What would you do if you came home one day to find half your worldy goods had been blown to smithereens?
For young widow Ellie Wheeler, the buried WWII bomb that’s blown the back off her South London home is a bit of a disaster, no question. But it might also be the catalyst she needs to move on, and turn her life – currently in stasis – into something more exciting. Though not too exciting. Ellie’s had more than enough excitement for one lifetime, not all of it generally known.
It’s certainly not known in the village of Little Flitling, where, in exchange for a temporary home, Ellie, along with her teenage daughter Scarlett, is currently pet-sitting 146 tropical fish and a small rodent, as well as trying to expand her fledgling dog-walking business. And first impressions confirm what she always suspected – that this is definitely not the place for a woman like her. They don’t even have a Chinese take-away, let alone a branch of Pho. But there’s one shining light in this much-manicured outpost of the home counties. The melancholy and heroic-seeming Dr Dan Copperfield, owner of labrador Benson.
Their attraction is instant and mutual. And for widower Dan, the arrival of Ellie in the village is like the coming of spring after the longest, coldest winter, and the signal that he should end the bereavement counselling sessions and direct his gaze somewhere other than his navel. There’s just the one spanner that might clog the works, though. That half-exploded houses tend to make the news, and news travels. Which is about to cause a lot of complications…
With a cast of characters that include an ageing rock star, a malamute husky called Alaska, some campaigning Bag Ladies and a hamster who goes by the name Mark Rothko, Times Like these is a comedy of romantic errors that examines what happens when walls start coming down; walls that are both actual and emotional. Because if you change one thing, you might just change everything.
Lynne Barrett-Lee was born in London and became a fulltime writer shortly after moving to Cardiff in 1994. She is the author of ten novels, including her acclaimed debut, Julia Gets a Life, and Barefoot in the Dark, which was shortlisted for the 2007 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. Her novels have been translated into several languages and she has also contributed two titles (one ghostwritten for television presenter Fiona Phillips) to the UK’s Quick Reads Campaign, which provides easy-to-read books for adult emergent readers.
Most recently, Lynne has returned to h...
More about Lynne Barrett-Lee