Friday 12 May 2017

Blog Tour: Extract from The Butlins Girls by Elaine Everest

I am very excited to be bringing you an exclusive extract from the brand new novel The Butlins Girls by Elaine Everest. Here's a little about the book-click on the cover to be taken to the buy page. Don't forget to visit the other stops on the tour for more fabulous content and reviews!

After losing her parents, Molly Missons applies for a job at a Butlins holiday camp. She finds true friendship with her fellow Butlins girls, who’ve also escaped their pasts for the adventure of a lifetime. Life seems to have changed for the good and soon the Butlins Head of Entertainment Johnny Johnson, a former star of the silver screen, takes a shine to Molly.  Will Johnny be just the distraction she needs - or is he too good to be true?

Molly tugged the front of her jacket straight, checking her reflection in a nearby shop window to make sure the seams of her stockings were straight. There were still ten minutes before her interview for a job at Butlins.
‘Don’t stand there dithering or all the jobs will be gone,’ Freda said, giving her a shove towards the impres­sive entrance of the West End hotel. ‘The world and his neighbour seem to be heading into the hotel. I’m sur­prised they need so many workers for a holiday camp.’
Molly plucked up courage and stepped into the plush foyer of the hotel. Nodding to a uniformed doorman, who pointed to a sign that showed she had to take a lift to the first floor, she gave Freda a weak grin. ‘Here we go. You will come with me, won’t you?’
‘You bet. I wouldn’t miss this for the world. I’m rather tempted to have an interview myself. It’s so exciting.’
Molly laughed at her friend. ‘You know you’ll never leave Woolworths. You have a good job there and know nearly all your customers by their first names.’
‘So do you and you’re planning on leaving the area.’
‘I wish I had a choice and didn’t have to leave the  town I love and my home,’ Molly replied as they stepped into the lift, along with four other young women.
Freda could have slapped herself. Why ever did she say that? ‘Me and my big mouth. I’m sorry, Molly. I didn’t mean what I said,’ she whispered as the lift doors closed and they were whisked upwards.
Molly squeezed her arm. ‘Don’t be a chump. I know you didn’t. Regardless of the reasons for attending this interview, it is rather exciting. I didn’t realize this hotel would be so posh. I just hope I don’t have lipstick on my teeth or a ladder in my stockings.’
‘Of course you don’t. You look sophisticated and refined. I must ask Maisie to make up a suit for me like that. You look so different with your hair pinned up.’
‘I’m just grateful your friend Maisie was able to run it up for me. How she has time to do anything with young twins is beyond me. Do you think Mum would have approved of her fabric being made into such a modern outfit?’
‘She’d have loved it. I’m so pleased I dug around a little when your cousin and that son of hers were out. I was only checking to see if there was any more Brownie equipment in the tallboy in your parents’ room when I spied it in a brown paper parcel. Perhaps your mum even meant the fabric to be a gift for you. I feel it was meant to be.’
Molly nodded. It was meant to be. She looked at her reflection in the mirrored wall of the lift, hardly recogniz­ing the elegant, self-assured woman looking back at her. The grey flannel suit, cinched in at the waist with a matching belt, suited her trim figure. She made a mental note to buy something from one of the West End stores as a little thank you to Maisie. ‘I’m a very fortunate person to have such good friends,’ she told Freda. ‘Everyone has been so good to me since Mum and Dad died.’
‘There is something else,’ whispered Freda, passing her an envelope as the lift doors silently slid open onto a long hallway carpeted in deep red with plush velvet wall hangings and large oil paintings in ornate frames along the wall.
‘Oh my God. Look at all this. Can it get any posher?’
‘You’ve been in a similar place.’ Freda grinned.
‘I don’t think so,’ Molly declared, fanning herself with the envelope that Freda had just passed to her.
‘Yes, you have. Doesn’t it remind you of the foyer of the Erith Odeon?’
Both girls giggled, as indeed the posh St Claire Hotel was decorated in the same rich red colours as their favourite local cinema.
They shuffled forward in the queue, getting closer to the open double doors at the end of the hall. Up ahead, a young woman and a few suited young men were direct­ing applicants either left or right as they reached them.
‘Open your envelope,’ Freda insisted as they approached the head of the queue.
Molly didn’t feel it was quite the place to do so but didn’t wish to upset her friend. She pulled out a card and smiled. ‘Thank you. It’s lovely. But you didn’t need to buy me a birthday card. Having you accompany me to London and going for tea at Lyons Corner House is enough of a treat.’
‘Open the card,’ Freda whispered as the girl in front of them was directed through the doors.
‘Oh, I don’t know what to say. Tickets to see the show Me and My Girl. I’ve always wanted to see that musical. Isn’t it closing soon?’
‘Tonight is the last performance. We were lucky to get them.’
Molly hugged her friend and jumped up and down in excitement. ‘I can’t believe it. Thank you, oh, thank you, Freda. I thought perhaps we’d have time to fit in a film, but never a live musical, and one of the best in town.’
A man appeared at the open doorway and raised his eyebrows at Molly. The two girls froze, then composed themselves.
‘This way, please. Give your name at the table and collect a name badge. You will be directed to the correct interview desk.’
Freda and Molly walked towards the area he’d pointed out, now extremely subdued.
‘I’m sure I’ve seen him somewhere before,’ Freda said.
‘You have,’ Molly whispered back in case he heard her.
Freda looked over her shoulder. The man’s eyes were on them, or rather on Molly. ‘I don’t . . . Oh my goodness. Surely it’s not . . .’
‘Yes. It’s Secret Agent Clive Danvers, also known as actor Johnny Johnson,’ Molly said, grinning at her friend’s shocked face.


Elaine Everest lives in Kent and is the author of bestseller, The Woolworth Girls. She has written widely for various women's magazines and when she isn't writing, she runs The Write Place creative writing school in Dartford, Kent, and the blog for the Romantic Novelists' Association. 
You can find out more about Elaine on Twitter @ElaineEverest or Facebook /elaine.everest 

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