Hi and welcome to FromBelgiumWithBookLove where it is my absolute pleasure to share with you an excerpt from A Song of Isolation! My review is here if you want to have a look at that. Many thanks to Anne Cater for having me on the tour, and to Orenda Books for the excerpt.
Let’s have a quick look at the blurb first:
Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job. The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went?
Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press witch hunt quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country.
While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world.
Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives … in an instant.
Okay, are you ready? Then please join me for a look at Chapter 3!
Amelie’s phone rang. She watched Dave’s back as he walked towards the front door. Read the tension in it as he moved away. He deserved more than this from her. He deserved a woman who would be every bit as kind, gentle and considerate as he was.
She pushed a breath through her pursed lips and heard a note of frustration in that small expulsion of air.
The screen on her phone displayed a name. Lisa. The one friend who remained from her time in the limelight. She’d played her best friend in Amelie’s first movie, and happily their on-screen chemistry had been real. The only thing about that movie that actually worked, she remembered ruefully. From the moment they met they’d sensed the other was on the exact same wavelength. Now, though, they rarely got together, as Lisa’s career had rocketed, meaning she had her own team of paparazzi who followed her about, but the two women spent hours on the phone. It seemed that Lisa’s function, other than to listen to her complaints, was to alert her to any news stories that were about to break about her.
Even four years after walking away from it all, the press, and by extension the public, were still fascinated about why she had abandoned the opportunity to live the life that most people wanted. Lisa had lots of media contacts so she was happy to alert Amelie that a fresh batch of paps might be beating their way to her door. ‘Get the wide-brimmed hat and the large sunglasses out, darling,’ she’d say. ‘The vultures are about to come calling.’
Looking at the screen for a moment, Amelie cancelled the call. She couldn’t even be bothered speaking to her best friend.
‘Have you told him yet?’ Lisa had demanded, the last time they spoke.
‘Oh, Leece,’ she replied, and sank back into the sofa.
‘Don’t oh Leece me, Amelie. You need to put the poor schmuck out of his misery.’
‘But I don’t know if I want to dump him. I’m not even sure he’s the problem.’
‘What is the problem?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘I’m calling bullshit on that, honey. You know.’ Lisa’s tone weighted the word know with a burden of importance. ‘You just don’t want to face up to it.’
‘But what if I’m wrong and I lose out on one of the best things that has happened to me?’ ‘What’s meant to be, is meant to be.’ Lisa had a strange relationship with the notion of fate. When it suited her, something was meant to be. When it was an inconvenient notion, she railed against it. She was as capricious as the weather on a mountain top, and Amelie loved her for it. Life was never dull with Lisa wittering in her ear. ‘He came along at the right time, honey. That’s how life works. Just when you needed something – someone – solid in your life, he appeared. Now you’re going through another transition and you need to face up to that. If he’s still there at the other side, great. If not, he’ll hopefully find someone as amazing as you.’
Amelie snorted, mentally retreating from the compliment. ‘Me? Amazing? I’m a witch.’ ‘You’re being too harsh on yourself, babes. Relationships change. People move on. We have to move on, or it just gets too…’
‘What about you and Pretty Boy?’ Amelie interrupted. She’d already had enough of talking about herself. Pretty Boy was what she called Lisa’s latest lover. He was a hot young actor, famous for taking his shirt off in TV period dramas, and for not having too much between the ears.
‘Oh, I dumped his scrawny ass,’ Lisa cackled. ‘Haven’t you been keeping up to date with the goss?’ She paused. ‘Sorry, I forgot you have no access to the wider world in that little haven of yours.
Don’t you even have satellite TV? Lisa had asked her, incredulous, when she first moved in.
Her haven was an estate in the Lanarkshire countryside. It offered them the best of both worlds. A manageable daily commute for Dave into Glasgow, and for Amelie, spirit-reviving time in the heart of nature. The family who had owned it for generations had hit on hard times and sold the whole lot to a development company. The big house had been converted into luxury flats, and the stable block renovated into a row of quaint mews cottages. She owned the largest, end cottage and fell in love with it the moment she stepped inside.
It even came with its own cat, a tortoiseshell named George. The previous owners had tried a number of times to take him to their new place, but each time they’d carted him off in the back of their car to their new home five miles away, he’d turned up a week or so later, licking a paw as if to say, Well, that was a bit of a walk.
Never was a cat person, or so she thought, but George managed to worm his way into her heart – that purr of content as he lay on her lap became part of the music of the cottage, and the last time the previous owners turned up to collect him again, she suggested, hoping she didn’t sound too desperate, that he stay with her.
Said cat padded into the room. Sat in the middle of the floor. Curled his tail around his feet and stared at her.
‘Needing fed, George? she asked him. He opened his mouth and let out a long, low noise. Amelie had counted a ‘vocabulary’ of about ten different sounds that George used to communicate. She hadn’t managed to work out which noise equated to which need, as he seemed to change them at his own whim.
She heard a rumble from the front door. Two different male voices. A long silence and then a high-pitched, in-panic Dave as he shouted, ‘Amelie?’
You need to know what happens next, right?! Not a problem: A Song of Isolation is out in eBook and paperback right now! Go get it!