Friday 29 December 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana where I welcome Jenny to my blog where she has kindly provided a very interesting extract. I was thrilled to be asked by Annabelle Wright from ED Public Relations to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the extract so without further ado, here it is:

The train halted a hundred yards from the station. A voice announced a short delay. People around me were muttering, craning their necks at the window, wondering how long we’d be stuck there. Closing my eyes, I breathed deeply, distracting myself, flexing my fingers and blowing on my palms. They were sore and I realised I’d been balling my fists all the way from Paddington and the nails had made indentations in my skin.
Outside were familiar landmarks: Victorian houses with chaotic extensions; a narrow piece of wasteland that swept alongside. Boys had played chicken there once; vandals had set fire to the banks. Now the line was fenced off. Plastic bags clung to hedges and empty bottles littered the grass. It was autumn, yet there were none of the signs: no trees, no copper leaves, no pale golds. The place was stark. Depressing and still.
A few days before I’d been in Athens, drinking coffee in the October sun. My mobile had rung, a voice had spoken and I’d recognised Rita – my mother’s best friend. It was the way she’d said my name, Anna Flores; the way she’d rolled the ‘r’; the way she’d lowered her voice and explained how my mother had died. A stroke. When could I come home?
Rita had discussed the funeral, asking for my opinion: egg and cress versus salmon and cucumber; ‘Lord of All Hopefulness’ or ‘Abide With Me’. Her talk had jarred with the smell of souvlaki drifting from a restaurant and the sound of a lone voice singing in a bar. Afterwards I’d sat for ages weeping and feeling as if the music was the most sorrowful in the world.
The train lurched, crawling forwards. Passengers shifted with mumbles of relief. I pulled on my denim jacket, fiddled with my bag, checked that everything was where it should be: purse, phone, lipstick, bottle of Givenchy, photo of my mother. Photo of Gabriella. A man in a raincoat reached for his suitcase. I followed his lead and retrieved mine.
A few people got off with me. I watched them rushing up the steps and across the bridge, scrabbling with their tickets and their bags. Dropping my case, I pulled out the handle and paused to look around me. Nothing much had changed. The empty waiting room. The broken bench. The CCTV. How long had those cameras been there? Too late to spot Gabriella leaving, or to confirm the difference between sightings and lies.
Three years. That was how long it had been. A pitstop visit before I’d left for Greece, although I’d seen my mother since, when she’d made the journey to London, the day before I’d actually flown. Now, when I thought of that last meeting, in a cafe in Harrods, with my mother picking at her scone, my stomach wrenched with guilt. Three years. Only phone calls in between. Why had I assumed she’d go on forever? I should have known better than anyone how abruptly things changed.

The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana is out now, published by Mantle in hardback and priced at £14.99.  

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