So – ‘book 8’ is done, and safely deposited with my editor. As the leaves outside become crunchy then soggy underfoot and my early morning walks offer a little space for contemplation and review, I am feeling relieved to be temporarily ‘free’. I’m also missing my latest characters! I’ve loved every minute I spent with them, creating a story that’s felt amusing and entertaining, then at times nostalgic and poignant. In this case, it’s a story about ‘Home and Belonging.’ I wanted to explore – what is it that makes a house a home? What is it that makes us feel we belong in one place, and with some people, as opposed to some others? Then – what happens when the assumptions we’ve made around all of these things are shaken loose and collapse all around us?
The answer lies in some unexpected places, and it turns out it’s also a story about hope. It’s a story about what happens when you dare to go beyond yourself in search of a little magic!
(photo courtesy of Selene).
The story takes the shape of a road-trip, bringing soon-to-be-wed Sofia, and her twelve-year-old daughter Ida, all the way from hot and dusty Rio to the misty, Highlands of Scotland. Learning that she’s tragically losing her eye-sight, young Ida’s looking for her courage: she’s set her heart on following the trail of Scotland’s national hero, William Wallace. The story centres around their mission to undertake a poignant now-or-never ‘memory-trip.’ However, when their original tour-guide is obliged to bow out, events take an unexpected turn as handsome Scot Callum McGregor steps in to help out a friend. He’s entertaining and fun. He’s hot! With her possessive and uptight fiancé in mind, Sofia’s hesitant. But, when Cal promises Ida he’ll take her to a special location where she can discover a little of ‘The true magic of the Highlands,’ she’s immediately smitten.
Only problem is, despite appearances, Cal’s not actually a tour-guide. His own job is a little more risqué. Sofia’s caught in a cleft stick. Continue on with the trip, with this very unsuitable, far-too-sexy and charming yet caring man – or call Ida’s whole trip off? Besides, Sofia has her own secret agenda for wanting to stay on in the UK that she’d rather everyone back home didn’t know about…
The trio proceed with their trip but as their friendship blossoms it becomes clear that both Sofia and Cal are in their own ways, compromised. Sofia’s marrying into an uber-rich family, to a man her own, close-knit family are all thrilled with, but – is she? Meeting Cal has fueled deeply uncomfortable doubts about her upcoming marriage. Daring to express this to her family only elicits their wrath. With Williams Wallace’s quest for ‘freedom’ still ringing in her ears, Sofia finds herself questioning just how much of her personal freedom she’s willing to relinquish, in order to satisfy others’ demands? Home-loving Sofia cares dearly for her family but, can she still belong to people who don’t agree with her choices – without conforming?
Conversely, coming from an unhappy and rejecting early home, Cal’s concluded that family life’s not for him. He’s settled for a job that brings him rich rewards, but which also acts an effective barrier to him forming any kind of meaningful relationships. The road trip affords Sofia and Ida a chance to show Cal a totally different side of what it could mean, to ‘belong’… but will this former soldier find the courage to pursue the kind of home and relationship his heart truly desires?
Ida – who’s losing her sight – appears to be the one who can see what they’re both facing only too clearly.
The question is, will Sofia and Cal see it – what really matters to them – before it’s all too late?