HOW WOOLACOMBE BECAME THE SETTING FOR THE BESTSELLING NOVEL BY AMANDA PROWSE
Woolacombe has a special place in my heart. My parents who are now in their seventies, spent their very first holiday there by the sea in the nineteen sixties and it was an epic journey from London in those days by all accounts. How times have changed and we, as a family who live in the West Country, have spent nearly all our summer holidays (and a few winter ones too!) in the beautiful town that we hold so dear. It was while we were visiting for a week in the summer of 2015, sitting on the sand by day, strolling the town by night and wandering the coastal paths before stopping for fish and chips to be eaten al fresco, that I felt compelled to write about the magical place where the views and the sunsets rival any in the world! I was sitting alone on a bench up on the Esplanade, watching the surfers claim the last of the day as their own, bobbing about on the waves like slick, black, inquisitive seals that I reflected on the glorious day we had spent. I felt a surge of happiness, recalling the simple joy I had felt to be laughing and happy in the sunshine with those I love. I started to think about what was important in my life and it was very simple, my family, my children, my friends; these are the things I hold dear, the things that make me happy.
Then I started to wonder, what it would feel like if I were to lose one of these things, or worse still, lose them all… My mind began to whirr, as it often does and ‘My Husband’s Wife’ was born. I placed my hand on the worn slats of the bench I was sitting on and imagined being Rosie Tipcott, coming up here for a chat to the world and a good old think during good times and bad. My Husband’s Wife is a story about what it would feel like if the unthinkable were to happen. It asks the questions ‘How do you begin to recover when the person you love has a change of heart?’ and ‘How do you go on when the glue that holds your family together disintegrates and that you are powerless to stop it?’ The book explores the idea of what that loss would feel like and gives us a peek into the life of an ordinary woman who has to become extraordinary just to survive.
The characters, Rosie and her wonderful young daughter’s are the heroines of the story, but the town of Woolacombe is also a star with the beaches, the shops, cafes and welcoming streets, as the backdrop. I am lucky enough to travel and work all over the world, but Woolacombe remains one of my favourite places, a place that I think about when I am far away and the place where I can walk on the beach in all weather and feel life’s stresses blow away out to sea. Here’s a little taster of my novel, my nod to this beautiful place and the magic that lurks on its coastline… “Having lived in the small seaside town of Woolacombe her whole life, it was hard for Rosie Tipcott to see it the way visitors saw it. Where tourists might rave about the surfing, linger for hours in the famous sand dunes or spend every afternoon on the crazy-golf course, Rosie was often preoccupied with what to make for tea, how many shifts she’d get that week or whether she’d remembered to switch off the iron. There was of course the odd day when she would take a moment from her chores to sit on her favourite bench up on the Esplanade and look out at the big, big sea foaming against the deserted beach at Barricane. Or when her eyes were drawn to the dazzling red sunset, as beautiful as any on earth. Either could stop her in her tracks and quite take her breath away. But what she really loved about the North Devon town was that it was home, the place where she lived in a quiet backstreet with her beloved husband and daughters.”