How can you pack for the journey of a lifetime? George Baxter has settled for a comfortable life, content as the years unfold predictably – until Win, his wife of twenty-six years, dies. With his loyal dog Monty by his side, George throws himself into his work as an antiques dealer. His business is at the heart of the village and all sorts pass through the doors, each person in search of their own little piece of history. When George meets local widow Sylvia Newsome, he imagines a different kind of future. But life has more revelations to offer him. Over the course of an English summer in 1964, George uncovers some unexpected mysteries from his past, which could shape his tomorrows…A New Map of Love by Abi Oliver, a bestselling author under a different name, is a life-affirming novel about second chances at love.
A New Map of Love has been described as a “delightful read” and this is exactly what Abi Oliver set out to achieve. It was inspired, in part, by moments of time from her life, but primarily crafted out of a desire to create a character-driven and heart-warming story about a quintessentially English man living in a quintessentially English village in the 1960s and his journey into a new life. This is Abi Oliver’s debut novel, out in the UK in hardback (Pan Macmillan) in April 2017 and due for release in paperback in January 2018. But the author is certainly no novice when it comes to writing popular fiction.
Annie Murray is best known for writing 22 other best-selling books in the historical romance/family sagas genres. Her first ‘Birmingham’ novel, Birmingham Rose, hit The Times bestseller list when it was published in 1995. She has subsequently written many other successful novels, including A Hopscotch Summer, Soldier Girl and the bestselling novels Chocolate Girls, War Babies and The Doorstep Child.
“I feel I have ‘Town Mouse’ and ‘Country Mouse’ parts to my personality and a sense of belonging in each, so the two names help to express that,” explains Abi, who has three in English Lit from St. John’s College, Oxford, Psychology of Religion from London University, and Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes.
Inspired by her life growing up in the 1960s, in an antique shop in Wallingford, Berkshire with a father who was a country antique dealer who regularly went to auctions and just as regularly liked to escape with the family in a caravan and visit his old war haunts in Italy, A New Map of Love introduces a loveable protagonist called George Baxter (and his Bassett Hound.) George’s world veers off course when his wife Win passes away. The novel is set in the rural Berkshire and Oxfordshire of Abi’s childhood and describes a summery countryside setting that is deeply familiar to her. It is wonderfully reminiscent of England in that unique era just before the start of the ‘Sixties’ summer of love’, packed with an air of innocence and romanticism. Through the beautiful story, vivid descriptions of place and the time setting, A New Map of Love creates a sunlit, almost Edwardian, larky sense of humour and English daftness – a feeling of sun and blossom coming out after winter. Abi’s novel creates a unique feeling of messing about on the river on an English summer day (as George can be found doing in the book); a story that is both endearing and interesting.
Abi has four children, including twins, and six step-children and lives near Reading in Berkshire.