Read The Guestbook Online

Authors: Holly Martin

The Guestbook

The Guestbook
Martin, Holly
Carina (2014)

Welcome to Willow Cottage – throw open the shutters, let in the sea breeze and make yourself completely at home. Oh, and please do leave a comment in the Guestbook!

As landlady of Willow Cottage, the young widow Annie Butterworth is always on hand with tea, sympathy or strong Norfolk cider - whatever her colourful array of guests require. A flick through the messages in the leather-bound cottage guestbook gives a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of everyone who passes through her doors.
This includes Annie herself - especially now celebrity crime writer Oliver Black, is back in town. He might grace the covers of gossip magazines with a different glamorous supermodel draped on his arm every week, but to Annie, he’s always just been Olly, the man who Annie shared her first kiss with.
Through the pages of the Guestbook Annie and Olly, along with all the guests that arrive at the seaside retreat, struggle with love, loss, mystery, joy, happiness, guilt…and the odd spot of naked rambling!

Forget sending postcards saying
wish you were here
- one visit to Willow Cottage and you’ll wish you could stay forever.

Welcome to Willow Cottage – throw open the shutters, let in the sea breeze and make yourself completely at home. Oh, and please do leave a comment in the Guestbook.

 

As landlady of Willow Cottage, the young widow Annie Butterworth is always on hand with tea, sympathy or strong Norfolk cider - whatever her colourful array of guests require. A flick through the messages in the leather-bound cottage guestbook gives a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of everyone who passes through her doors.

 

This includes Annie herself - especially now celebrity crime writer Oliver Black, is back in town. He might grace the covers of gossip magazines with a different glamorous supermodel draped on his arm every week, but to Annie, he’s always just been Olly, the man who Annie shared her first kiss with.

 

Through the pages of the Guestbook Annie and Olly, along with all the guests that arrive at the seaside retreat, struggle with love, loss, mystery, joy, happiness, guilt…and the odd spot of naked rambling!

 

Forget sending postcards saying ‘wish you were here’ - one visit to Willow Cottage and you’ll wish you could stay forever
.

Holly Martin

I live in sunny Bedfordshire in a house with round windows. I studied media at university, which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist, followed by an even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of my colleagues received the much-coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when I knew I had to escape. I quit my job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, I emerged wide-eyed and terrified that I now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. I taught for four years before History Off The Page came to my school to do a Tudor day. I now drive round the country in my little white van, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next.

 

I love to write. The characters do exactly what I want them to do, most of the time. Sometimes they do seem to go off and do their own thing without my permission. It is complete escapism into a world where I have full control.

 

I’ve been writing for four years now, every spare second I have, I’m scribbling ideas in a notebook or typing a scene on my laptop. I have written three romantic fiction books.
Changing Casanova
and
The Chainsaw Masquerade
were recently shortlisted for the Festival of Romance New Talent Award.

 

My short story, ‘One Hundred Proposals’, won the Belinda Jones Travel Club short story competition and was published in the
Sunlounger
anthology, alongside some of my favourite authors, Belinda Jones, Miranda Dickinson and Rosie Blake.

 

You can follow me at
& Twitter
@hollymartin00

Acknowledgements

So many people have helped me to get this book out into the wider world. I want to thank them all, but here are just a few.

 

My mom for reading every word I have written a hundred times over and still loving it every single time. My dad for straying away from his favourite Crime Thrillers to read The Guestbook, for laughing and crying in all the right places, and for loving it so much. My brother, Lee and my sister-in-law Julie, for all your support, enthusiasm and encouragement. Gareth and Mandie George for just being the best friends a girl could ever wish for, your support and love mean so much. Verity Davenport for reading everything so willingly and for your advice and unfailing encouragement. For Arron Davenport for giving me a laptop when mine died in the middle of writing this book. Jac and Mark Rumsey for getting excited for me and listening to me ramble on about it at every opportunity. Wonderful author Belinda Jones who saw something in my writing and helped me to realise my dream by publishing my short story in her Sunlounger anthology, for fighting my corner and for all the advice, support and friendship over the last nine months. The lovely Sharon Sant for being my rock during the lead up to publication, I don’t think I could have made it through this without you. Wonderful book bloggers, Victoria Stone, Kirsty Maclennan, Megan Wood and Laura Lovelock for getting excited about this book, for tirelessly championing and promoting it every single chance they got and for all the efforts in organising my book tour. My brilliant, patient agent Madeleine Milburn who replied to every email and kept me calm. The lovely Aven Ellis for being my friend and for cheering me on. To Hazel Osmond who encouraged me to not give up and gave me so much support. The fantastic Carina authors who took the time to advise me on the whole process. Others that have helped, encouraged, supported, promoted, got excited or just listened; Erin McEwan, Lisa Dickenson, Jaimie Admans, Jack Croxall, Dan Thompson, Rosie Blake, Jodie and James Brown, Zoe Markham, Jess Bickerton, Kelly Rufus, Jo Hurst, Sharon Benjamin, Sharon Wilden, Pernille Hughes, Kate Gordon, Kiri Mills, Trish H, Carolyn Aspenson, Louise Wykes, Pat Elliott, Louise Marley, Janet Emson and so many more, thank you. To all those involved in the book tour and cover reveal. To anyone who has read my book and taken the time to tell me you’ve enjoyed it or wrote a review, thank you so much.

