Always By Your Side by SJV
You may remember that over Valentine’s Weekend 2021, we held a second exclusive #DigitalOriginals submission day in partnership with the Romantic Novelists’ Association, open to all members of the RNA – #RNAOneDay – and it gives me HUGE pleasure to announce that from the 129 manuscripts we received during that weekend, we’ve acquired one very special debut from an exciting new voice in the women’s fiction genre – Always By Your Side by Julie Haworth!
There are so many things about this novel that we felt were special – not least the fact that Julie wrote it during the Pandemic, whilst recovering from Covid! It’s such an uplifting story about community and friendship, bursting with romance and charm, and we think if you enjoy binging on Escape to the Country or The Dog House, fell in love with the Netflix movie Falling Inn Love, or have The Switch by Beth O’Leary or Rescue Me by Sarra Manning on your Favourite Books Ever list, you are going to fall as head-over-heels for Always By Your Side as we did!
When school teacher Rose loses her dream job at a London primary school, her self-confidence takes a knock. Worse still, her stockbroker fiancé, Ollie, sees it as the perfect opportunity for her to join his firm, which only adds to the feelings Rose has that their relationship might be coming to an end.
An unexpected phone call, and an elderly aunt who’s taken a fall, means Rose must drop everything – including Ollie – and return to Blossom Heath, the Sussex village she grew up in.
With no job to rush home to, Rose decides to stay in Blossom Heath for the Summer, trading London for the idyllic countryside. Here Rose finds herself reconnecting to the village life of her childhood in more ways than one, including falling head-over-heels for local farmer, Jake.
So when her London life comes calling, Rose is faced with an impossible choice… to return to the high-pressure life of her past, or embrace the joy of a new life in the country.
We will publish in #DigitalOriginals eBook in August 2022 (you can pre-order now), and here’s Julie to tell you a little bit more about her journey so far…
Well, what a year 2020 was! The pandemic hit, the first UK lockdown began and somehow I ended up realising a lifelong dream and writing a novel! I’d had the idea for what would become Always By Your Side for a while but I made excuses not to get started with my writing … I was too busy, too inexperienced, the list went on …
Fast forward to March 2020 and I contracted Covid-19 five days before the first UK lockdown. It was a scary time but I remember thinking ‘once I’m better, I’m starting that novel’ and that’s exactly what I did! The writing process was such a lifeline during the various lockdowns that were to come and Rose and Jake’s story in the village of Blossom Heath became the perfect place to retreat to. I love the fact that something so positive has come out of such a tough year.
In January 2021 I was fortunate enough to secure a place on the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme and the opportunity to submit to Books and the City came up in February. I still remember the wave of nerves that took hold as I hit the send button on my submission! Working with Sara-Jade and her team has been a dream come true. I’m still convinced that if I pinch myself hard enough, I’m going to wake up and find out that it’s all been a dream! I’m so excited to share Rose and Jake’s story with you all and I hope you’ll fall in love with the village of Blossom Heath just as much as I have.