Everyone’s talking about Mia Page. Again.
Mia Page has been the subject of gossip in Aberarian for half her life, ever since her father ran off with his secretary–and the contents of the local museum safe–when she was fourteen.
Still, Mia loves her hometown, loves working at the A to Z shop, eating seafood with her best friend Charlie at his restaurant, catching the classic midnight movie at the crumbling Coliseum cinema. And if she ever wonders if things might be even better if Charlie were more than just a friend, well, it’s only an idle thought in a lonely moment. After all, friendship always trumps romance, doesn’t it? And she’s never been one to rock the boat.
But everything she loves is suddenly under threat from Charlie’s ex- girlfriend, Becky, and her plans to turn Mia’s beloved Coliseum into a casino, transforming the sleepy seaside town forever. As Mia tries to pull the people of Aberarian together to save the town they adore, she starts to find her own place in the community, a family of sorts, and maybe even love. Until her father suddenly reappears, and people start asking what he wants to take from them this time…
WARNING: Some sexual scenes. Also contains seafood.
Thanks, Marissa, for having me here today!
Love in the Movies
My latest book, An A to Z of Love, starts with a woman’s quest to save the one place in town she always felt at home – even when her father ran off with his secretary–and the contents of the local museum safe–when she was fourteen. Even when everyone in town is still talking about her, fourteen years later.
Mia Page has found her own private corner of Aberarian at last; working at the A to Z shop, eating seafood with her best friend Charlie at his restaurant, and by catching the classic midnight movie at the crumbling Coliseum cinema.
Only Charlie’s ex-girlfriend, Becky, is back in town with plans to turn the Coliseum into the North Wales coast’s newest casino, and change the town of Aberarian forever. Unless Mia can think of a way to save the cinema – and make the community accept her, once and for all.
Walt rang up their tickets and popcorn on the ancient till and handed over two tiny paper tickets to Charlie. Then, grabbing his torch from beneath the counter, he stepped out to lead them into the Coliseum’s one and only screen. “You’ll just have to give me a moment to get everything fired up.”
Charlie shepherded Mia after him. They might just make it through the film quite pleasantly.
Then Mia stopped halfway to their seats, right in the center of the empty auditorium, and said, “Why didn’t you tell me things were this bad, Walt?”
Walt sank down into one of the scruffy red velvet tipping seats, torch between his knees. “Tony told you, then.”
“Becky, actually.” Mia dropped into the seat beside him. “Which is even worse.”
Nodding, so his head sunk lower onto his chest, Walt mumbled, “I’m sorry about that.”
“You should have told me,” Mia said again, and Charlie, realizing they weren’t going to be watching a film anytime soon, took a seat in the row in front and opened the popcorn.
“Why? There wasn’t anything you could do.” Walt looked up and gave them both a sheepish smile. “Besides, I kept hoping for a miracle. Something to make it unnecessary.”
“I did hear from Jenny at the post office that Susan’s been buying a lot of lottery tickets lately.” Mia shook her head. “I should have guessed.”
Charlie wasn’t quite sure how Mia expected she could have made that intuitive leap, but he knew she’d beat herself up about it anyway. “Is there nothing we can do?” Charlie asked, folding his arms on the back of his seat as he looked over at them.
“Nothing I haven’t already tried.” Walt shrugged. “The money just isn’t there.”
“We could find it, maybe,” Mia said, but even she didn’t sound optimistic. “Have some sort of fundraiser.”
“What difference does it make?” Walt’s eyes were bright and his cheeks flushed. “People don’t want to come and see old movies any more. And if people don’t want to come here, why bother saving it?”
“Because we love it!” Mia wrapped an arm around the older man’s shoulders. “And I know everyone else would too...”
“If they came,” Walt finished. “Exactly. You think I haven’t tried to get them here? Ever since the huge multiplex opened in Coed-y-Capel, even the kids don’t want to come for the wet weather matinees. They don’t want this anymore, Mia. It’s over.”
“I think you’re wrong,” Mia said, sounding mutinous, and Charlie wondered how she planned on proving it.
Charlie took another handful of popcorn from the bag, and Walt jumped to his feet. “Anyway, you’re here for a film, not a sob story. And it’s one of my favorites too.”
“Come and watch it with us,” Mia said, her eyes soft, and Walt nodded.
“I’ll just go and start the reel,” he said, and disappeared through the door to the projection room on the balcony.
Charlie slipped out of his seat and settled beside Mia. “You okay?”
Mia shrugged, and Charlie reached over to hold her hand.
“I just can’t imagine this place not being here, you know?” She glanced up at him, and Charlie nodded. He’d been in town less than two years, but he’d spent more Saturday nights at midnight movies than in his bed. He thought Walt only kept showing them for Mia.
“And what’s Walt going to do?” Mia asked, releasing Charlie’s hand to twist her fingers together. “This place is his life. He’ll have to go home to Susan.” Charlie didn’t know Susan Hamilton very well, but from Mia’s intonation, he gathered that under these circumstances, retiring to spend more time with the family was not a good thing.
“You’re very fond of him, aren’t you?”
Mia twisted her hands the other way. “He was my dad’s best friend. And he was good to me when Dad left.”
Suddenly Charlie liked Walt Hamilton a great deal more. Not enough people had been good to Mia, the way he heard it. Reaching over, he took Mia’s hand again as the curtains parted and the title music began to swell.
“We’ll do what we can to help him,” he promised. It wasn’t much of a promise, he knew, but Charlie really wasn’t sure what else he could offer.
This was a really good story. I liked how at first there was a sense of mystery to the readers, as immediately we know that Mia does not get along with her father at all as she receives a note from him, after not hearing from him for over a decade. The question is why? What happened that made Mia the big news of the small Village of Aberarian? Why did Mia choose to stay there even after she went to University, when she could have started a new life, with nothing in her past getting in her way, she still went back home. Well, you just have to read to find out.
I also thought there were good character developments/backgrounds, especially with Mia, and her once best friend, Becky. Charlie seemed like a good male lead. It's a wonder why he was with someone like Becky, but maybe he finds love with his friend that has been by his side all along? There is definitely a strong friendship between Charlie and Mia, and they are both so determined to not let Becky and her associate partner/boyfriend Tony, to come to Aberarian and change it all around, to make it look more money attractive than charming and cozy. All around, this was a very nice well written story!
My Rating: 4/5
Sophie Pembroke has been writing romance for years, ever since she stayed up all night reading Mills and Boon novels as part of her English degree at Lancaster University. She loves to set her contemporary romance stories in the places she has lived – from the wilds of the Welsh mountains, to the gentile humour of the English country village, or the heat and tension of a London summer. She also has a tendency to make her characters kiss in castles.
Currently, she makes her home in Hertfordshire, with her husband and daughter. She writes love stories in her little spare room office, while drinking too much tea and eating homemade cakes. Or, when things are looking very bad for her heroes and heroines, white wine and dark chocolate.
Sophie keeps a blog at www.SophiePembroke.com, which should be about romance and writing, but is usually about cake and castles instead.
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An A to Z of Love: http://sophiepembroke.com/love-from-wales-series/an-a-to-z-of-love/
Love from Wales Series: http://sophiepembroke.com/love-from-wales-series/