Happy Saturday from a sunny Southern California!
One of the best parts about being a book blogger is you have access to so many amazing books and are introduced to so many amazing new authors. The problem is you don’t always have the time to get to them all. Here is a book that I would love to read I just unfortunately don’t have the time to, but I’m excited to share it with you because it sure looks great!
A Degree of Uncertainty
A Cornish town is slowly fracturing under the weight of its growing university…
Prominent businessman, Harry Manchester will not stand by and see his beloved hometown turned into a student ghetto — and many residents and students are relying on him.
But Harry’s stance sets him on a collision course with Dawn Goldberg, formidable Vice Chancellor of Poltowan University, who is set on doubling its size and cementing her career legacy.
As Harry’s marriage falls apart, his business comes under threat, and fellow traders accuse him of halting progress, Dawn is battling her own demons, not least the need to live up to her late father’s expectations and erase the memory of his tragic death.
There can only be one victor in this battle for the soul of a close-knit community…
Author Bio – Nicola K Smith is a freelance journalist contributing to a number of titles including the The Times, Guardian.co.uk, BBC.co.uk, BBC Countryfile and Sainsbury’s Magazine. She lives in Falmouth, Cornwall, a town which inspired A Degree of Uncertainty, although it is set in the fictional Cornish town of Poltowan.
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Giveaway to Win 10 x A Degree of Uncertainty (Open to UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
A DEGREE OF UNCERTAINTY by Nicola K Smith
(Extract from Chapter 18)
This extract gives an insight into the stagnant state of Harry and Sylvia’s marriage, shortly after they agree to put the house on the market.
Sylvia watched from the upstairs window as Harry banged in the For Sale sign at the end of the drive. He hammered it quickly and hard, throwing his considerable muscle behind the lump hammer to drive it into the earth. He finished with an almost frenzied display of battering that took her by surprise.
He stood back for a moment to look at it, kicking halfheartedly at the bottom of the post after raining down the final blow. It stood fast. He stared at it for a moment before starting back towards the house.
Sylvia turned away. Out at the back, just over the hedge, a flurry of activity had started as people unloaded three transit vans packed with large black boxes and generators. They ambled slowly to and from the marquee, which seemed to have sprung up out of nowhere the day before.
The weather looked promising. It was a bright February day and there was a hint of warmth in the mid-morning sunshine that flooded through the bedroom window. Sylvia closed her eyes, letting it bathe her face.
She could hear Harry in the kitchen downstairs, opening and closing drawers and cupboards and talking in the gruff voice he reserved solely for Sting. She listened.
‘Sylvia?’ His voice floated up the stairs, as she knew it would.
‘Sylvia?’ She heard his heavy tread, his voice growing clearer.
She placed both hands on the windowsill, examining her thin fingers, the age spots starting to take hold on her skin. His feet retreated back down the stairs and she imagined him standing ponderously in the hallway, Sting purring affectionately alongside.
Slowly she roused herself, opening her eyes once more to the bright light and rejoining the present. ‘I’m coming,’ she called with some effort, but her voice cracked as she did so, fading to nothing.
Harry’s voice rose from the back garden and she looked out to see him striding purposefully towards the field alongside a young guy who stood even taller than him. The younger man’s arm was thrown loosely around Harry’s shoulders, almost protectively. They appeared to be sharing a joke as they disappeared through the gate in the hedge.
She lingered by the bedroom window and watched the activity unfold before her. The cars coming and going, unloading more gear; young people chatting and laughing, embracing, Harry directing things from the middle of the field, stopping to talk to people as he went. She had always admired that about him; his social ease, his ability quickly to find common ground with people, and the way they seemed to gravitate towards him, to find some sort of comfort in his presence.
Sylvia had never been at ease among people. She had always experienced anxiety in social situations, trying too hard or too little, and almost always resorting to silence, choosing shut- down mode as the safest way to navigate gatherings. Since she’d been with Harry, she’d gained confidence. She could play second fiddle while he took the lead, and she felt it suited her, allowing her to find her groove without having to endure the spotlight. There were far fewer expectations of her when she was with Harry. People expected him to perform, to hold court, to lead the way. It meant the demands on her were few.
She watched him walking back to the house alone now, before the familiar sound of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ stopped him in his tracks. He pulled his mobile from his pocket and paused, bending to replace a divot as he spoke.
It was probably her, thought Sylvia, shoulders sagging. Harry turned his back on the house, his free hand in his pocket, toeing the grass while he spoke. Sylvia had heard from Nell that they’d moved into an apartment on the river. She had seen it on Facebook and agonised over telling Sylvia, eventually letting it slip while they were walking one day. Sylvia had given little away. In truth, it had simply failed to penetrate her numb state and she had placed the information as if in a mental pending drawer, to address when she felt able. She had not yet felt able.
When Harry finished the call, continuing his walk towards the house, he caught sight of Sylvia standing at the window. He didn’t break stride or raise his hand but returned his gaze to the path in front of him and kept on walking.
The back door banged shut and she heard him stamping his boots. ‘Sylvia.’
She began to descend the stairs. Harry was standing at the bottom.
‘OK if I bring a couple of the guys in for a coffee in the kitchen? Not the whole crowd, just Ludo and Rockstr probably.’
Sylvia nodded, one hand resting on the banister rail, her foot still on the bottom stair, as if she was unsure whether to descend fully. ‘There might still be biscuits in the tin.’
He looked at her expressionless face: eyes almost unseeing, mouth set. ‘Will you join us?’
She shook her head, still hesitating on the stair.
‘Come on. It’ll do you good.’
The back door banged again and the sound of exuberant voices filled the room beyond. Sylvia turned away to climb the stairs again but Harry took hold of her hand. She turned to face him, surprised.
‘Come on, have a coffee with us. I’ll introduce you.’
‘No, Harry, really. I’ve things to do.’
She stared at him, trying to wrench her hand away but Harry held it firmly.
‘Harry. Let me go.’
He let her hand fall and tried unsuccessfully to swallow the words before they came. ‘If you’d just try…’
Sylvia looked up towards the top of the stairs as if at the summit of a mountain. ‘This is me trying, Harry,’ she said softly.