Fiction Sneak Peek: Jan. 20, 2018 issue

A picture of mother love

Aw, the tenderness in this illustration… The story, by Leonora Francis, is titled Baby Love. Between mother and child, it’s a given, isn’t it? Or so Debbie keeps hearing….

The love between parent and child is the theme in The Red Dress by Andrea Wotherspoon, too. And daughter Stacey knows just the way to repay her mum.

Laura’s sister thinks she should be aiming higher than “homemaker” – but what’s wrong with that? Not Just Mrs Mop is by Andrea Wotherspoon.

I’ve said before that stories can seem to fall into a theme-of-the-week kind of groove, and we’ve done it again with A Girl’s Best Friend by H. Johnson-Mack, about Harriet and her mother-in-law Lady Lily, who’s got into a bit of “fiscal difficulty”, you might say. Illustration: Mandy Dixon.

I’ll tell you how our next story came about….Illustrations Ed Sarah was approached by a new illustrator, Nick Spender. She liked his style, so we asked him to create a pleasing romantic image, which he did showing a couple embracing against the backdrop of Venice.  Now, one of our writers, Lydia Jones, loves Venice, so I sent her the illustration and said, “Like to write me a story for this?”  And Lydia’s The Old And The New is the result. Lovely.

New neighbours: you always hope for the best. But the last thing Patricia expects is for the sweet-looking elderly couple to be a problem. That’s Meet the Neighbours by Susan Blackburn, illustrated by Mandy Murray.

In Getting Crafty by Linda Lewis – with a very handsome man illustration, by the way – Alex starts out simply by doing his younger sis a favour and then….well, you’ll have to read the story! Illustration: Philip Crabb.


A talkative parrot needs a clean bill of health in Tales From Prospect House by Malcolm Welshman.

And Dave needs to confide in his dad in Riverside by Glenda Young, our unmissable weekly soap.


We bring you a new serial this week, The Wooden Heart by Mark Neilson. Set in the Borders, it focuses on Ash, newly graduated from college and returning to her father’s home. Now they both have to consider their future…. Illustrated by Helen Welsh.

And your last bit of reading this week – at least until you start on the features – is Return To Langrannoch by Joyce Begg. Caroline’s new housekeeper has an air of mystery about her, doesn’t she? And the plot thickens this week.  Illustrated by Ruth Blair.


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Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.