Dorothy Koomson captivated readers with her international bestseller My Best Friend's Girl. Now she dazzles us once again with a tale of love, friendship, and families--the choices that shatter them, the hope that saves them, and the little moments that happen in between.
Kendra Tamale is looking for a fresh start and a simple life when she rents a room from Kyle Gadsborough. But against her better judgment Kendra soon finds herself drawn into her new landlord's household: a young father in way over his head, a beautiful mother out the door, and six-year-old twins, Summer and Jaxon, with hearts full of hurt. Kendra has plenty of issues of her own, but this family seems to need her so desperately that she's soon falling in love--with Summer's constant chatter, Jaxon's soulful eyes, and the sugar-laden Saturday breakfasts she invents. But when a secret from Kendra's past resurfaces and the children are taken away by their mother, the only way to fix things is to confess to the terrible mistake she made many years ago--and the choice she makes now could break more than one person's heart.
A young woman with plenty of issues gets sucked into her landlord's domestic woes in Koomson's heartwarming second novel (after My Best Friend's Girl). When Kendra Tamale moves back to her native England after a stint in Australia, she rents an apartment and becomes enmeshed in the lives of her landlord, Kyle, and his six-year-old twins. His wife's recently left him, and his kids, not taking the separation too well, "run rings" around him. Despite the unconditional acceptance of her surrogate family, Kendra fears that her past hurts will be exposed, threatening her newfound security and catapulting her back into loneliness and misery. Koomson portrays in vivid and tear-jerking detail the effects of fear and isolation, but keeps readers captivated with measured disclosures and the promise of renewal. (Jan.)
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January 26, 2009
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Excerpt from Marshmallows for Breakfast by Dorothy Koomson
Chaper One You're black." Surprisingly, I didn't scream, yelp or collapse into a quivering heap when I was confronted by an intruder in my home. I reeled back as my heart lurched to a stop; I stared at her with wide, shocked eyes, but I didn't scream. It was early on a Saturday morning. I'd just stepped out of the shower and had been about to dash across my flat to the bedroom to get dressed when I'd found the intruder—intruders, actually—standing in the area outside the bathroom, staring at me. The intruder who spoke to me was about three feet tall, six years old with green eyes that were as dark and glossy as eucalyptus leaves, and shoulder-length black hair—one side bunched with a red elastic band, the other falling in waves to her shoulder. Beside her stood her male mirror image—he had shorter dark hair but was the same height, the same age and had the same green eyes. The pair of them weren't dressed so much as "ensembled." Her pink skirt with ruffles at the bottom she wore over striped blue and white tights, and with a white, long-sleeved T-shirt under a faded orange vest. She had yellow socks bunched like legwarmers around her ankles, while red shoes with big yellow flowers on the front adorned her feet. He wore long blue trousers, one leg of which was tucked into one of his green socks. His white T-shirt was decorated with avant-garde artwork of felt-tip pen marks and grubby fingerprint streaks; one collar of his blue fleece zip-up jacket was folded inwards, hugging his shoulder. Both of them wore clothes that were crumpled and creased, as though they'd slept in them. As well as the dishevelled clothes, the twins also shared grey-white complexions with dark, blue-purple circles smoothed like smudges of dirt under their eyes. They looked like a pair of street urchins, battered and worn by the February cold, who'd wandered into the warmth of my flat. But they weren't street kids, I was pretty certain of that. They were my landlord's children. I'd only just moved into this flat and had yet to meet my landlord and his family because they'd been away overseas when I'd arrived from Australia. Obviously they were back. The children openly explored me with their eyes, took in the clear plastic shower cap that covered my black hair, my cleansed and moisturized face, my damp neck and shoulders, the towel I'd wrapped around my torso and was currently clutching closed in a death grip, my knees peeking out from beneath my towel, and my water-spotted calves. Their gazes lingered on my feet, probably fascinated by my fluffy white slippers. "You're black," the girl stated again, her voice clear and firm; she spoke with the honesty of a child and the confidence of an adult. She knew how to address people no matter how old they were. In her arms she carried a blue, floppy toy rabbit. "So I'm told," I replied. "I'm Summer," she said, confirming she was my landlord's daughter. She jerked a thumb at the boy. "He's Jaxon. We're twins." She looked me over again—from my shower cap to my feet—then whipped her eyes up to mine. Our gazes locked. She had me hypnotized, had my undivided attention for as long as she wanted. Her face, framed in that unusual way by her hair, was innocent and open, yet wise and private. A million insignificant and profound thoughts went on behind that face. Summer shrugged her small, bony shoulders, breaking eye contact as she gave a slight nod of her head. "You're quite pretty," she said. "Erm . . . Thank you, I think," I said. Jaxon leaned across to Summer, cupped his hand around his mouth and began whispering in her ear. He talked for a few seconds and when he stopped, she nodded. Jaxon straightened up. "You're not as pretty as my mumma," Summer informed me. <