 

And finally to the wonderful Lucy Gilmour, my lovely editor who fell in love with The Guestbook as much as I did, to the whole fantastic team at Carina who helped to see it through to publication, especially to the publishing department who had to deal with all the tricky fonts.

 

Thank you, I love you all.

 
For My Mum

The Guestbook

 

 

 

Holly Martin

 

 

Contents

Blurb

Title Page

Author Bio

Dedication

Endpages

Copyright

 

Dear Guests,

Welcome to Willow Cottage, I hope you enjoy your stay. I’m only next door, so if there is anything at all that you need, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

You may wish to use this guestbook to do a diary entry for every day you are here, tell us where you’ve been and what you’ve done. You may wish to leave helpful hints for other guests or you may just want to leave a short comment at the end of your stay telling me what you think of Willow Cottage.

I will come by on Tuesdays to drop off fresh towels, so if there’s anything else you need, you can always write it in the guestbook and I will check on it then.

Annie Butterworth.

**********

1
st
– 8
th
March

Rosie and Jake Hamilton.

 

Saturday:

Thanks so much for the flowers and champagne, what a lovely surprise. The cottage is beautiful and Chalk Hill village is so cute. I’m so excited to be here. We’re on our honeymoon, one long delicious week with my beautiful hubby. Yesterday I married my best friend. I really am the luckiest girl alive.

Jake says we can go for long walks along the beach and explore the beauty of the Norfolk Broads. Personally I don’t think we’ll be leaving the house much. We’ve been here six hours already and we’ve only really seen the bedroom! We’re getting a takeaway tonight, another excuse to stay in bed.

Can I just say for the record now, so it is here in black and white, I love my husband soooooo much. He won’t read this so I’m safe.

Mrs Rosie Hamilton. (Mrs!! I don’t think I’ll ever tire of that)

 

 

Sunday:

I’m in love, did I mention that. I can’t stop staring at the ring. It just hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m married!! And to the most marvellous man as well. Jake caught me watching him sleep last night, bet he thinks he’s married a right weirdo. Still there’s no escape for him now.

We actually made it to the beach today. The dunes are beautiful. We had a picnic and even had a dip in the sea.

Mrs Rosie Hamilton

 

WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I WON’T READ THIS? WHAT YOU FAIL TO REALISE IS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU TOO, EVEN THOUGH YOU SNORE.

JAKE HAMILTON. (HUSBAND TO CHIEF SNORER)

 

I do not snore.

 

YOU SO DO.

 

 

Monday:

Annie Butterworth, what a shock! With a name like Mrs Annie Butterworth I was honestly expecting some grey haired granny with half-moon glasses who would bring round homemade lemon drizzle cake. I didn’t expect someone so young and pretty. Jake thought you were a ghost at first, seeing you run through the garden with your long white dress and blonde hair flying theatrically behind you. It was quite the entrance.

It was great talking to you today. Where is Mr Butterworth? You both must come round for dinner one night.

Love Rosie

 

AS ROSIE IS USING THIS AS HER OWN PERSONAL MESSAGE BOARD IT’S DOWN TO ME TO SAY THAT TODAY WE HIRED A BOAT. SPEED BOAT WOULD BE TOO MUCH OF A GLAMOROUS TITLE FOR IT. IT WAS A ROW BOAT WITH AN ENGINE STUCK TO THE BACK. THOUGH EVEN CALLING IT AN ENGINE WOULD BE A STRETCH. IT MADE A LOT OF NOISE AND PROPELLED US MARGINALLY FASTER THAN A SNAIL. I HAVEN’T LAUGHED SO MUCH IN AGES.

WE ENDED UP ON SOME BIG LAKE AND FED THE SWANS OUR LEFT OVER PICNIC. THE BOAT THEN FAILED TO START AND WE WERE QUITE LITERALLY UP S**T CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE.

THANKFULLY SOME LOVELY GERMANS CAME TO OUR RESCUE AND TOWED US BACK TO WHERE WE LEFT THE CAR. THEY DIDN’T SPEAK A WORD OF ENGLISH, OR AT LEAST WERE NOT WILLING TO. THOUGH I DIDN’T NEED TO BE FLUENT IN GERMAN TO KNOW THEY WERE TAKING THE PISS OUT OF US ALL THE WAY BACK.

JAKE

 

 

Tuesday:

Hi Rosie, it was lovely to meet you too. I’m more than happy to come round with homemade lemon drizzle cake if that’s what you were expecting. I don’t have half-moon glasses but I can wear my reading glasses if that will work. As for the ghost, I was always cast as the angel in the school plays, being a ghost would have been much more exciting.

Mr Butterworth – Ha, Nick would have hated been called that – died two years ago so he won’t be joining us for dinner. If the weather stays fine how about you two join me for a barbeque tomorrow night?

Let me know if you want some eggs, Suzie and Doris, the chickens, are laying them faster than I can collect them.

Annie.

 

Annie, I’m so sorry, I really need to engage my brain before I speak. I’m such a nosy cow. I just assumed that as you were Mrs Butterworth that he was still around. I’m sorry.

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