Flappy Entertains by Santa Montefiore
I’m so excited about Flappy! I mean, don’t we all need cheering up? We’ve been living through the most depressing of times. We need to laugh. We need to be entertained; and Flappy is the person to do it. At least, she did it for me.
Back in April, during Lockdown, I finished my novel (publishing Summer 2021) early due to the pandemic, and wondered what on earth I was going to do with my time until July when the world was due to open up again. I could either sit around watching Netflix and reading books in the sun (which was a very tempting thought as I was in the countryside with a lovely garden and a comfortable lounger) or I could write. Writing for me is a hobby as well as a job, and I’m never happier than when I’m plotting and researching a great story. And there’s only so much time one can fry oneself in the sun.
A couple of years ago I wrote The Temptation of Gracie. In that novel I created a character called Flappy Scott-Booth. She was a minor character, but an entertaining one, and after finishing the book I thought it would be fun to give Flappy a book of her own. The trouble was that I didn’t have time to write two books a year and I didn’t want to let my readers down by denying them their annual sweeping drama. Then Lockdown happened and I had nothing to do for weeks. I was under no obligation to write an extra book, so I thought that, if my editor didn’t like it, it wouldn’t matter. I could try something new without the pressure of having to please anyone but myself. And if my editor did like it, then I could give my readers something different to cheer them up, as writing it would cheer me up. So Flappy Entertains began and I entertained myself so much so that I forgot all about Covid-19.
Now let me introduce you to Flappy. Flappy (early 60s) is one of those characters you really ought to hate. She’s pretentious, icily beautiful, stylish, snobbish and competitive. She is married to Kenneth, who made a fortune in the nineties with a terrifically successful fast food business and is obsessed with golf, so much so that he built a golf course, named after himself, of course, and spends most of his time on it. They live in a beautiful house in Devon called Darnley Manor, which is bigger than everyone else’s, and open the gardens to the (grateful) public during the month of June when Flappy, elegant in a panama hat and sundress, can be glimpsed with a pair of (barely used) secateurs, deadheading the roses – the rest of the time her army of gardeners in green polo shirts and khaki trousers do the deadheading, and everything else, for her.
Flappy is an early riser. She does yoga in her gym at dawn before beginning her day chairing committees, arranging town fêtes and charity events, and running the book club – in truth, she gets her loyal girlfriends to do all the work for her, because she’s really much too busy to do everything herself, which brings me onto parties. No one gives a party like Flappy and, with such enormous gardens, because the gardens at Darnley really are very big, she has the perfect ground on which to set up a spectacular marquee – and set it up she does, hosting all sorts of wonderful events. The townsfolk come, enjoy themselves and leave marvelling at Flappy’s panache, energy and exceedingly good taste. Flappy is undoubtedly the Queen of Badley Compton and no one comes near her in terms of wealth, graciousness, beauty and polish . . . until Charles and Hedda Harvey-Smith move into the bigger (only slightly) house a few miles down the lane. Charles is devilishly handsome, Hedda is properly posh, and that first Sunday they are sitting in Flappy and Kenneth’s seats in the front pew of the church. If there’s one thing Flappy abhors it’s upwardly mobile and competitive people. She has met her match.
You see, you really ought to hate her, but that’s the thing, Flappy is terribly flawed and by setting herself up so high, it’s inconceivable that she won’t fall. When Flappy senses a threat to her position, she comes out fighting and there’s no guarantee that she’ll win. And the trouble is Charles is irresistible, and he has his beautiful eye on her.
I hope you’re going to love Flappy as I do, and, deep down, that’s all she really wants. I have already written the sequel, Flappy Investigates, because my vision is a series. I want a whole, fabulous collection of Flappy stories. After all, Flappy would expect nothing less.
‘The perfect tonic, I LOVED IT!!’ ***** Amanda