Title: The Postcard
Author: Zoë Folbigg
Genre: Rom-Com/Holiday Romance
Pub. Date: August 1, 2019
Publisher: Aria Fiction
Hosted: Head of Zeus Books
'Heart-warming, wonderful escapism and brimming with charm. I marvelled!' Christie Barlow
'I absolutely LOVED this! The Note was fabulous and this follow-up was a real treat!' Mandy Baggot
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Amazon US: https://amzn.to/30xktAe
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2XDiYhJ
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2LMMxLs
The sequel to the bestselling phenomenon The Note – based on the true story of one girl and her 'Train Man'…
A year after the kiss that brought them together in a snowy train-station doorway, Maya and James are embarking on another journey - this time around the world. The trip starts promisingly, with an opulent and romantic Indian wedding. But as their travels continue, Maya fears that ‘love at first sight’ might not survive trains, planes and tuk tuks, especially when she realises that what she really wants is a baby, and James doesn’t feel the same. Can Maya and James navigate their different hopes and dreams to stay together? Or is love at first sight just a myth after all… Perfect for fans of One Day in December, Our Stop and Marian Keyes. The Postcard continues the once-in-a-lifetime love story that readers so took to their hearts.
January 2016, Udaipur, India
Maya wakes with her cheek pressed against a soiled sheet. Bloodstains from hotel guests long departed permeate in brown circles of varying sizes. Her alarm call is no longer the sweet chirrup of a kingfisher on the lake, it’s now a wild pig scavenging in what sounds like a corner of her room. She rubs her eyes and sits up, looking around the rickety furniture and threadbare furnishings. To her relief, there isn’t a pig in the corner of the room.
Through a tattered curtain hanging on a piece of elastic, Maya sees James on the other side of the long, open window, sitting on the veranda drinking tea. Or at least that’s what he asked the kindly hotel worker for.
‘Gross,’ he mutters to himself, as he spits the tea out onto the hotel gardens. The wild pig looks up at the tea trail quizzically, then looks down again, continuing to rummage through litter in a neglected corner of the plot.
Maya stretches and walks out onto the veranda in her olive-green slip, checking no one else is in the gardens beyond their little decking.
‘A room with a view, huh?’
She kisses James’ cheek and sits down beside him, wrapping the bobbled blanket shawl on the back of the seat around her.
James looks up from his guidebook, at the pig. ‘Yeah, sorry about that. How the mighty fall…’
Maya lifts her bare heels onto the edge of the cold, metal seat and curls into a ball.
‘It is a lovely view,’ she says. ‘If you just ignore this shit bit right in front of us.’ She gestures her hands to the wild pig in the litter.
They both look at the view beyond the garden, of Lake Pichola and its morning bathers, boats and kingfishers. If Maya squints, she can see the domed bronzed onions on the roof of the palatial hotel where they spent three luxurious nights.
As the wedding party packed up and flew back to the Punjab, Mumbai, Lahore, London and New York, Maya and James checked into reality: one night in the not-terribly Exotic Happy Heritage Hotel, before their big bus journey to Bundi tonight.
James unfolds a map and studies it, then reads something aloud about Brahmin blue buildings they can expect to see, while Maya rubs the sleep out of her eyes and reaches for the cold toast in the middle of the table. She eschews the little white plastic pack of butter James saved her, thinking there’s no point if it won’t seep in and melt. Oh how she wishes there were a plate of warm doughy kachori and a glass of mango lassi in front of her.
‘We’re sleeping on the bus tonight, yes?’ she asks through dry toast.
‘Yep, eight hours in the sleeper car.’
Maya smiles to herself and looks at James.
‘I think sleeper cars are a train thing.’
James looks up from his guidebook and map with a thoughtful smile but doesn’t say anything.
‘Once a Train Man, always a Train Man, eh?’
James pulls Maya towards him, then lifts her off her chair and onto his lap. A pig comes a bit too close to Maya’s toes, still polished a shade of Black Cherry Chutney from her pre-wedding prep, and she gives her foot a flick to try to keep the boar at bay.
‘Argh!’ she gives a repressed squeal. ‘Go away!’
Maya rests her head in the space between James’ shoulder and his ear, leaning into the curve of his neck and feeling his pulse on her temple.
‘I hate this!’
‘Shoo! Piss off!’ says James, with only slightly more certainty than Maya, before holding her into him.
The pig snorts and shuffles back to its corner.
‘This is what you wanted, honey – travelling, backpacking, roughing it with the pigs.’
Maya shuts her eyes and leans in even closer. ‘Well, we’re most definitely roughing it now, earning our stripes.’ James kisses the top of Maya’s head. ‘I know, I know, I guess it’s just a bit of a comedown after being so spoiled all week. Makes it seem even more…’
‘Brutal?’ they chime.
‘Well this place is shit,’ reasons James. ‘But it’s a life lesson. And tonight won’t be that bad. I imagine it’ll be a wide reclining seat. Like Premium Economy on a plane.’
‘Premium Economy sounds good. I can sleep on a wide reclining armchair. Anything’s better than that disgusting bed in there,’ Maya shudders, as the pig gets his snout stuck in an empty bottle of Thums Up! cola and starts snuffling at an even louder volume.
Zoë Folbigg is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting at Cosmopolitan in 2001 and since freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK, Top Santé, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year-long round-the-world trip with ‘Train Man’ – a man she had met on her daily commute. She since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons.
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