When you’ve loved and lost, how do you find the strength to let love in again?
Jemma thinks she’s found the love of her life. Scott is everything she ever dreamed of and she can’t wait to begin the next stage of their life together. But just as she is heading for her happy ever after, a shock revelation shatters Jemma’s life as she knows it. Left to pick up the pieces, Jemma’s friends and family rally round to help her find the courage to move on.
Sam think he has his future all worked out. A thriving career, lovely home and an amazing fiancée. But when tragedy strikes, he finds himself alone, far from everyone he cares about. Did he do the right thing by running away and trying to rebuild the tatters of his life alone?
This is the story of Jemma and Sam. Two lost souls, desperately trying to find closure and happiness. When a chance meeting brings them together a friendship is formed, but the guards are up.
Will it finally be their turn for a happy ever after? Or will the secrets from their pasts prevent them from moving on?
Escape to Whitsborough Bay for an emotional, uplifting story of love and friendship from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.
This book was previously published as Bear With Me.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is an emotional story full of angst and loss but mitigated by the strong community ties and friendship at times of need. Jemma and Sam are the main protagonists, and the story unfolds from their perspectives. Initially, separate their stories intertwine as their lives implode.
The character-driven, insightful and immersive writing draws the reader into the characters’ lives. The world-building creates an authentic setting that is easy to imagine from the sensory imagery used.
Relatable characters and contemporary issues are interwoven into a story of friendship, loss and starting over.
Jessica Redland is the author of ten novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.
Extract from All You Need Is Love – Jessica Redland
Three years ago – 21st May
‘Mum!’ I called up the stairs. ‘Mum! The hearse is here.’ I cocked my head to one side, listening for her reply. Nothing. What was she doing up there? She’d told me forty minutes ago that she was ‘almost ready’ and, as she isn’t one of those women who spends hours teasing one strand of hair into place, there was no reason to disbelieve her. Of all the mornings to take forever, why choose today? Shaking my head, I opened the front door to Mum’s cottage, Bear’s Pad, before Mr Golding, the funeral director, had a chance to lift the grizzly-bear knocker.
‘Good morning, Ms Browne.’ He gave a reverential bow of his head. ‘We’re ready when you are.’
‘Thank you. We’ll be out in five minutes.’ I glanced back towards the stairs. ‘Actually, it could be ten. Do we have time?’
‘Ten minutes is no problem.’
My throat tightened as I glanced past him to the black limousine parked on the sloped driveway and the hearse parked on the road. It was still hard to take in. This wasn’t a day I’d expected to experience for several decades.
I tried not to curl my lip up at the orange and yellow floral lettering arrangement resting against the side of the coffin. I hated it but Logan, my seven-year-old brother, had requested it because his best friend Billy Thomas had apparently told him that people who didn’t have one were mean and that the dead would come back to haunt them. I could have throttled Billy Thomas. Logan also wanted a floral teddy bear to thoroughly protect him against any risk of ghosts but Mum and I had managed to talk him out of that. The deceased would not have been impressed with a bear. He probably would have haunted us for that.
‘Mum!’ I called again after I’d closed the door. Still no answer. Just a lot of clattering and banging.
‘What’s Mum doing?’ Logan looked up from where he was playing with his Lego on the lounge rug. ‘She’s being very noisy.’
‘I’ve no idea, but I’m about to find out. Have you been to the toilet?’
‘Can you do that while I check on Mum? And make sure you wash your hands.’
He put down his Lego and pouted. ‘I always do.’
‘Logan! What have we discussed about telling fibs?’
‘Okay. I promise I’ll wash them. You can smell them if you want.’
I smiled at him. ‘Tempting, but I might pass on that.’
Logan headed past me and through the kitchen, giggling as he made a big show of sniffing at his hands. Happy that he was doing as asked, I kicked off my stilettos and ran up the stairs. I paused for a moment outside Mum’s bedroom listening to the racket, punctuated with the occasional expletive, then pushed open the door and gasped.
‘Oh my God! What’s going on? Mum! Why aren’t you ready?’
Wrapped in a fluffy cream towel, Mum turned to face me and blew a wisp of dark hair out of her face.
‘I only bought them on Saturday,’ she said, as if that explained why half the contents of her drawers were strewn all over the floor.
‘Bought what on Saturday?’
‘Black knickers. An M&S three-pack. But I can’t find them, Jemma.’
‘Where did you last have them?’
She planted her hands on her hips and rolled her eyes at me. ‘Why do people always say that? If I knew the answer, then this wouldn’t have happened, would it?’ She waved her arm across the carnage.
‘The hearse is here,’ I said, equally unhelpfully.
Mum frowned. ‘I thought they weren’t due till 10.15.’
‘It is 10.15. Well, near enough.’
She twisted round to look at her bedside clock. ‘Crap! Why didn’t you call me sooner?’
‘Because you told me you were nearly ready forty minutes ago and because I was busy with Logan.’
‘Logan? Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry, Jemma. Is he ready?’
‘Yes. He’s downstairs waiting. We need to go in about seven minutes. Can you manage without the knickers?’
Her eyes widened. ‘Jemma-bear! Are you suggesting that I go commando to your father’s funeral? I’m not sure that’s appropriate.’
I laughed loudly – also not appropriate for a funeral. ‘I didn’t mean go without any knickers. I just meant without the new black ones.’