It is no secret that Sandy Barker is one of my favourite authors. I have loved this series of books so given the opportunity, I was happy to help promote the last in the series.

A Wedding in Tuscany

The Parsons sisters are all loved up.

Sarah is living in Sydney with Josh and their cat, Domino, but is anxious about her fast-approaching fortieth birthday.

And Cat is still living in London with her flatmate, Jane, but is in a long-distance relationship with Jean-Luc, her childhood sweetheart and recently re-discovered love.

One of the sisters receives a surprise wedding proposal – it’s a yes! – and everyone heads off to Tuscany for a destination wedding.

Reunite with favourite characters from the Holiday Romance series in one of the most beautiful locations yet for love, laughter, wedding vows, and just a smidge of sisterly mayhem.

Extract

I have been granted the opportunity to share an extract from the book.

Here’s what Sandy has to say about this:

I love this scene. It’s pivotal to the series, but I added it during structural edits to really strengthen Sarah’s motivation for her actions throughout this story. It also is a lovely interaction between Sarah and her bestie, Lindsey, who is a great foil for her angsty way of life.

*****

‘Seh-rah!’ Lindsey’s voice echoes through the house.

‘In here!’ I call.

She appears in the doorway of our spare bedroom. ‘Hey. You’re not dressed.’ I look down at my jeans and T-shirt. ‘For yoga,’ she adds.

‘Oh crap.’ I flick my wrist, my watch telling me I’ve been at this for way longer than I thought. ‘Sorry.’

‘What is all this?’ she asks, surveying the detritus of my morning’s task. I’ve been rifling through my boxes―the ones that contain everything from my Year 1 reports to dried (and crumbling) roses from my high school boyfriend to movie ticket stubs from the 90s. 

‘I’m looking for a letter.’

‘From who?’

‘From me.’

‘Right.’ She leans against the doorframe and gives me a funny look. 

‘It’s this letter I wrote to my future self when I was around nineteen. You know, “Dear Future Sarah … This is who I want to be when I grow up … blah, blah, blah …”.’

‘Ahh.’

‘It was during the first year of uni―for a creative writing class,’ I add, ever-so-slightly defensive. I go back to rooting through a box filled with journals, letters (from other people), and greeting cards that date back to my first birthday. 

‘So why are you looking for it now?’

‘Well, I’d totally forgotten about it, then last night I woke up around two―like, wide awake―’ I snap my fingers for emphasis ‘―and I remembered it. And you know how Josh has planned this whole trip to Tuscany for my birthday?’

‘I’m familiar, yes. I was there yesterday when he told you.’

‘Right. So, it’s forty.’ I leave the word hanging in the air, my eyes boring into hers. There’s a flicker of a frown―she’s confused. ‘Well, I think my subconscious was chewing on that while I was asleep, so I woke up, remembered the letter and now I want to find it so I can see where I thought I’d be by now. You know, in life.’

‘You’re exactly where you should be, Sarah,’ she says patiently.

‘I know that―in here,’ I say, tapping on the side of my head. ‘It’s just that … look, this might sound weird but yesterday, when I heard that number―in relation to me―I felt this …’ I wave may hands as though I can pluck the word from the air.

‘Slight twinge?’

‘More like a tsunami of panic.’ She blinks at me. ‘Yeah, exactly.’

‘Kudos, ’cause you hid it well,’ she says.

‘I often do.’ I reply quietly. 

‘Mmm,’ she murmurs. ‘So, why panic do you think?’

I thumb through a glitter-covered journal, flecks of pink littering the carpet. ‘I can’t tell if it’s fear of what’s to come or that I’ve missed something I should have done.’

‘You know how I feel about that word.’

I stop searching. ‘Should?’ I ask rhetorically. ‘Yeah, I know. It’s a bad word.’ I abandon the glittery journal and pick up the next one.

‘“Shoulds” come from other people’s expectations of us,’ she says. This is one of her well-established philosophies and not the first time she’s uttered those exact words. ‘So, even though you wrote this letter, it’s not from you. Young Sarah is someone else―remember that.’

‘That may be too existential for me, Lins.’ 

She shrugs. ‘Eh, I tried.’ 

Just then, I come across a folded A4 sheet, the creases still sharp and the paper almost pristine. ‘Booyah.’

‘Booyah?’ she teases. 

I poke my tongue out at her, dropping the journal back into the box and unfolding the page. ‘I wanna see,’ she says. 

I lift my gaze, having only read ‘Dear Sarah’. ‘Okay, scoot over.’ I sit next to Lins and read aloud.

            ‘Dear Sarah,

            Congratulations, you made it. You are OLD.’

Lins laughs while I mentally slap my former self―how rude! ‘I guess when you’re nineteen, forty is old,’ she says. 

‘You’re not helping. Besides, I was supposed to read it when I turned thirty.’

‘Keep going,’ she prompts through more laughter.

‘This letter is to remind you of all the things you wanted to do when you were young. Your bucket list! Hopefully by now, you’ve done them all but if you haven’t, you still have time before you die.’

‘Oh, my god! You were hilarious,’ says my soon-to-be-replaced best friend. I silence her with a withering look―well, I try but she continues to laugh at me, her body shaking. ‘Honestly, this is the most fun I’ve had in ages.’

‘So! Where to start. First, (I think) I want us to get married.’

I show Lins the parenthesis and they even make me smile. 

‘Mum and Dad have this incredible marriage and if you can find someone like Dad who puts up with all the weird things about us, then DO IT! And if you’re reading this for the first time at thirty and you’re still not married, then you either got weirder or you haven’t been looking hard enough.’

I drop the letter into my lap. ‘Was I really this much of a cow when you met me?’ I ask Lins. We’ve been best friends since the second year of uni but now I’m starting to wonder what she saw in me.

‘Hardly. But I’m guessing this is “inner voice Sarah”―she’s always been kind of mean to you.’

‘Hmm. Very astute,’ I acknowledge. As usual, Lins is bang on.

‘Are you gonna keep reading? At this rate, we’ll be planning your fiftieth before you finish.’

‘Ha-ha.’

*****

I hope you are tempted to purchase the book and devour it! I thoroughly enjoyed it. A great way to combine characters in the previous books in the series for a grand finale.

Author Bio – Sandy Barker

Sandy is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob. 

Sandy lives in Melbourne Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while travelling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the Holiday Romance series with One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins. 

The series continues in That Night in Paris, A Sunset in Sydney and A Sunrise Over Bali. The series concludes with A Wedding in Tuscany. Her standalone novel The Christmas Swap celebrates her favourite time of the year. There’s also, The Dating Game; a laugh-out-loud romcom set in the world of Reality TV.

You can follow Sandy on her website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

2 thoughts on “Blog Tour – A Wedding in Tuscany – Sandy Barker – extract

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