I admit frowning at this title, then I read the synopsis and… and I think this is a jewel. One of those quiet books that somehow stays with you for a long, long time. Plus, on a side note, I sympathize SO much with Abigail. That excerpt is the perfect sum-up of how 99% of us feel, and what 99.9% of us dream, as far as a reader’s response to our stories. Especially men. Also, once, the tentative title of a book I was writing was Pain In My Right Butt Cheek. So yeah. I get it, sister.
The After Wife by Melanie Summers released Friday in the Women’s Fiction genre.
After losing her husband, writer Abigail Carson has all but given up on life. Having spent the last year cocooned in her Manhattan apartment, Abigail is suddenly forced to find a new home where she can stretch her dwindling savings. Intent on isolation, she moves to a tiny village in Nova Scotia where she’ll have no one to interrupt her solitude.
Little does Abigail realize that small-town life offers far less privacy than the big city. With neighbors knocking on the door bearing homemade treats and invitations, Abby soon finds herself immersed in the lives of the people of South Haven. She forms an unlikely friendship with Liam Wright, the handyman renovating her dilapidated cottage, and his daughter, seven-year-old Olive.
As the dark cloud engulfing Abigail lifts, she begins to believe she may have found love again. But just as Abigail is ready to leap, she discovers Liam carries with him a shocking secret that will ultimately cause everything to unravel. Abigail must decide if she will turn away from his pain or open her heart in the most hopeless of circumstances.
From bestselling author Melanie Summers, comes a heartfelt and uplifting tale of love, loss, and letting go… Insightful, enchanting, and filled with hope, The After Wife reminds us of the importance of human connection and the inseparable nature of love and survival.
Liam walks over to the bookshelf and pulls one of my novels down. “What’s it like to be a writer?”
“I’m not sure anymore. It’s been so long since I’ve done it.”
He looks at me from under his eyebrows and takes a more serious tone. “What’s it like to be a writer?”
I let out a long sigh. “Oh, it’s so many things—terrifying, gratifying, exciting, boring, tedious, and lonely.”
“All that in one job, eh?”
“All that in one day.”
“Tell me about this book.” He holds up The Duchess and the Doctor. The cover has a woman in a pale pink silk Mantua gown. “What’s it about?”
I hate it when men ask me about my romance novels. They either find the whole genre silly or assume I’m totally oversexed. “That was my third novel. It’s about a duchess and a doctor.”
“I got that from the title.” He comes around to the front of my desk and props himself up on the corner, still holding the book. “What happens with them?”
An uncomfortably warm feeling comes over me, like I’m doing something wrong, even though I haven’t done anything. I look down at my laptop to make it go away. “You’re welcome to take it home and read it if you’re absolutely dying to know.”
“Come on, Abigail. You let millions of strangers read your books—”
“So thousands then. But you know me. I’d think you could at least tell me a little about your work.” He flips it over and looks at the back. “Is it steamy?”
“Not Fifty Shades-steamy, but I did once get a review from Publisher’s Monthly that said I was ‘particularly adept at writing love scenes that work.’” Why did I say that? Stupid, Abby!
His mouth curves up in an impressed smile. “Particularly adept, eh?”
I purse my lips together. “You see? This is why I don’t like talking about my books.”
“You’re the one who brought up how adept you are. A man can’t help but have some follow-up questions on that.”
“Yeah, well, trust me, the answers aren’t going to be as thrilling as you may think.”
His face drops. “No?”
“No.” I set my attention to the terrifyingly blank word document labeled ‘Write a Book, Stupid.’ “I will tell you one thing, though. Romance writers are forever being asked about their sex lives, whereas I doubt anyone ever asks Stephen King how many people he murders when he’s not at his desk.”
Liam chuckles at the comparison. “It’s probably because sex is more fun to talk about.”
“I wouldn’t know. It’s another thing I only have vague memories of.”
When I risk a glance at him, his expression is unreadable, but those ridiculously blue eyes of his are intense in their gaze. I clear my throat. “Anyway, I should get back at it.”
“I’m going to take you up on your offer, you know.”
Dear Lord, what offer does he think I just made?
“I’m going to read your books. All of them.”
“Knock yourself out.”
The next morning, Liam arrives with The Duchess and the Doctor in one hand and his toolbox in the other. He holds up the book, looking defeated.
“Let me guess, too much lace and not enough action. Couldn’t get through it?”
“Couldn’t put it down. I was up ’til two this morning, reading. I needed to know if they’d end up together.”
I fold my lips in between my teeth, trying not to laugh.
“That damned Tabitha. What a wench she turned out to be.”
He walks into my den and returns the book to its spot. “This the next one?” He pulls out The Duke and the Dressmaker and flips it over.
“Oh! It’s about her brother?”
“Good. He needs a happy ending after everything he’s been through.”
AUTHOR BIO:Melanie Summers also writes steamy romance as MJ Summers.
Melanie made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in both the UK and Canada, and the top 50 Paid in the USA. Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first three books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia. Since 2013, she has written and published three novellas, and eight novels (of which seven have been published). She has sold over a quarter of a million books around the globe.
In her previous life (i.e. before having children), Melanie got her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, then went on to work in the soul-sucking customer service industry for a large cellular network provider that shall remain nameless (unless you write her personally – then she’ll dish). On her days off, she took courses and studied to become a Chartered Mediator. That designation landed her a job at the R.C.M.P. as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for ‘K’ Division. Having had enough of mediating arguments between gun-toting police officers, she decided it was much safer to have children so she could continue her study of conflict in a weapon-free environment (and one which doesn’t require makeup and/or nylons).
Melanie resides in Edmonton with her husband, three young children, and their adorable but neurotic one-eyed dog. When she’s not writing novels, Melanie loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. She also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken ‘from above’. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something–more like just staying until they turn the lights off.
She is represented by Suzanne Brandreth of The Cooke Agency International.
GIVEAWAYBlitz-wide giveaway (INT)
- $100 Amazon gift card + signed copy of The After Wife
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