Dome Press E book August 2018, Paperback January 2019
It’s my stop on the blog tour today for Puzzle Girl a light and fun read in the women’s fiction genre. It is the final stop on the tour and that means I have an extra treat for you – an extract so you can read for yourself a sample of this entertaining book. Without further ado here it is…
Extract – Puzzle Girl
The next station is Bank where this train terminates. All change.
I spring to my feet and shuffle forwards to get as close as I can to the
doors. I glance at my watch. I had been aiming to get into the office for 7 a.m.
and prepare until 10.30 a.m. But it’s already 8 a.m. and the train is only just
reaching Bank station.
I get ready for my daily game of Underground Army, a game I made up
to help keep me sane. It stops me killing tourists or fellow commuters as I
tackle the assault course that is getting-out-of-Bank-station during rush hour.
I hang on to the hand rail as the train jerks into the station. The long,
dull beep starts and the doors slowly begin to open. Commuters pile off like a
swarm of ants, oblivious to the other commuters around them. The woman in
front of me is trying her best to wheel off a pushchair and carry her suitcase at
the same time. Travelling with a child in rush hour must be the worst.
‘Here, let me help you,’ I say.
I take the suitcase and prop it up on the platform while she
manoeuvres the pushchair over the gap between the train and the platform
‘Thank you,’ she says to me, still looking a little flustered. ‘I think I’m
going to wait for the crowd to go first,’ she says and sits down on the platform
‘No problem,’ I say and then quickly jog towards the archway that leads
to the escalator to make up for the precious seconds lost.
I dodge my way through a group of early-bird tourists who are gathered
around an Underground map looking puzzled. The escalator is in sight. I nudge my way through the crowd that has gathered at the bottom waiting to
ascend at a snail’s pace up the right-hand side.
As a child, I used to run up the stairs. But in three-inch heels and a
suit-dress, the safer option is to power-walk up the left-hand side of the
escalator. I quickly reach the top and then hastily weave through the crowd to
get ahead for the next set of escalators. Why the engineers could not have
just built one long escalator, I don’t know.
Finally, after a few torturous minutes, I reach fresh air, a little smoky
and fumy as it always is in the City. A gentle breeze cools me down from the
sticky, claustrophobic heat that the Underground generates. I used to switch
to the Central line at Bank and go two stops to Chancery Lane before making
a short five-minute walk to the office off Hatton Garden but since the break-up
I’ve been walking from Bank. I’ve made a conscious effort to get fit, both
physically and mentally, to clear my mind of negativity and feel good about
myself again. The walk from Bank to Hatton Garden is a mile and adds about
ten minutes to my journey but not only do I find the walk therapeutic, it is also
like a mini victory at the start of everyday and a reminder that life after Seph –
my life after Seph – is better.
I was about a week into my new regime when I realised that Exit 1 was
the most efficient exit. The first couple of days I’d used Exit 3 to the Royal
Exchange, one of my all-time favourite places, but then I realised you spent
the first five minutes after escaping the Underground navigating your way
across two sets of traffic lights. I begin to weave my way through the stream
of Londoners and tourists and my thoughts soon turn to my presentation as I
start my brisk walk down Poultry. Everyone has secrets, don’t –
A woman shrieks. There’s a long, continuous beep from a car horn and
the treacherous screeching of brakes. I freeze. A cyclist veers off the road and
onto the pavement. It’s heading right for me.
Sounds good right? Let me tell you a bit more about it with the book description…
Love is a riddle waiting to be solved… Clued-up career girl Cassy Brookes has life under control until one disastrous morning changes everything. When she finds herself stuck in a doctor’s surgery, a cryptic message left in a crossword magazine sends her on a search to find the mysterious puzzle-man behind it. Cassy is soon torn between tracking down her elusive dream guy, and outwitting her nightmare workmate, the devious Martin. Facing a puzzling love-life, will she ever be able to fit the pieces together and discover the truth behind this enigmatic man?
Bringing to mind Bridget Jones, Cassy Brooks is a successful career girl looking for love, bruised following a harsh breakup she is distracted from her pain by the cryptic message in the puzzle book, who is it from? Is this her dream man at last? An amusing set of circumstances follow as Cassy thinks of increasingly inventive reasons to visit the surgery. Alongside this Cassy is chasing promotion and determined to demonstrate to the partners at work that she is the obvious choice.
This was an enjoyable read and I was fond of Cassy, trying to be organised while trying to juggle lots in the air – the quintessential modern woman. Lots of familiar characters here – the overbearing mother, the gay best friend, the work best friend and the handsome male colleague / competitor… The puzzle book aspect provides an original and fun angle and I enjoyed how this played out. Cassy’s visits to the surgery are a combination of funny and cringeworthy as she tries to avoid notice while seeking out a message from Puzzle Man.
I found this to be a quick read and easy to follow, playing out nicely on the rom com theme this book delivered as expected with a gorgeous ending. A light hearted and amusing read which was perfect for me on a long transatlantic flight home!
About the Author
Rachel Featherstone was born and raised in Woodford. Her path to writing was a little unorthodox. After reading Mathematics at Oxford University, New College, Rachel went to work in research.
When Rachel’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012, Rachel decided to take a chance, quit her job, and fulfil a lifetime ambition to write a novel. She went back to university and completed a Masters in English Literature and had several short stories published.
Rachel now lives in Hampshire with her husband and daughter.
As mentioned this is the final stop on the blog tour, but still possible to go and see what others have to say about this book.