Sometimes there is an author whose books you know you’ll love but you haven’t yet had chance to read. Elaine Everest is one such writer and I’m delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for her latest book The Butlins Girls with an extract to share with you today as at last I get to read something from Elaine!
Published by Pan MacMillan on 4th May 2017, The Butlins Girls is available for purchase in e-book and paperback here.
The Butlins Girls
A warm and comforting read, set against the nation’s favourite holiday camp, from bestselling author of The Woolworths Girls
Molly Missons hasn’t had the best of times recently. Having lost her parents, now some dubious long-lost family have darkened her door – attempting to steal her home and livelihood…
After a horrendous ordeal, Molly applies for a job as a Butlin’s Aunty. When she receives news that she has got the job, she immediately leaves her small home town – in search of a new life in Skegness.
Molly finds true friendship in Freda, Bunty and Plum. But the biggest shock is discovering that star of the silver screen, Johnny Johnson, is working at Butlin’s as head of the entertainment team. Johnny takes an instant liking to Molly and she begins to shed the shackles of her recent traumas. Will Johnny be just the distraction Molly needs – or is he too good be to be true?
An Extract from The Butlins Girls
Molly Missons gazed around in awe. So this was Butlins. Whitewashed buildings, bordered by rhododendrons, gave a cheerful feeling to a world still recovering from six years of war. The Skegness holiday camp covered a vast area, much larger than Molly had expected.
If it were not for a helpful bus conductor, she’d have alighted far too early, when first spotting row upon row of flags fluttering in the early May sunshine. As it was, the bus followed the boundaries of the camp and pulled up at the visitor entrance. The conductor helped her from the vehicle, passing her suitcase down from the steep step. With a cheery call of ‘Hi-de-hi!’, he waved goodbye.
Up ahead, she could see a long white building with the words ‘Our true intent is all for your delight’ emblazoned on the front wall for everyone to view. She thought it was a genuine welcome. Neat borders of shrubs and what looked like a children’s play area were extremely inviting to this first-time visitor. What was missing were people. She couldn’t see a single one. Molly knew the start of the holiday season was still days away, but surely there should be staff around the place? She pulled a letter from her coat pocket and checked the words. Yes, she had arrived on the right day, albeit several hours early. Such were the trains from Kent that if she’d caught the only other train from her connection in London to Lincolnshire, Molly would have arrived two hours late for her new job and not made a good impression.
But where was she to go? Molly chewed her lip and looked around in bewilderment, hoping someone would come to her rescue.
‘You look lost, m’dear,’ a gruff voice called out from behind her.
She jumped, not expecting her wishes to be answered so soon. Spinning round, Molly spotted an elderly man peering through a hatch in the window of a military-style gatehouse at the side of the road.
‘Yes, I am a little,’ she called back. ‘I know I’m in the right place, but I have no idea where to go or what to do next.’ Molly felt her chin wobble slightly. It had been a long journey into the unknown. If only she was at home once more, chatting with her mum in the kitchen while they prepared the evening meal. Sadly, that was never going to happen, however much she wished. It was a foolhardy idea to come to Butlins. It had been her best friend, Freda, who’d suggested applying for a job at the newly opened holiday camp. Despite fighting it back, a tear splashed onto her cheek.
‘There, there, missy – there’s no need for tears. Just you get yourself in here and I’ll sort things out for you or my name’s not Spud Jenkins. You can leave your suitcase out there. It won’t come to any trouble.’
Molly sat on the wooden chair Spud nudged towards her. ‘I’m so sorry. It’s been a long journey. I’m just tired. Once I know where I have to report, I’m sure I’ll feel better.’
Spud watched her thoughtfully as he struck a match over a single gas ring, which came to life with a loud pop. Shaking a battered kettle to check it contained enough water, he placed it onto the now flickering flame. ‘I take it this is your first visit to Butlins?’
Molly nodded as she took a handkerchief from her handbag and wiped her eyes. ‘Yes, it is. You must think I’m so silly.’
‘Not for one minute. You’d be surprised how many times I’ve been a shoulder to cry on. Boyfriend troubles, homesickness . . . I’ve heard it all in here.’
About Elaine Everest
Elaine Everest lives in Kent and is the author of bestseller, The Woolworth Girls. She has written widely for various women’s magazines and when she isn’t writing, she runs The Write Place creative writing school in Dartford, Kent, and the blog for the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
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