hiding from?’
‘Go away, you mad mutt,’ I said unkindly to him, then instantly regretted it. It wasn’t his fault my best friend and my husband felt the need to sleep with one another. He was a lovely dog really. Mad, but lovely.
The next set of footsteps on the stairs were my Mum’s. Mentally, I strapped on my hard hat. Mum and I had a slightly strained relationship to say the very least. We weren’t the mother and daughter who met up for coffee and shopped together. Nor were we the mother and daughter who rang each other just for a good natter; we didn’t even text one another just to keep in touch. But I always rang home on a Sunday to check in with my parents, although lately it had felt more of an obligation than a pleasure. Strained silences seemed to make up the majority of our phone calls recently. It hadn’t always been that way; we used to be close. But by the time I became a teenager, we seemed to be constantly locking horns over anything and everything. One day I’d hoped we’d move on from that and, while things improved as I’d grown up, it had never gone back to the way it once was. I always felt that somewhere along the way we’d lost our special bond. Nowadays, we were just awkward around one another. Mum had never really warmed to Matt either, which didn’t help, and I readied myself for a bombardment of the ‘I told you so’ hand grenades that were about to be thrown into my bunker. ‘Don’t think that you can hide under that duvet. You’ve got to come out and face the world at some point,’ Mum said brusquely as she entered the room.
‘I know,’ I sighed, slowly pulling the duvet down to reveal my dehydrated and dishevelled self plus an equally scruffy but delighted looking spaniel. ‘But does it have to be anytime this year?’
I squinted crossly at the bright sunny morning. How dare the day be so cheery and happy? Didn’t it know what I was going through? Surely black clouds and torrential rain would be more fitting for today. Mum smiled gently and put a mug of steaming coffee on my bedside table and, for a brief moment, I thought she was going to sit on the bed and hug me. Why I thought this, I had absolutely no idea. After all, it would go against pretty much everything I’d known about her ‘no-nonsense’ approach to motherhood so far. But, despite being 35 years old, when your world has come crashing down around your ears, you still need a hug from your Mum and to hear the words ‘don’t worry darling, it’s going to be alright.’ Mum stood awkwardly, ringing her hands for a few seconds and I held my breath wondering which way this was going to go: ice queen or marshmallow Mum? ‘Matthew’s been ringing us on the home phone. Best get things sorted out.’ So, ice queen then. In all the time I’d been married, she’d never called him ‘Matt’; far too informal. Mind you, at that moment I had plenty of names for him – many of which would give my Mother a coronary. It was clear that the mug of coffee was about as far as she was going down the road to something like empathy or sympathy.
The facts were really very simple: The man I love and my very best friend. An affair. A baby on the way. What more was there to say? I should have been crying/ranting/hurling furniture, but I didn’t have it in me. I had cried all night after I had fled from the party. Mum and Dad had been horrified when I turned up on their doorstep by taxi after midnight, completely hysterical. Eventually, I had calmed down and, between gulping sobs, I had told them my news. My poor tear ducts had all but dried out now, and as for furniture tossing, I just didn’t have the energy. It felt as if a steam roller had flattened me into the ground. Yes, I felt anger and fury. But it was the total and utter betrayal that left me feeling sick to my stomach. A thousand questions filled my head. Was it a one night stand? How long had it been going on? Had I missed any signs of an affair? You’d see it on TV thousands of times, the excuses of the ‘extra-long meeting at the office’ or the ‘golfing weekends with the boys’. I had scoffed at these seemingly brainless women; how could they not have seen the signs? But now it was me. ME. Now I was the wife that everyone would be pointing at, speaking about in hushed tones, exclaiming to one another ‘wasn’t it obvious?’ and asking, ‘poor thing, how could she have not known?’
I hadn’t seen Christie for several months when I arrived at the bar the previous evening. We had long since left the cul-de-sac and busy lives had taken us to the opposite sides of London. We would text a couple of times a week and met up for a drink and a catch up when we could. Of course, Matt saw Christie every day. Both of them worked as solicitors at the same huge central London firm.
“Loved the quirky awkwardness of the main character and the dating scenes. Great ending leaving it open to hopefully a follow on book. Great work.” – Jan Saunders