Happy Wednesday! I am in a very cheerful mood today which seems fitting because the book that I am on the tour for looks pretty cheerful too.
A warm slice of life, funny, feel-good, yet poignant. Introducing two eccentric ladies who form an unlikely friendship. Meet Mavis and Dot – two colourful, retired ladies who live in Worthington-on-Sea, where there are charity shops galore. Apart from bargain hunting, they manage to tangle themselves in escapades involving illegal immigrants, night clubs, nude modelling, errant toupees and more. And then there’s Mal, the lovable dog who nobody else wants. A gently humorous, often side-splitting, heart-warming snapshot of two memorable characters with past secrets and passions. Escape for a couple of hours into this snapshot of a faded, British seaside town. You’ll laugh and cry but probably laugh more.”This book is quirky and individual, and has great pathos…[it] will resonate with a lot of readers.” Gill Kaye – Editor of Ingenu(e). Written with a light touch in memory of a dear friend who passed away from ovarian cancer, Angela Petch’s seaside tale is a departure from her successful Tuscan novels.
All profits from the sale of the books will go towards research into the cure for cancer.
Mavis and Dot takes a gently humorous walk into the lives of two newly retired ladies living in a seaside town along the south coast of England. There are sad moments too, which I hope will balance the laugh-out-loud episodes.
The main inspiration behind the writing was to remember how my best friend and I (not then retired) used to enjoy our days hunting around the charity shops and auction houses whilst our children were in school. We called each other Mavis and Dot, hamming it up like two caricatures. When she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, I wrote her a story and exaggerated our antics. It cheered her a little. Twelve years later, I’ve added to the original idea and produced this novella, the sale of which might raise something towards research into cancer.
I’m retired now and live in a seaside town too. What goes around… and I wonder how youngsters judge us older folk, who are ‘everywhere and nowhere’. But, we’re not nowhere. We’ve lived interesting lives, most of us. We still have plans; we’re still here. And we’re still enjoying interesting lives. I am lucky to live in Tuscany for six months each year, where I write my usual genre of historical novels.
Mavis enjoyed her affair with her Italian lover, but he passed away. And he was married, so her moments of passion were snatched.
In Chapter 2, the reader discovers something of her past (which she never reveals to her new friend, Dot, by the way):
“It was a Saturday afternoon in April. Mavis was in the same bedroom but instead of clasping a framed photo, she was in the arms of a handsome, sixty-something, rather corpulent owner of a famous chain of Italian restaurants. They had just made love and now they were leaning back against plump pillows. The gentleman was smiling approvingly at Mavis.
‘I think I will have to take your temperature again, sir,’ she said. ‘You’re looking very flushed. Only this time, close your eyes.’
She tip-toed from the bed and pulled on an outfit concealed at the bottom of her shopping bag. Then she climbed aboard again, straddling her lover, her nurse’s uniform riding up her heavy thighs. ‘Now, keep still while I take your pulse,’ she said.
‘But I can’t move, carissima, even if I wanted to.’ He smacked her ample bottom and started to undo her apron strings.
‘Tut tut, Alessandro! I shall have to take my stethoscope to you again if you don’t behave.’
‘Va bene, Mavis,’ (he pronounced it Myviss). ‘OK, va bene – I am in your ‘ands. I obey. Now do with me what you will.’
So, she did.
Later, at the antique mahogany dining table positioned to enjoy a view over the sea, they’d shared a late supper. They ate from aluminium foil dishes, finishing up morsels that Alessandro had brought from his restaurant kitchen. The twinkling lights along the promenade provided a festive backdrop to their feast. As usual, Mavis had eaten with gusto, feeding her lover with garlic mushrooms and slivers of sweet red oily capsicum from her own fork.”
We also learn about Dot’s story during her tragic teenage years. (No spoilers).
I want readers to smile at Mavis and Dot, but underneath there is a message that we should not judge people too quickly. There are many layers and motives for why they come over as they do. As Mavis reasons to herself along one of her seaside walks, “You never really knew what happened in other people’s lives… this retirement town was probably brimming with sad stories, but life had to go on and most people of her generation had learned to keep feelings buttoned up.”
I hope readers will enjoy my novella, but my main aim is to remember my friend, Olga, and to raise lots of money for research into this awful disease that robs us of too many loved ones.
There are lots of stops where you can find out more about this wonderful book.
A prize-winning author, Angela Petch lives half the year in West Sussex and the summer months in a remote valley in the Tuscan Apennines. She recently signed a two-book deal with Bookouture for her Tuscan novels and “Mavis and Dot” is a temporary departure from her usual genre.She has travelled all her life: born in Germany, she spent six years as a child living in Rome, worked in Amsterdam after finishing her degree in Italian, moved to Italy for her job, then to Tanzania for three years. Her head is full of stories and she always carries a pen and note-book to capture more ideas.
In May 2017, Angela Petch won PRIMA’S monthly short story competition and recently had a dozen stories published by The People’s Friend magazine.
“Mavis and Dot” was written in memory of a dear friend who lost her battle with ovarian cancer. All profits from sales of the book will go towards research into a cure for cancer.