Three short stories: a blissful two-week holiday in France, and a terrible misunderstanding; a boy's grief is lightened by nature; and a life full of choices and new beginnings.
In 'Summer Promise', Linda, recently divorced and in need of a break, decides to take her two children on a fortnight's holiday in France, renting a house from a friend of a friend. However when she arrives at the house, she finds a man already there, claiming to be the owner. It emerges that this man, Graham, is the ex-husband of the woman who suggested the idea to Linda, and that she had forgotten to inform her that the situation had changed and that Graham now owns the house outright. He makes it clear to Linda that they can't possibly stay there as he is busy with work and it would be an inconvenience. But as Linda frantically tries to find a hotel, her youngest child James falls ill with chicken pox. Graham relents, and agrees to let them stay in the house, packing his bags to move out for two weeks. But as he is leaving, they both realise that perhaps this situation could work out for both of them after all...
In 'A Gull Named Helen', when little Daniel clams up following the death of his grandmother, everyone thinks a school trip to the seaside will be just what he needs. In the lighthouse where they are staying, Daniel is offered the little room right at the very top of the tower, while the other children must sleep in the basement. Watching from his bedroom window, Daniel becomes mesmerised by the seagulls circling overhead. As he spends the next few days feeding them scraps of bread, he forms a bond with one bird in particular, who he decides is called Helen - the same name as his grandmother. But little does he know that what he learns from these birds could help him for years to come.
In 'Children on the Shore', Claire Foster has been used to living her own life, her own way. Her daughter lives abroad with her own family. Claire was widowed years ago. So when she takes a temporary job as a secretary at a hospital, she is startled to find herself beginning a relationship with one of the doctors. Meanwhile, her daughter begins writing to her frequently, begging her to move closer to them so that she can be a part of her grandchildren's lives. And then she is offered a new job, working for an author, which would reduce her free time dramatically. Which path - if any - should she choose?
Part of the Storycuts series, these three short stories were previously published in the collection 'Summer Promise and Other Stories'.