It’s a week before Christmas, and the worst storm in twenty years is about to descend upon Maidstone.
Fran, youthful dinner lady and regular churchgoer, feels a storm building inside her, too. To escape her overbearing father, she has foolishly married Mr Edward Dobbs, a dull and pious fellow, not a bit like the manly heroes of her beloved erotic historical novels. And now she’s trapped behind walls of her own making. She has accepted her life of grey domesticity with stoicism, the only buffer to the monotony of her existence being her weekly visits to a lavish hotel tearoom, where she can indulge her modest fantasies.
But this is all about to change. Fran is about to embark on a roller-coaster of sexual frustration, desire and fulfilment. Not necessarily in that order. And she’s going to take the men in her life along with her.
As the storm hits, Fran huddles under a tree, waiting for a bus that doesn’t come. Enter not so Good Samaritan Peter Pearson, head of the school English department, with his warm dry car and his seductive Irish charm. While her dark-horse husband cavorts with a forbidden colleague on the other side of town, can Fran repel the charms of this broken teacher and chart a course back to the tranquil waters of her boring life? Does she even want to?
This storm is about to throw all their lives up in the air. And where they will land is anybody’s guess.
Athena is born at the wrong time, to the wrong parents, . Her parents are Greek immigrants trying to find their way in America. Athena bounces between two countries, two cultures, eating Greek eyeball stew and lamb’s brain on the one hand, and ice cream cones with sprinkles on the other.
Humorously told, Athena must survive her vicious mother, a shaming nun, bullying classmates, and an abusive babysitter. Her mother blames Athena for the family’s troubles and Athena comforts herself by sneaking Greek delicacies. In Greek culture you’re supposed to be pretty and skinny, basically perfect. She is neither of these things. Things go from bad to worse and Athena is sent away to a school for disturbed kids.
Athena’s only hope is to break free from her mother’s explosive volatility and smothering vice grip. She finds support along the way from an unlikely lot of total strangers, including a Portuguese family, an art teacher, a psychic granny, gang members, and a hooker. Without them Athena doesn’t stand a chance. But will she take the final leap and flee up north before her mother destroys her?