I’m absolutely thrilled to be starting off the blog tour celebrations for the paperback of Messy Wonderful Us by Catherine Isaac because this novel was my book of the year last year. You can read my review of Messy, Wonderful Us here, but today I have an extract to share with you so that you can see for yourself what a lovely book it is.
As well as loving Messy, Wonderful Us, I adored Catherine Isaac’s You, Me, Everything which I reviewed here and was delighted to chat with her about that book on Linda’s Book Bag in a post you can read here.
Messy, Wonderful Us
One morning in early summer, a man and woman wait to board a flight to Italy.
Allie has lived a careful, focused existence. But now she has unexpectedly taken leave from her job as an academic research scientist to fly to a place she only recently heard about in a letter. Her father, Joe, doesn’t know the reason for her trip, and Allie can’t bring herself to tell him that she’s flying to Italy to unpick the truth about what her mother did all those years ago.
Beside her is her best friend since schooldays, Ed. He has just shocked everyone with a sudden separation from his wife, Julia. Allie hopes that a break will help him open up.
But the secrets that emerge as the sun beats down on Lake Garda and Liguria don’t merely concern her family’s tangled past. And the two friends are forced to confront questions about their own life-long relationship that are impossible to resolve.
The dazzling new novel from Richard & Judy book club author Catherine Isaac, Messy, Wonderful Us is a story about the transforming power of love, as one woman journeys to uncover the past and reshape her future.
An Extract from Messy, Wonderful Us
There were certain scents that could whisk her back to that sultry night at any moment. It would happen for months afterwards. She’d be getting on with her life, trying to keep her head down, when she’d breathe in and a rush of memories would follow. Of hot skin and the spike of perfume. The fug of cigarette smoke and hairspray. The musky aroma that had clung faintly to his neck, as he’d slipped his hand around her waist and whispered to her. And the pollen- rich grass that infused the darkness as she’d followed him, until the boom of music grew faint and they were out of sight, heading towards a tangle of woodland.
She hadn’t set out to be reckless that night. But then, she hadn’t set out to tell all those lies so she could be with a boy – no, a man – she shouldn’t have been with. In the preceding weeks, she’d found herself floating towards this point, unable to stop herself. Unable to think about her betrayal and the pain she had the capacity to inflict on theone man who really loved her.
From the moment this stranger had swept into her life, everything about him had bewitched her. The lilting way he spoke, in an accent that captured the intrinsic beauty of words. The muss of hair around the nape of his neck. The way he looked at her, as if every other girl was invisible. She’d glanced up at the shadows on his face as the moon glowed behind him, trying to pretend she was more experienced than she was. But he can’t have failed to notice that she was trembling.
His features were unusual, striking rather than handsome. But this wasn’t about his looks.It was about what she saw behind his eyes, the antidote to every humdrum thing in her life, a world of adventure, a foreign land. He was leading her to a new place inside herself, away from the person everyone thought she was.
They followed a secluded path beyond the trees and found a spot where the air had stilled. Nobody could see them or hear them. She knew what was about to happen and it made her chest burn. His lips felt like velvet as his mouth travelled along her jaw, her temple,the stretch of her collarbone. Bark scratched through her dress into the damp flesh on her spine and her hem rose to the top of her thighs.All she could do was abandon herself to the exquisite ache in her belly. The weightlessness of the moment. The sky-high feeling of being a woman.
I love this scene setting extract and hope you do too!
About Catherine Isaac
Catherine Isaac was born in Liverpool and was a journalist for many years before she wrote her first book, Bridesmaids, under the pseudonym Jane Costello. She wrote nine novels under that name – all bestsellers – before You Me Everything was published under the name Catherine Isaac in 2018. It was selected by the Richard & Judy Book Club,
has been translated into 24 languages and a movie is in development by Lionsgate and Temple Hill. In 2019 she won the Romantic Novelists’ Association award for Popular Romantic Fiction. She lives in Liverpool with her husband and three sons.
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