This Love by Anna Bloom
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Publication Date: June 02nd, 2015
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Amber's always planned to leave her overbearing mother and their stifling small town behind as soon as she graduates. That is until her car breaks down outside Bale and Son's mechanics and she meets Freddy Bale. A boy who'd rather live in the moment than make a five-year-plan.
Ignoring her friends' warnings, Amber puts all dreams for her perfect future on hold, and dives into the romance heart first. On their last day of school, however, Freddy decides to call off their relationship, and Amber does the only thing she can think of: Run away and never look back. Just like she'd always planned.
Ten years pass before Amber sets foot in town again, only returning to look after her ailing mother. While Freddy wants to make amends, Amber is confronted with her own wrong choices from ten years ago. Choices that could change the lives of everyone she's ever loved.
When first love is given a second chance and the secrets of the past come hurtling into the present, will Amber and Freddy be able to lay their mistakes to rest and make this love the strongest one of all?
My former home looked on the very edge of being derelict. The four walls have never provided the warmth and comfort a childhood home should, but seeing it in a state of disrepair, littered with dirty china, lined with old newspapers and filmed in a greasy layer of dust made me doubt my choice of leaving ten years ago more than ever, and my decision to come back.
I did the right thing. Didn’t I?
You see, I’m the grown up now. Ten years ago I left home, my heart broken, and my ego bruised. With the hindsight of age, I realise my heart wasn’t really that broken, I probably wasn’t even really that in love. For the last ten years I’ve only had room for Isaac in my heart. Isaac is mine.
Dragging my mind back from my sadly lacking welcome home yesterday, I keep my mind on the present and scan the shelves of the grocery store searching for anything my mother might like to eat. The shop hasn’t changed at all. The floor still has the same unique surface texture of sticky and slippery. The bread still has to be eaten today because tomorrow morning it will get a cloying smell that hits you in the face when you open the bag. And the shelves are all still precariously balanced with an unpredictable selection of tins: spam next to peaches, tinned spaghetti next to sanitary towels and shoelaces next to the cheese.
The question is, what do women with early onset dementia like to eat? This morning she was cooking cat food. I didn’t know she’d ever owned a cat. My shock at her deteriorated condition mingled in an unpleasant way with the stench of hot Whiskers, my anxiety and guilt quickly transformed into frustration when she kept calling me Cynthia, which is her sister’s name. “I’m Amber,” I kept saying over and over again, my attempt to keep my voice light seriously pushed to the border of shouting, but she just looked at me blankly with no flicker of recognition on her face.
I’m just grabbing another loaf of bread because I’m sure Isaac will want his standard half a loaf and marmite for breakfast, when the door of the shop chimes. Ignoring it, I continue to load my arms with pretty much anything I can see.
A packet of McVities Chocolate digestives wiggles it’s way free from under my armpit and rolls beneath a shelf just as I hear the shop assistant call to the newcomer, “Morning, Mrs. Bale, what can I do for you?”
Mrs. Bale. I stop.
Last time I was here, Mrs Bale was dead. Interesting.