Mary Brown – our full-figured heroine – is off on a cruise. It’s the trip of a lifetime…featuring eat-all-you-can buffets and a trek through Europe with a 96-year-old widower called Frank and a flamboyant Spanish dancer called Juan Pedro in attendance. Then there’s the desperately handsome captain, the appearance of an ex-boyfriend on the ship, the time she’s mistaken for a Hollywood film star in Lisbon and tonnes of clothes shopping all over Europe.
Purchase from Amazon UK or Amazon US
Mary Brown is on a cruise ship for three weeks. She was due to meet her friend Dawn on board (Dawn writes a blog called ‘Two Fat Ladies’ and Mary was travelling with her to help her write it), but Dawn doesn’t turn up for the cruise, leaving Mary alone to write the blog and travel the seas.
Mary has just spent her first night onboard the ship, and wakes up in her cabin feeling dreadful…
Oh God. Oh God. It was so bright. Where was I? What happened? My head felt like it was spontaneously combusting from within. My tongue was so dry it was as if I’d spent the previous evening licking the carpets. I couldn’t have done that…could I? It wasn’t beyond the realm of possibilities; I’d had worse nights.
The light in my cabin was on full blast, and the sun was streaming through the window. It was bright enough to perform brain surgery. I crawled across the bed and lashed out at the lamp and the main light switch. I was still too drunk to execute any subtle manoeuvres but eventually, after much swatting, the lights went out and I crashed out across the bed and went to sleep. When I woke up it was 10.30am.
There was just half an hour left before the sumptuous breakfast buffet became the sumptuous lunchtime buffet. I needed to move.
Slowly I stumbled out of bed and dressed myself rather like a toddler picking the first top I saw in the wardrobe (green) and the nearest trousers (pink) with complete disregard for how they would look together.
I wandered cautiously along the corridor and took the lift up to the main deck. Every step made my head hurt more. I needed coffee…and food, but then I always needed food. I stepped out of the lift and saw a man, standing with his back to me, but with his reflection clearly visible in the glass in front of him.
Oh my f-ing God, it was Simon Collins. Simon Collins!
It was like being shot back in time.
I reversed into the lift and pressed the button to the lower floor, pushing it a thousand times, urging the doors to close, but they were too slow – Simon looked up, saw me in the mirror in front of him; his eyes widened, his eyebrows raised and he spun round just as the door was closing.
“Mary?” he said, with incredulity sweeping through his voice. “Mary? Really, is that you? Mary Brown. In the pink trousers?”
If I was surprised to see Simon, then he was a million more times surprised to see me…for the simple fact that four years ago I’d told him that I had six months to live. I know, I know, it’s appalling behaviour but I’m rubbish at finishing relationships and I just came out with it.
I’d told Simon that I no longer wanted to see him, adding; “it’s not you, it’s me.” And he’d said “no, it’s not Mary – that’s a stupid thing to say – it’s me. It must be me. If there wasn’t something wrong with me, you’d want to carry on going out with me.”
Dear readers, I panicked at this stage and I said ‘yes – it is me…I’ve got leprosy.’
“Leprosy,” he’d said, jumping back, his little face awash with concern. “Blimey, that sounds really serious.”
My lies kicked off more lies and before I knew where I was, I was explaining that I was going off to Fiji in search of a witch doctor. I know – it was bizarre. I don’t know what made me say it. I was in a panic because I hate upsetting people. I suppose I thought I could get away with it because Simon lived in Birmingham where he was working at the university, so there was no chance of us bumping into one another. He called a few of times to check I was OK but I’d begged him to get on with his own life and leave me to my fate.
Now, here he was, on the bloody ship with me, and there was no way of me escaping.
I stepped out of the lift on the cabin floor, went back to my room and texted Charlie, my lovely friend who’d been in on the whole witch doctor thing (if memory serves me right, she’d jumped around in the background making ‘witch doctor noises’ one time when he’d called and I’d pretended to be on a Fijian island).
“You are joking. That is hysterical,” she said, rather unsupportively. “God, I wish I was there to see this. His face must have been a picture!”
“Yep. He did look very shocked,” I said. “How do I get out of this?”
“Tell him you got better. Insist that the witch doctor performed his magic and the illness disappeared.”
“Yeah, I could,” I said. “Or I could just avoid him.”
“Yeah – well, of course, if you can avoid him – do that, but I don’t fancy your chances on a 20 day cruise.”
“Yeah,” I said. “What I’ll do is try to avoid him, and if I can’t, I’ll go for the witch doctor line.”
“Perfect,” said Charlie. “What could possibly go wrong?”
About the Author
Hello, my name is Bernice Bloom and I am a writer (I write light-hearted rom-com style novels and also work as a magazine journalist and advertising copywriter) and jewellery designer. My recent series of novels is called ‘Adorable Fat Girl’ and it features a heavily overweight woman called Mary Brown. She is bright, funny, friendly and bonkers. She’s also fat. The books blend the comedy of her efforts to lose weight with a more serious backstory about what happened to her in the past that had led to the issues that make her prone to over-eating. I’m fascinated that there are so few overweight heroines in literature. Women can be manipulative, evil, even murderers in fiction, but not fat! Certainly not fat and beautiful with loads of friends! Then along came Mary and she’s developed quite a fan base of people who love the fact that the heroine is large. She gets lots of letters and I have ended up taking her on lots of adventures!
Social Media Links –
Win a Daisy Bracelet and Earring set created by Bernice Bloom (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.