A Village Affair by Julie Houston
Cassie Beresford has recently landed her dream job as deputy head at her local, idyllic village primary school, Little Acorns. So, the last thing she needs is her husband of twenty years being 'outed' at a village charity auction - he has been having an affair with one of her closest friends.
As if that weren't enough to cope with, Cassie suddenly finds herself catapulted into the head teacher position, and at the forefront of a fight to ward off developers determined to concrete over the beautiful landscape.
But through it all, the irresistible joy of her pupils, the reality of keeping her teenage children on the straight and narrow, her irrepressible family and friends, and the possibility of new love, mean what could have been the worst year ever, actually might be the best yet...
Loved it! Simply loved it! The story hits the ground running and doesn't slow down until it gets to the end. There's a great deal of irony in the book and a lot of humour (those primary school kids are simply adorable!). It's got some twists and turns, too, which kept me frantically turning the page.
Ms Houston has excelled herself with this book.
Here's an extract to further whet your appetite
Could It Get Any Worse…?
The week before Easter, a couple of years before what would become known as ‘the night of the auction’ I was having a discussion with my class of eleven-year-olds as to whether Jesus knew he was actually going to die. We’d just introduced a brand-new RE syllabus and, rather than regurgitating the same old story with the accompanying pictures of Jesus on a donkey and the crowd waving palm leaves – or the actual palm trees, in a couple of cases where the illustrator had obviously been more intent on what was happening outside the window rather than the underlying theology – we were philosophically exploring the idea of destiny and whether Jesus could have done anything to change the path down which he was heading. He knew Peter was about to betray him (I’d been in the chorus of an amateur production of Jesus Christ Superstar a few months earlier and remember pointing a dramatic finger and singing to the somewhat bemused class, ‘One of you will betray me, one of you will deny me…’) so why the hell didn’t he leg it while he had the chance?
Curled up in a foetal position on the sitting-room sofa in the early hours of the Sunday morning following my own betrayal at the hands of the twin Judases – namely my husband and my best friend – I ventured the same question to Clare who, together with Fiona, had brought me home after the auction and was refusing to leave me on my own. ‘So, is this destiny?’ I asked her as she passed me tea. I’d wanted gin, wine, the disgustingly cloying cherry brandy that Mark’s mother kept buying for us at Christmas, anything alcoholic to numb the terrible pain that was coursing through every part of me but, apart from the half-bottle of wine the two of us had shared earlier, Clare had refused to let me have any, saying I’d only feel worse once its effects had worn off.
‘Destiny? Is what destiny?’
‘You know, the path I have to take in life. Was it all mapped out for me by God and whatever I did, this was his plan.’
‘God’s plan?’ Clare snorted angrily. ‘I rather think it was Mark and Tina’s plan, don’t you?’
‘What I’m saying is, was there anything I could have done differently or is that irrelevant?’
‘Cassie, I hardly think this bombshell is your fault, for heaven’s sake. But, did you really have no idea? Two years?’ She shook her head. ‘I’m sure I’d know if the man I was with was sleeping with someone else.’
‘Nope, not a clue.’
‘You seem to be taking this remarkably calmly.’ She peered over her mug of tea at me. ‘I’d have expected you to be sobbing, tearing your hair out.’
‘I think it’s because I don’t actually believe what’s happened. It’s this destiny thing: if we hadn’t gone to the auction none of this would have come out. We’d have taken a different path.’
‘Oh, bloody hell, Cassie, I’m sorry but that’s just bollocks. Of course it would have come out. Probably Tina was hoping it would. You know she and Simon haven’t been getting on for ages.’
‘Two years, Clare. Two bloody years. My husband and my best friend have been having it off for two years.’ I sat up suddenly. ‘But when? Where? Hotels in Brighton? Cosy little weekends in Paris? I just don’t get it.’
‘Well, you might not get it, but they were obviously getting their fair share… Sorry, that wasn’t funny.’ Clare frowned. ‘To answer your question, they both have fairly high-powered jobs that take them away a lot. Particularly to London. Weren’t they always in London together, getting together for a drink after their meetings, staying overnight?’
‘Well, yes, but it was all so innocent…’
‘Obviously not. So, sweetie, what are you going to do?’ Clare looked at her watch. ‘It’s after four, Cassie. You need to get some sleep. Show me to your spare room; there’s no way I’m leaving you by yourself.’
About the Author
Julie Houston is Yorkshire born and bred. She lives in Huddersfield where her novels are set and her only claims to fame are that she taught at 'Bridget Jones' author Helen Fielding's old school and she was rescued by Frank Bough when, many years ago, she was 'working as a waitress in a cocktail bar' at the Kensington Hilton in London. After University, where she studied Education and English Literature, she taught for many years as a junior school teacher. As a newly qualified teacher, broke and paying off her first mortgage, she would spend every long summer holiday working on different Kibbutzim in Israel. After teaching for a few years she decided to go to New Zealand to work and taught in Auckland for a year before coming back to this country. She now teaches just a couple of days a week but still loves the buzz of teaching junior-aged children. She has been a magistrate for the last fifteen years, and, when not distracted by ebay, geneology (so time consuming but so interesting - she recently discovered her husband is descended from the poet Shelley and the Duke of Milan!!) and crosswords, she spends much of her time writing. Julie is married, has a twenty-one-year-old son and eighteen-year-old daughter and a mad cockapoo called Lincoln. She runs and swims because she's been told it's good for her, but would really prefer a glass of wine, a sun lounger and a jolly good book.
Twitter handle: @juliehouston2
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2MF22BW iBooks: https://apple.co/2PEjcCb
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MFTI4T Google Play: http://bit.ly/2yFfGjA