Thursday, August 13, 2020

The bench by Cromer beach by R.J. Gould - Book Blitz

 The bench by Cromer beach

Five people in a sleepy English coastal town. One year that changes everything. 
They seem to have it all. They’re in good health and are financially secure. They live in a pleasant and comfortable town. But as their lives intertwine, cracks emerge and restlessness grows.  
For Clive, is retirement the beginning of the end? Can fun-loving Saskia break free from her adulterous husband? Will Andy marry his childhood sweetheart? Is Jamie prepared to change his dishonest ways? Might Ellie’s happy marriage be shattered by temptation?
Heart-warming and heart-breaking collide in this novel about aspirations, expectations and the realities of everyday life.

Purchase Links

Visit   for a free copy of R J Gould’s award-winning short story The Kiosk. 


The bench by Cromer beach is set in a beautiful town on the North Norfolk coast. There is a line of benches overlooking the sea along the clifftop which explains the novel title. There are five main characters and as their lives intertwine cracks emerge and restlessness grows. Jamie is the rogue within the group, a dishonest antiques dealer and womaniser. But as this extract reveals, he’s growing tired of his exploits:

He sat in The Blue Boar on karaoke night watching the woman on stage belting out Aretha Franklin’s Respect.
She was an attractive lady, not quite his age but heading there. The sparkly silver dress revealed curves in all the right places, even though she was a tiny bit on the large size. He glanced at his own waistline, hugely on the large size. An unusual awareness of shameful behaviour surfaced – he was assessing the woman’s looks while indifferent to the quality of her singing. No change there; this is what he always did. In fact, he was judging all the females around him, even the young ones with boyfriends by their sides.
The singer had finished her second song, another R&B oldie, the title eluding him. He caught her eye as she took a bow in acknowledgement of the modest applause. Stepping off the stage, she approached the bar. As he glanced around him, he was hit by the realisation that he and this woman were the oldest in the room by quite some margin. This was a pub for youngsters, unsurprising given the karaoke theme, and they were misfits. Sad misfits.
With the singer close by, he relapsed into his usual patter. ‘You’ve got a fabulous voice, love.’
‘Nice of you to say so. I used to sing a bit semi-professional like, but that was a while back.’
‘Funny you saying that. I was about to ask if you’d ever thought of going professional.’
‘There was never any money in it, and it was impossible to go on the road what with the kids. Still, they’ve moved on and I’ve kicked out my husband, so I can do what I like now. I’m on this sort of road trip, like Thelma and Louse. Although there’s only one of me. And I’m not intending to drive over a cliff.’
Jamie had no idea what she was on about. ‘Fancy a drink?’
‘Vodka and lime would be nice. Preferably Grey Goose.’
Maddie was her name and she was from Grimsby. She’d been travelling along the coast, stopping at Skegness then King’s Lynn, with Great Yarmouth to be her final destination before heading home. ‘Cromer’s a bit different to the other places,’ she told Jamie. ‘Quieter. Not a lot going on, is there? I don’t mind quiet for a bit, but I won’t be staying more than a night – or maybe two,’ she added with a look that Jamie interpreted as a come on.
‘You married?’ she asked.
‘No. I was once, but not anymore.’
‘It’s not what it’s cracked up to be, is it?’
‘I suppose not.’ As Jamie said this, a rare feeling of desolation descended.
‘I’ve had so much fun since I left him. I never knew what I was missing.’ She placed a hand on Jamie’s knee.
“Him” was Sid, Jamie discovered, and judging by what Maddie said, it was good riddance because he was a bully. She was a hairdresser with a one-person salon in a not particularly nice part of Grimsby.
‘Mind you, even the nice parts of Grimsby are shite.’
She’d taken the plunge and shut the shop over summer so she could head off into the sunset, as she put it. ‘And it’s been fucking brilliant.’
Jamie sensed that it hadn’t been as fucking brilliant as she was suggesting.
‘Do you live local?’ she asked.
That was going to be an irrelevance because he was exhausted, and more to the point, tired of all the chasing. He let Maddie chat away as if there were no tomorrow, happy to finance her heavy drinking, but there wasn’t going to be any waking up the next morning with her in his bed.
He downed his pint. ‘I must go, I’ve got a busy day ahead. It’s been lovely talking to you, Maddie, I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.’
He interpreted her look as one of sadness. There were too many sad people around and he was one of them. Maddie struggled to stand up then tottered across to the DJ at the side of the stage. Imagining the body under the dress, he wondered whether he was making the wrong decision. The DJ announced that Maddie was coming back on stage to belt out one of those oldies we all love – Stop! In the Name of Love.

Author Bio –
R J Gould is published by Lume Books and Headline Accent and is the author of five novels: A Street Café Named Desire, The Engagement Party, Jack and Jill Went Downhill, Mid-life follies and The bench by Cromer beach. He is a (rare male) member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Having been selected for the organisation’s New Writers Programme, his first novel was short-listed for the Joan Hessayon Award. ​​Ahead of writing full time, R J Gould led a national educational charity. He has published in a wide range of educational journals, national newspapers and magazines and is the co-author of a major work on educating able young people. He lives in Cambridge, England.

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