Returning to the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn
There’s nothing quite like meeting up with old friends. You know the ones I mean – it might have been years since you hung out together but somehow it feels like just last week. They know who you snogged that time when the club was kicking out and it seemed like a good idea, can guess what worries you when it’s four in the morning and things seem overwhelming, and they’re well aware how long you’ve been putting off getting that mole looked at…
These are the friends whose sentences you could finish, the ones with whom you have an unwritten shorthand based on almost-forgotten experiences, and they are the bedrock of your existence, even though you’re all so caught up in your busy lives that you don’t see each other for months at a time. You pick up exactly where you left off and it’s like no time has passed at all. They are keepers, these friends; keepers of your secrets and keepers of your heart.
That’s how I felt upon my return to the Star and Sixpence, as though I was meeting up with old cherished friends. It’s been a few years since I hung out with Sam and Nessie and they’ve definitely been busy, and yet it really felt as though I’d never left them. And Little Monkham itself hadn’t changed much – Franny was still terrorising the residents, in the nicest possible way, Ruby Cabernet was still charming the birds from the trees when she chose to, and Martha was still shamelessly ogling the village men. But there was one change I did struggle with: what on earth had gone wrong between Sam and Joss? When I left, they’d come through their ups and downs and seemed solid and in love. Even worse, Joss had left Little Monkham, which meant I wouldn’t be writing about him and that was a problem because I’ve always been a little bit Team Joss. Luckily, it wasn’t long before he was back and reminding me of everything I love about him.
Readers often tell me they wish the Star and Sixpence was a real pub that they could visit and I can’t help wishing that too; I’d love to join Franny’s quiz team, or sing karaoke with the new chef, Gabe. But the next best thing is being allowed to write about their lives, and that’s what I did in Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence is out now in paperback edition in all good bookshops. Please note, Last Orders is the bind-up of the new Star and Sixpence e-novellas. If you have already enjoyed the novellas, then you have already enjoyed Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence. For new novellas from Holly, check out her Castle Court series and her Picture House by the Sea series