Starting Over at Acorn Cottage by Kate Forster was published by Aria on 19 March 2020 in ebook.
Today I have an extract from the book.
To start your day properly, you had to pour yourself good China tea into a fine bone china teacup.
Tassie McIver drank hers from a Wedgewood cup and saucer with a faded pattern of green trailing ivy that had belonged to her great-grandmother. It was a peony-shaped cup that allowed the right amount of depth and width for the leaves that she read every morning.
While the tea was important, it was the tea leaves that set the tone for the day.
The tea must be drunk with the left hand as that was closest to the heart, which suited Tassie as she read the paper, first checking for her own death notice, because, as her own mother said, if her name wasn’t in the paper, she was still free to live another day. She then moved to the crossword before moving to the weather forecast.
Leaving half a teaspoon of tea in the cup, she turned the cup three times on the saucer, from left to right. Tassie moved the cup swiftly and then she slowly turned it over onto the saucer, with its bottom in the air, letting the tea drain away and the tea leaves settle with the news of the day.
Tassie checked on the weather for the day as she waited for the fate of the tea leaves to settle. She saw no difference between the forecast for the weather and the forecast for her day from a teacup. The weather people were more often wrong about the rain and sunshine than she was about what was coming and going in the village and her life.
Turning the cup over, Tassie peered inside.
The handle was pointing to her. Interesting, she thought. Something was coming that would involve her. This was already unusual. All the leaves were near the rim. The events would happen soon, she noted. A ladybird symbol showed herself inside the cup. Betoken visitors, Tassie thought. A visitor for her.
The sound of knocking on the front door made her jump.
‘Mrs McIver, it’s the nurse,’ called the woman from outside the small house.
Tassie McIver sighed. The cup was playing with her, she thought, as the district nurse was not a wanted or welcome visitor. It took her some time to stand up, and sometimes the new nurses left before she managed to shuffle to the front door, but this nurse had too much bonhomie in her voice to be going anywhere soon.
Today the air felt warm, and Tassie’s arthritis was behaving but even so, she felt every step in every bone, as she managed to get to the door.
She opened it to find a cheerful nurse whose condescending smile put Tassie immediately into a bad mood.
About the book
Buying a thatched cottage in the country may not be the usual cure for a broken heart. But after Clara Maxwell finds out her boyfriend and best friend have been sneaking around behind her back, packing her bags and leaving everything in London behind feels like it’s the only way forward.
Clara knew Acorn Cottage would be a fixer-upper… Yet in person, the cottage is less charmingly ramshackle and more a real health and safety concern. When Henry Garnett, her (rather handsome) new contractor, turns up with his little daughter Pansy and a van shaped like a cottage in tow, she isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. What on earth has she gotten herself into?!
Still, there is something strangely lovable about the people in the little village of Merryknowe, from Rachel Brown, the quiet, lonely girl who bakes magical confections for the tearooms, to Tassie McIver, a little old lady with a lot of wisdom and a penchant for reading tea leaves. And Clara can’t deny that Henry and Pansy are quickly worming their way into her heart…
With all the heartbreak of the year behind her, could Acorn Cottage be the fresh start Clara so desperately wants?
About the author
Kate Forster lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, two children and dogs and can be found nursing a laptop, surrounded by magazines and talking on the phone, usually all at once. She is an avid follower of fashion, fame and all things pop culture and is also an excellent dinner party guest who always brings gossip and champagne.