Martinis and Memories—Author Guest Post
August 24th, 2018 by diane92345

Writing nostalgia in Martinis and Memories

I love me some nostalgia. Even though I wasn’t particularly happy in myself in my teen years, I can conjure those moments within seconds. I can be back at a house party when I’m sixteen, and hear the music and remember sitting on the back step with the cool summer air of the evening, the friends I still call best by my side. I can remember the songs we sang along to, and the boys who seemed beautiful.

Nostalgia puts a sheen on everything, like a photo taken on a disposable camera – not sharp or even true sometimes, but distinct as the smell of burnt cookies or the clink of beer bottles.

The same is true for Bel – her past is a different world. One before she became Arabella Hailstone. Before The Martini Club, before burlesque. Back then she was just a kid who was good at ballet because her mother expected her to be. She was the girl who got up to train, expected to win every trophy, before studying, and working in the evenings. The girl who wasn’t too good to work in the chippy on the seafront if it took her one step closer to getting out of Eastbourne.

The people we love exist in the past and sometimes it’s impossible to bring them into the present – too much has changed, too much has been lost, or there’s things you can’t forgive. For Bel, and some of the other characters too, nostalgia is bittersweet – it feels good to escape into for a time, but if she wants to be who she is, who she’s become, she needs to let go.

I think many of us feel that – how do we keep the joy of the child we used to be, the innocence and excitement, whilst growing up and being safe? How do we merge two people to have the best of both? And what happens if the people you love can’t accept the new version of who you are?

In the novel, Bel is faced with three ghosts of her past – the boy she loved, the boy she married, and her mother. Each of them remembers her differently, and each struggles to find a way to know her as who she is now – but how much will she let them know about her new life?

I’m obsessed with nostalgia, with change and growth and being the best version of the person you can be. I’m all about leaving behind that which does not serve you, but every now and then I have a soft spot for the person you loved when the timing wasn’t quite right. And I think Bel does too.

–A.L. Michael

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Martinis and Memories
August 24th, 2018 by diane92345

Martinis and Memories is the strong and empowering finale of the Martini Club trilogy.

“Smart girls don’t fall for the same bull**** twice.”

However, when Bel’s husband, Euan, walks into her burlesque, the Martini Club, she worries what his motivation is. Does he feel he should get a cut of her business? She walked out on him ten years ago because he was a deadweight on her dream of success. She certainly can’t afford to support him now. Business is down in the Club due to the downturn in the economy. Bel even had to tell her mother, Anna a former ballerina, that she needs to reduce the money that she sends her every month. However, when Anna shows up at her door saying living together would save money and be fun, Bel responds with dread that her mother’s perfectionist dragon mom persona will return.

Bel has remade herself three times. First, by running away with Euan. Second, by running away from Euan to open the Martini Club. Will either her mom, her husband or her money troubles force her to recreate herself again? If so, will she steal away with no warning as she had done in the past?

Bel is a genuine and sympathetic character. The setting within a London burlesque club is original. However, Anna and Euan seemed flat and one-note to me. I couldn’t get a clear read on their underlying motivations. Both just seemed selfish and shallow.

Martinis and Memories is a great beach read that will lift you out of your summer doldrums. Bel’s story is full of abrupt changes for the better and will surely motivate readers who may need to make some changes in their own life. There is a delicious recipe for a vodka espresso martini at the back of the book. The book does contain some strong language so it may not be appropriate for younger teens. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Canelo, for an advanced copy.

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