Blog Tour: The Lost Child | Ann Troup
Hello there my fellow book nerds, I am very pleased to welcome Ann Troup and her wonderful new book 'The Lost Child' to my blog today. I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful blog tour, and without any further hesitation - let's get to it.
Mandy Miller disappeared from Hallow’s End when she was just 3 years old. She was never found.
Thirty years on, Elaine Ellis is carrying her mother’s ashes back to Hallow’s End to scatter them in the place that she once called home. Elaine has never been there, but it’s the only place Jean talked about while she was growing up – so it seems as good a place as any.
As Elaine settles into her holiday cottage in the peaceful Devonshire village, she gets to know the locals; family she never knew she had, eccentric and old-fashioned gentry, and new friends where she would least expect them. But she is intrigued by the tale of the missing girl that the village still carries at its heart, and which somehow continues to overshadow them all. Little does she know how much more involved in the mystery she will become…
And now you lucky readers here is a sneaky peak at chapter one from 'The Lost Child'
It all began with the dead badger. Elaine had spotted it on the road to Hallow’s End, lying stiff and cold near to the grass verge that edged the narrow lane.
Ordinarily she would have ignored it, just swerved past and put the sight out of her mind. However, faced with an oncoming tractor, she had no choice but to drive over the poor thing. As the rear wheels bumped over its now thrice crushed corpse, she gave absolution to its lingering spirit with an apology made insincere by the shudder of revulsion that accompanied it. Rural Devon seemed to be inordinately littered with roadkill.
Driving over the badger had caused a jolt to the suspension, which in turn dislodged the lid of an urn. The three events sent the contents of the urn, the ashes of Elaine's recently cremated mother, skittering across the boot in a cloud of gritty detritus.
Remnants of the dead woman worked their way into every surface as the car rumbled over uneven tarmac. The tumbling, rolling motion helped to embed the very crumbs of Jean Ellis deep into shoes and coats and bags, where she could cling unseen.
Even in death Jean could cleave to the daughter she’d coveted. In this powdered state she could nestle against Elaine’s skin, work under her fingernails and linger in the air that she would breathe. Jean had become an ethereal cloud, which no one could escape.
When the car drew to a halt Jean settled for a moment, a dust storm in waiting. At the eye of that storm a burdened soul smouldered.
Elaine knew none of this as she negotiated the lanes, diligently following the signs to Hallow’s End and looking out for the fork in the road that would lead to the cottage she had rented. Just past the village she took the right fork, as instructed on the booking confirmation, and within a hundred yards saw a cottage which matched the photograph from the website. Sure enough, the sign on the gate read ‘Meadowfoot Cottage’ and Elaine knew she had found the right place. A gravelled pull-in formed the parking space and she pulled up there. Once out of the driving seat she stretched her stiffened limbs and walked to the back of the car. A girl had emerged from the cottage next door and was walking towards her. ‘Miriam says I’ve got to help you with your bags’ she said.
Elaine smiled at her and opened the boot. She was forced to watch, helpless and appalled, as a gust of wind seized the remains of her mother and delivered them into the unsuspecting face of the teenager who was waiting to her side.
‘What the hell was that?’ the girl demanded, spitting. She wiped at her dusty skin with the sleeve of her hoodie.
Elaine quickly pulled a coat over the urn, trying to ignore the grime that sugared the fabric, ‘I’m so sorry, I’ve been having some building work done, I had a bag of plaster in here and some must have spilled.’ She had to think quickly. The confabulation was in lieu of the truth; she could hardly tell the girl she’d just received a face full of cremains. Mortified, she told the girl to go inside and clean herself up, she would unload her own bags.
The girl scowled and sloped off towards the neighbouring cottage, unknowingly patting clouds of dead woman from her clothes.
‘If that had been anyone else but you, Mother, it might have had a funny side,’ Elaine muttered as she shook out her coat and dusted off her luggage. She wondered how appropriate it would be to sweep one’s parent into a dustpan?
‘I should have had you buried, even you couldn’t have got out of a coffin.’ She scooped what she could back into the green plastic urn and screwed on the lid.
She groped around the boot for a bag, which she could wrap round the urn to stop it disgorging its contents again. When she had finally enclosed Jean inside a Tesco’s carrier she felt a flush of guilt. ‘Sorry Mum, but you never could resist embarrassing me. That poor girl! And I know you hated Tesco, but this will have to do.’
To her continuing shame her muttering was interrupted by a small cough, forcing her to turn around and face a cheery looking, apple-cheeked woman who had been standing behind her for God knows how long. ‘Hi.’ Elaine said, acutely aware of the blush that had crept across her own cheeks.
The woman took a long appraising look at both Elaine and her car, ‘You must be Miss Ellis, welcome to Hallow’s End.
To purchase this wonderful book please head over to the link below:
About The Author
Ann lives in Devon in a small house just a pebble’s throw from the beach. She shares her home with her husband and a small white dog, both occasionally allow her to be inattentive to them so that she can write. Her many skills include an unparalleled ability to consume coffee and the gift of being able to kill houseplants by merely admiring them. In addition to that she is a great proponent of the Miss Havisham method of housekeeping, which includes regarding cobwebs and dust as nature’s ornaments. Her debut novel The Lost Child will be published by Carina UK on 19/5/2015.
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For now folks, Happy Reading.