I’m honored to introduce to my blog followers author Celia J Anderson and her new contemporary romance novel, Little Boxes as part of her blog tour.
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Talking of boxes, on this promotion tour for Little Boxes release, I’m going retro – all the way back to Forest Gump talking about life being ‘like a box of chocolates’.
If you were faced with a massive choice of your favourites, which would you eat first? There’s an old quote from Jilly Cooper that I always loved from the days before her blockbusters when she wrote much shorter books, such as Prudence, Octavia and Imogen. I loved those early stories, and it’s driving me nuts which one had the line linking choosing your man to picking a sweetie, something about holding out for the coffee creams. Well, I would do just that. Coffee creams are my all time favourite chocolate.
In Little Boxes, Tom is the coffee cream – dark chocolate, slightly bitter, but smooth and sensual when you get past the first kick of flavour. He’s had a difficult life so far but he’s ready to let Molly in, if she can acquire the taste …
Molly herself is more like the rum truffle. She’s dark, sweet and packs a powerful punch when she’s angry, but the effect is delicious, and Tom is soon addicted. He can’t live without her but he can’t work out how to convince Molly that he’s the one for her.
Dot is a chunk of popping candy that’s sneaked into the box – she adds fizz to any occasion and is ready for adventure. Shaun, however, has got to be a thin sliver of chilli chocolate – spicy and vaguely dangerous, with a bite. And Kate’s a caramel, hard to get into, even harder to get away from, sometimes painful!
So, in your personal; box of chocolates, who’s the one that always gets left till last? Who’s the strawberry soft centered one? Who has the pulling power in your world?
Molly, breathless and pink in the face, came to a halt next to her youngest son and wondered why he was turning out to be so uncontrollable. Her eldest, Sam, had been completely different – happy to play with his Lego for hours, or draw endless pictures of his tortoise. Mind you, there hadn’t been all this open space available to go wild in when Sam was small. They had still been living in the little village on the outskirts of Leicester where she and Jake grew up. Theo and Hattie had been born there, too – it was only Max who had this giant beach playground to trash.
Bribing Max with promises of ice cream, she herded her brood back towards the promenade. The girls were sulking again. She could see Tom making his laborious way over the stones – a clever balancing act involving two sticks and a lot of muscle power. He was placing each stick carefully each time he was ready to move forward, picking the biggest, steadiest stones and testing them for steadiness as he went. A folding easel stuck out from Tom’s bag, and he was weighed down by his picnic chair and painting sack. It must be an enormous effort for him to get from A to B, Molly thought, flushing again as she remembered how she’d let herself down by ogling him.
She’d always had a weakness for strong, tanned forearms, and Tom’s were definitely worth looking at. In fact, his whole upper body looked amazingly toned. Molly watched him swing himself over the stones with only the occasional pause to balance. How blue his eyes were – piercing and yet thoughtful, looking right inside her as if he was able to read her soul. It was a good job he couldn’t.
Molly had noticed Tom painting on the cliffs for the first time last winter, and had been trying to think what she could do to get to know him ever since. There was something intriguing about his level of concentration and the way he set his jaw when he was painting. You would never dare to interrupt someone who cared so much about their work.
What kind of man would brave the bitter cold to paint such fresh, clean pictures day after day? Molly had stood in the shelter of the Ferrymead-on-Sea lighthouse on that first morning, muffled to the eyeballs in scarves and a woolly hat, but Tom’s short blond curls were unprotected by any sort of headgear and he had nothing thicker than a battered leather jacket to protect him from the icy east coast wind. Molly had wondered whether to offer him some coffee from her flask, but had chickened out. He’d looked as if interruptions would definitely not be welcome.
‘Mum, look at that man you were just talking to – he’s very brave, isn’t he?’ said Hattie as Tom, reaching the concrete of the promenade, picked up speed and reclaimed the wheelchair that he’d left chained to a lamp post.
‘Hattie, you’re so wet. And you’d better not let him hear you say stuff like that, either,’ her sister replied, giving her a shove.
Hattie righted herself and glared at Theo. ‘Why not?’
‘Duh, it’s obvious. He’ll think you pity him ‘cos he can’t walk without sticks. Even I know you should never do that.’
Hattie stuck out her bottom lip and watched Tom bowl away out of sight. ‘He’s fast though, isn’t he, Mum? He could do Paralympics or something,’ she said after a moment.
‘He really gets a move on,’ agreed Molly, trying to banish the unfamiliar ripples of lust that were making her slightly breathless. ‘Come on, we said we’d go and have an ice cream with your dad at the bistro. He’ll think we’ve abandoned him.’
Here’s the blurb:
Suddenly bereaved, Molly White realises that she has never really known her feisty husband Jake when random boxes begin to appear through the post, each one containing a tantalising clue to the secrets of Jake and Molly’s past. Someone who knows them both well, for reasons of their own, has planned a trail of discovery. The clues seem to be designed to change Molly’s life completely, leading her around Britain and then onwards to rural France and deepest Bavaria.
Meanwhile, waiting in the wings is Tom, a charismatic artist who runs a gallery in the same town. Strong, independent and wheelchair-bound from the age of fifteen, he leads a solitary life and has no idea how devastatingly attractive he is to women. When Tom meets curvy, beautiful and funny Molly, he knows that she is his dream woman, but she seems way out of his orbit until the boxes start to weave their spell and the two of them are thrown right out of their comfort zones.
Little Boxes is a story of love in a variety of guises – mother-love, unrequited passion, infatuation and the shadow-love held in memories that refuse to go away.
Carol here. I’m hijacking this post for a bit to insert my two cents.
Carol’s review: ♥♥♥♥♥
Thanks to the author who gifted me an e-copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.
I was intrigued by the blurb for Little Boxes, then followed my usual routine of taking a peek inside the book via Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. I liked what I read, so I requested a copy to review during Celia’s blog tour.
Celia J. Anderson’s Little Boxes pulled me in from the start and kept drawing me back every time life interrupted my reading time. The characters were multi-faceted and interesting, the pace steady and the plot twists unexpected. The little boxes in the story were ingenious, each one a revelation, adding another layer to the story like a lovely tiered cake.
I thoroughly enjoyed Little Boxes and hope to read more of Anderson’s work soon.
Celia J Anderson spends most of her spare time writing in as many different genres as possible, including children’s fiction. In her other life, she’s Assistant Headteacher at a small Catholic primary school in the Midlands and loves teaching literature (now comfortingly called English again but still the best subject in the world.)
She tried a variety of random jobs before discovering that the careers advisor at secondary school was right, including running crèches, childminding, teaching children to ride bikes (having omitted to mention she couldn’t do it herself) and a stint in mental health care. All these were ideal preparation for the classroom and provided huge amounts of copy for the books that were to come.
Celia enjoys cooking and eating in equal measures, and thinks life without wine would be a sad thing indeed. She is married, with two grown up daughters who have defected to the seaside. One day she plans to scoop up husband and cats and join them there.